Seminar “Mycotoxins: the hidden threat to human health in Zimbabwe” in Harare, Zimbabwe


On February 22, 2018, Ghent University in collaboration with the University of Zimbabwe, organized the seminar “Mycotoxins: the hidden threat to human health in Zimbabwe” in Harare, Zimbabwe. This seminar was an ITN MYTOX-SOUTH activity (, funded by the UGent Global Minds programme and Randox Food Diagnostics.

The purpose of this event was to disseminate scientific results obtained during the PhD of UGent alumna Dr. Melody Ndemera. As 28% of the Zimbabwean children are stunted, and mycotoxins are an important contributing factor, this workshop was meant to seek to improve livelihoods in Zimbabwe.  Invited speakers included Prof. Mashiri, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe; Mr. Dewah, Principal Director Academic Affairs of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary education, science and technology development; and Dr. Gadzikwa, Director General of the Standards Association of Zimbabwe. The Honorary Consul of Belgium in Zimbabwe, Mr. Jean Gonçalves supported the event through his presence. UGent representatives and speakers were Prof. Sarah De Saeger and Dr. Marthe De Boevre. In addition, the conference was highly mediatized through the presence of the Zimbabwean press.

All Zimbabwean stakeholders (academia, industry, government) involved in agriculture and public health issues gathered at this unique event in Zimbabwe. The major objective was to advocate for a modification of the current legislation on mycotoxins in Zimbabwe, and to develop an appropriate risk management policy anchored on scientific evidence. Prof. Mashiri emphasized that North-South collaboration is crucial and capacity building is imperative. Moreover, he mentioned that “this dissemination workshop is an element of social responsibility of the universities”.



Prof. Sarah De Saeger,

Dr. Marthe De Boevre,

Department of Bioanalysis, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences