The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has extended its sensitisation campaign to disseminate information on aflatoxins to stakeholders in Takoradi and surrounding communities in the Western Region.
The campaign under the National Aflatoxin and Sensitisation Management (NASAM) Project is to provide solutions to combat the aflatoxin problem.
Supported by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and her partners, the NASAM project aims to catalyse and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation by improving food safety and security through increased knowledge about aflatoxins, its impact and management.
The GSA’s organised Training of Trainers seminar attracted 40 Agriculture Extension Officers, who were educated on the dangers and management of the aflatoxin menace.
The training is to sensitize the extension officers, who are in direct contact with farmers consistently to share the knowledge.
This is instrumental in the fight against Aflatoxins, thus, the NASAM Team finding it very important to involve them in the early stages of the project.
In his remarks, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture Director for Western Region
Mr. S. Y. Apiigya emphasized the harmful effects of Aflatoxins on both crops and animals.
He urged the Agric Extension Officers who were present at the training to pay attention to the education which is about to be imparted to them since the menace affect the food chain.
On his part, Mr George Anti, the Business Development Manager, urged the farmers to take the Sensitization seriously.
“This is because Aflatoxins pose serious health effects to both humans and animals as well affecting our economy badly when goods are rejected from entering EU and other countries when the Aflatoxin levels are high.”
As part of the training, the participants visited the Whindo Assembly where they interacted and educated about 100 grains farmers in the area.
The team also visited Assakae, a very vibrant trading town, where about 50 farmers and traders of grains were educated on the dangers and measures to curb the Aflatoxin menace.
The farmers called for government support to address the lack of ready market and high cost of inputs.and call
The education on aflatoxins continues to be an eye opener for everyone in its value chain.
The programme in the Western Region is being done by the National Steering Committee on Aflatoxin Control.
Aflatoxin refers to fungal contamination, which mostly occurs in foods such as groundnuts, rice, tree nuts, cocoa beans, spices and other dried foods, in areas with hot and humid climates before and after harvest.
Aflatoxin, contamination remains a major food safety concern in maize and groundnut-based foods.
High levels of aflatoxin present in grains produced in Ghana led to post-harvest losses, farmers selling their grains at lower prices and the inability of Ghanaian grains and derived food products to be sold on the international market.
High aflatoxin levels also affect the health of consumers as it is known to be the cause of some diseases.
GSA’s mission is to contribute towards the growth of industry, protect consumers and facilitate trade through standardisation, metrology and conformity assessment.