The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has trained 40 agricultural extension officers from the Western Region on the management and prevention of aflatoxins, as part of the National Aflatoxin Sensitisation and Management (NASAM) project.
Dubbed training of trainers, the purpose of the sensitisation exercise is to equip the extension officers with knowledge on aflatoxins – natural poisons produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus and several other related species in food items. The beneficiaries are expected to work with farmers and other stakeholders to combat the menace in the region.
Business Development Manager at GSA, George Anti, who led the team, emphasised the need for the extension officers and farmers to take the sensitization with all the seriousness it deserves. “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 the European Union market and other countries because of high aflatoxin levels.”
For his part, the Western Regional Director for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, S. Y. Apiigya said aflatoxins affects not only crops and animals but also the incomes of farmers. He therefore urged the extension officers present at the training to pay attention to the education since the menace is negatively affecting the food chain.
Meanwhile, the NASAM team also embarked on a tour to some Communities in the Western Region such as Whindo, where they interacted and educated grains farmers. In all, about 100 farmers shown up at to this event. They also visited Assakae, a vibrant trading town where about 50 farmers, as well grain traders were sensitized on the dangers and measures to curb the aflatoxin menace.
For their part, the farmers thanked GSA for the sensitisation, while calling on government for more support, particularly regarding input cost and market access.