The Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) has organised a sensitisation workshop to educate the public on aflatoxin infection and its management.
Aflatoxins are fungus that contaminates food commodities such as maize, groundnut, chilli pepper, rice among other crops.
The day’s workshop which was themed “Aflatoxin Sensitisation: Standards, Public Health and Nixtamalisation,” seeks to disseminate information and provide solutions under the National Aflatoxin Sensitisation and Management (NASAM) project.
The initiative would among other things help farmers eliminate post harvest losses and enhance food crop production in the country for the international market.
The project organised by the GSA in collaboration with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has started in some part of the Northern Region.
Speaking at the workshop in Accra yesterday, Charles Amoako, Deputy Director General of GSA, noted that aflatoxins have imposed serious threat on the health of both humans and animals and stressed the need to address the canker abruptly.
The aflatoxins, he said could cause immune-system suppression, gastrointestinal dysfunction, growth retardation, liver disease, and cancer.
To combat the deadly fungus, Mr Amoako indicated that his outfit was working closely with the Mexican embassy as they had made strides in fighting the canker in their country with the help of Nixtamalisation technology.
On her part, Mrs Maria de Los Angeles Arriola, Ambassador of Mexico in Ghana, expressed her outfit’s readiness to help eliminate the fungus.
She observed that the aflatoxins could affect the country’s agricultural sector hence the need to adopt measures to eradicate it to enable the country meet the demands of international market to boost the country’s economy.
Mr Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry stated that aflatoxins have tremendous impact on human and animal health therefore his outfit was ready to collaborate with GSA and AGRA to fight the canker.
He noted that the sensitisation programme came at a time that the president was working hard to improve agriculture, adding that “the government has made agricultural pivot of Ghana’s economic and social development.”
Mr Ahenkorah indicated that for the country to make meaningful change in the lives of people, the effort should be directed to agriculture, saying the government has brought initiatives like Planting for Food and Jobs, hence the need for farmers to know how to manage aflatoxins to increase yields to sustain the economy.
He commended the Mexican ambassador for joining hands with the country to combat aflatoxins to improve the nation’s food security.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU & JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE