Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has met with officials of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA; Harevst Plus Nigeria; Harvest Field Nigeria and other stakeholders actively involved in the production and distribution of Aflasafe to reduce aflatoxin content in crops from field to storage.
Aflatoxins are natural poisons produced when certain mold species (Aspergillus flavours and Aspergillus parasiticus) grow in foods especially miaze, peanuts, dried spices and tree nuts. It is estimated that Africa loses US$670 million in rejected export trade annually due to contamination by aflatoxins.
Long term chronic exposure to aflatoxin consumption can result in liver cancer and immune suppression, stunting in children; and could contribute up to 30% of all liver cancer globally, with 40% occurring in Africa. In livestock, aflatoxins can cause weight loss and death while chickens fed contaminated feed lay 70% less eggs than those on normal diets.
As part of efforts to mitigate the impact of aflatoxins, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has continued to provide maize and groundnut farmers with Aflasafe kits, which are cost-effective biocontrol products, as well as train farmers on the effective management and control of aflatoxins.
The meeting which also had in attendance representatives of Maize and Groundnut farmers Associations, discussed strategies to strengthen stakeholders’ efforts in eradicating aflatoxins contamination in affected crops in Nigeria, enhance quality control & food safety; and move Nigeria closer to zero rejects of agro commodity exports.