GSA trains agricultural extension officers to sensitise farmers on aflatoxins

Accra- The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has trained some Agricultural Extension Officers in the Eastern region to help sensitise farmers in the Region on the dangers of aflatoxins and the best management practices to curb the phenomenon.

A statement from the GSA said the exercise sought to combat the aflatoxin problem through awareness creation by disseminating information on aflatoxins and providing solutions to the farmers to eradicate the canker.

This, it said, would catalyse and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation, by improving food safety and security through increased knowledge about aflatoxins, its impacts and management.

The statement said the trained Extension Officers invited from the various districts in the region had been tasked to organise sensitisation events in selected districts in the region.

This include the Upper Lower Manya Krobo District, Yilo Krobo District, Okraku and Dodowa.

Farmers would be engaged on pre-harvest best practices such as the use of quality seeds and improved varieties that are disease resistant, drought tolerant and early maturing varieties, good farming practices such as crop rotation, appropriate use of Integrated Pest Management, among others.

The programme is under the National Aflatoxin Sensitisation and Management (NASAM) Project with support from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and her partners.

The training, the statement said, saw Technical experts from the Mycotoxin and Histamine laboratory and the Food and Agriculture Bureau of the Food, Materials and Chemistry Department of GSA taking Agriculture Field officers through basic knowledge on Aflatoxins, Standards and Management.

Aflatoxins are an odourless, colourless, flavourless toxin produced by the fungi strain Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus in certain food crops and are highly toxic to humans and animals.

Aflatoxin contamination remains a major food safety concern in maize and groundnut-based foods as the high levels of aflatoxin present in grains produced in Ghana have 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 in the international market.

High aflatoxin levels also affect the health of consumers as it is known to be the cause of some diseases, the statement said.

Source: Ghana News Agency