Ghana gets Mexican govt support to fight aflatoxin in maize

Mrs Maria de los Arrirola Aguirre{left) interacting with Madam Cecilia Dapaah during the visit. Photo Seth Osabukle

Mrs Maria de los Arrirola Aguirre{left) interacting with Madam Cecilia Dapaah during the visit. Photo Seth Osabukle

The Mexican government is supporting its Ghanaian counterpart with agricultural technology that fight against aflatoxin infection in maize production.

Aflatoxin refers to fungal contamination which mostly occurs in foods such as groundnuts, rice, tree nuts, cocoa beans, spices and other dried foods in areas with hot and humid climates before and after harvest.

According to the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Expert Committee of Food Additives (JECFA) in 2016, consumption of Aflotoxin infested foods could increase the risk of cancers for consumers.

Mexico Ambassador to Ghana, Maria De Los Angeles Arriola Aguirre, who disclosed this said, the Mexican team was already working in Ghana with Ghanaian researchers in the Northern Region to deal with the fungal contamination.

She was speaking yesterday when she paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Aviation, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, in her office in Accra.

As part of the cooperation between the two countries, Mrs Arriola Aguirre noted that tertiary institutions from both countries have signed various Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) for exchange programmes and undertake knowledge sharing through research and other academic activities.

She said the meeting was to advance talks with the Ministry on building the necessary infrastructure which would enable the operation of a direct flight from Mexico City to Accra and vice versa.

“Ghana and Mexico have cooperated in different sectors since the Mexico Embassy was re-opened in Accra in 2014. It is about time we explore the area of aviation too and get a direct flight operating on the Mexico City-Accra route. If there is a direct flight from Accra to Washington DC, then it should be technically possible to have flights to Mexico City as well,” she stated.

For this to be reasonable, sustainable and profitable for operators, Mrs Ariola Aguire, reiterated the need to drive up investment and tourism in both countries.

“Ghana, just like Mexico has done, can develop the tourism sector to generate jobs and income for our people. We have aggressively developed it to make it the second highest foreign exchange earner for the country and provided employment for several Mexicans. Such investments and business opportunities would improve patronage and erase fear of operational losses,” the Ambassador added.

On her part, Madam Dapaah said government was focused on creating the conducive environment for business and social growth to propel its agenda to transform Ghana into an aviation hub in the West African region.

She said aviation was key in promoting Ghana’s tourism industry and supporting the expansion and development of the country’s economy.

As part of government’s vision to open up the country, the Minister said that the Tamale and Ho Airports have been upgraded and plans were far advanced in developing airstrips and helipads across the country to enable air travels.

By Claude Nyarko Adams

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