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Business News of Friday, 31 July 2020


UCC: Maize farmers and processers trained on Aflatoxin contamination

The School of Agriculture, UCC's workshop for maize farmers and processors The School of Agriculture, UCC's workshop for maize farmers and processors

The School of Agriculture, UCC on Wednesday, July 29, held a training workshop for maize farmers and processors within the Cape Coast Metropolis and the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem Municipality

The training, which was a sponsored project by the Directorate of Research Innovation and Consultancy DRIC-UCC under the Interdepartmental Research grant category, seeks to train maize farmers and processors on the application of AflaSafe GH02 and improved solar dryer to control aflatoxin contamination in maize production within the country.

Aflatoxin is a poisonous substance produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus and could be recognized by a gray-green or yellow-green mould growing on corn kernels in the field or storage due to drought, heat or insect damage during fungus growth.

The head of Department of Agricultural Engineering, Prof. Ernest Ekow Abano who is also the principal investigator for the project speaking with ATLFMNEWS said aflatoxin is a serious issue in Ghana.

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“Our soils are prone to Aspergillus flavus which causes aflatoxins so the project is to control aflatoxin right from the production of maize using AflaSafe”, he explained.

Prof. Abano also noted that AflaSafe offers a powerful solution to the aflatoxin threat which is amplified when combined with other good practices.

“Again, we noted that drying of maize using the traditional method will not get the farmers the required safe moisture content that is needed so we came out with an improved solar gas dryer that they could use to dry their maize to have safe moisture to prevent aflatoxins contamination.”

AflaSafe GH02 is tailored specifically for Ghana and was developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in collaboration with the United States Department of Agricultural Research Search (USDA ARS) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to fight aflatoxins in crops.

Perceiving the business aspect of the maize value chain, a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Dr Martin Bosompem, on his part, said farmers must make it a priority to develop their knowledge and expertise through learning and training.

“We also wanted them to see that the maize value chain is not only producing and processing but also we wanted to know other aspects of the value chain that they can tap.”

Other investigators of the project are Dr Michael Osei Adu; a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Crop Science and Dr Enoch Thadeaus Quayson, a Senior lecturer with the Department of Biochemistry.