Farmers at Asebi sensitised on dangers of Aflatoxin infections

About 250 farmers at Asebi in the Shai-Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region were on Thursday sensitised on the dangers of Aflatoxin infection and its management.

Aflatoxins are fungi that contaminate food commodities such as maize, ground nut, chilli pepper, rice among other crops.

The programme initiated by the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) in collaboration with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) sought to disseminate information and provide solutions under the National Aflatoxin Sensitisation and Management (NASAM) programme.

The 250,000 dollar project to be executed in two years would, among other things, help farmers eliminate post-harvest losses and enhance food crop production in the country for the international market.

The Business Development Officer for GSA in an interview said Aflatoxins posed serious threat to the health of both humans and animals.

The Aflatoxins he said could cause stunted growth and kwashiorkor in children, liver diseases, cancer and suppress the immune system.

These poisonous moulds are everywhere in the environment and could affect crops, fruits and seeds before planting, harvesting and post harvesting.

The programme he explained would help farmers look for the right seed that were resistant and well drained; and advised them not to dry harvested crops on the bare floor because it could attract contaminated stones.

Mr Anti stated that the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs would not achieve its impact if the right standards were not set for crop food production.

He said over 5,000 farmers and extension officers had been trained nationwide, while the GSA was also working with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the University of Development Studies (UDS) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture towards the realisation of the set goals.

“The GSA is determined to eliminate post harvest losses faced by farmers in the country,” he added.

Mr Anti said a monitoring team would be put in place to continue with the sensitisation process by next quarter to help farmers adhere to all practices in addressing post-harvest losses.

The Scientific Affairs Director of the GSA, Ms Araba Incoom, who was the focal person said Aflatoxins could occur at any stage and must be prevented from contaminating crops.

She charged the farmers to use improved seed varieties such as Nkatia Savi, Blue Sorghum, adopt crop and soil rotation, and intersperse their crops to eliminate all forms of Aflatoxin contamination.

BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU

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