Workshop for agric extension officers ends in Ho

A capacity building workshop to increase the knowledge of agricultural extension officers on aflatoxins and how to improve food security in the Volta Region, ended here yesterday.

Aflatoxins are types of mycotoxins mainly found in maize, groundnut, pepper, rice among others.

The workshop formed part of a project dubbed: “National Aflatoxin Sensitisation and Management Project (NASAM)”, which had already been  held in Northern, Bono  and Oti regions.

The programme was organised by Ghana Standard Authority and supported with a grant from Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Dr Daniel Agbetiemeh, technical consultant, Aflasafe Technology Transfer and Commercialisation Programme, Ghana, speaking on the management of aflatoxins, noted that adopting an integrated approach to both pre and post harvest strategies, has the potential to minimise the risk of aflatoxins.

According to him, the toxin could be dangerous to both humans and animals when food preservation was not well done.

Dr Agbetiemeh stated that significant research efforts have been made to develop intervention strategies, to reduce risk of contamination, yet public knowledge about aflatoxin mitigation measures was limited.

He said that mitigation processes could influence aflatoxin accumulation in crops during post harvest.

Dr Agbetiemeh mentioned timely harvest, rapid and proper drying of crops to safe storage moisture content and insect pest control.

He called on the agriculture extension officers to educate the public on aflatoxin, adding that though some farmers were selling aflatoxin contaminated food,  as food moved in transit to consumers, it could be contaminated with toxin.

Dr Agbetiemeh advised the officers to increase their interaction with farmers to educate them about the dangers of aflatoxins to health.

Mr Samuel Kotia of the Ghana Standard Authority, called on farmers to maintain standards set by the authority, since the presence of these toxins in food has affected export from Ghana.

He said some commodities and produce have been rejected entry into the European Union Market because the level of aflatoxin in them were too high.

Mr Kotia advised people in the food supply chain, to follow the mitigation measures to eliminate, reduce or minimise the levels of aflatoxin in food.

FROM KAFUI GATI, HO

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