The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) is worried about the aflatoxins menace which it said posed a threat to the country’s food production.
According to the Business Development Manager of the GSA, Mr George Kojo Anti, aflatoxins are not only causing harm to consumers, but also affecting the economic growth of the country due to the continuous rejection of grains by the European Union (EU).
He explained that the country between 2018 and 2019 received 46 notifications from the EU leading to the destruction of such crops forcing farmers to withdraw from exporting such grains to the EU countries.
Mr Anti disclosed this at the end of a two-week sensitisation programme for about 300 stakeholders in the grain value chain including agriculture extension officers drawn from the three districts in the Volta Region.
The actors from Ho, Kpando and Hohoe, including traders, farmers and agro-input dealers were trained on the modern methods of reducing aflatoxins in grains.
Aflatoxins are fungus that contaminates food commodities such as maize, groundnut, chilli pepper, rice among others.
The programme, which is a collaboration between the GSA and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, (AGRA), sought to increase actors in the grain value chain and educate the general public on standard requirements and the dangers and management of aflatoxins in grains.
Mr Anti therefore, urged the participants to send the information to their colleagues to reduce the menace adding “the country’s agricultural revolution would be seriously affected if the exports aimed at increasing the earning of the nation and the farmers are constantly rejected.
An extension officer, Frank Ahornu, on behalf of the participants commended, the GSA for the opportunity and assured that the sensitisation programme was intensified to ensure that the fight against aflatoxins was won.
He advised farmers to take the programme serious to produce quality grains not only for the good health of the populace but also to assist them to earn more money on their farm produce.
“Adhering to these good farming practices would not only help you produce grains free from aflatoxins but would also allow you to get premium prices on produce sold,” he added.
The National Afatoxin Sensitisation and Management (NASAM) project being spearheaded by the GSA in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) was launched in Navrongo on April 8, 2019 to catalyst and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation by improving food safety and security through increased knowledge about aflatoxins, its impact and management.
The project has so far trained 5,000 actors in the grain value chain from the Upper East and West regions, Northern Region, Bono East and West, the Greater Accra and Eastern regions.