Editorial

Proper drying, handling and storage, key to protecting grains

One of the difficult situations for African countries is how to handle the drying, handling and storage of grain crops.

This situation has led to many farmers losing their crops to diseases such as aflatoxins.

The disease which is a fungus that contaminants food crops such as maize, groundnut, chilli pepper, rice among others is becoming a menace that many African countries continue to battle with.

Ghana is no exception. In fact, it is a matter of concern for farmers because the menace is a threat to the country’s food production.

The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) is equally worried that aflatoxins are not only causing harm to consumers but also affecting the export of such crops due to the continuous rejection of grains by the European Union (EU).

According to the GSA between 2018 and 2019 Ghana received 46 notifications from the EU leading to the destruction of such crops and forcing farmers to withdraw from exporting such grains to the EU countries.

The GSA disclosed that the country’s agriculture revolution would be gravely affected if the grain export aimed at increasing foreign exchange earnings and generating income for farmers are consistently rejected.

The Ghanaian Times shares in the concerns expressed by the GSA particularly because of the dire consequences on the nation at large.

It is unfortunate that the country has not been able to find an antidote to the menace leading to the loss of foreign exchange revenue to the country.

It is our hope that with this revelation, all stakeholders would come together to find a way to deal with the situation since the aflatoxins found in the grains can affect the health of both humans and animals.

It is said that the aflatoxins can cause acute or chronic toxic effect on humans and therefore many countries reject the grains when they are found to contain aflatoxins.

We suggest that the Minister of Food and Agriculture together with food crop scientists embark on a vigorous educational campaign particularly targeting farmers to handle and store grains in a manner that it would not be contaminated with aflatoxins.

When we are able to overcome the diseases, the benefits would be enormous not only for farmers because they would earn enough income but the whole country whose citizens would not consume contaminated grains.      

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