Posted April 29th, 2021 via The Nation – Nigeria could lose $ 1 billion annually from eating aflatoxin-contaminated food that leads to diseases like liver cancer, stunted growth, and other diseases, according to a recent study.
To that end, stakeholders have called on the federal government to enact laws to ensure farmers use aflasafe agrochemicals, which prevent Nigerians from consuming aflatoxin-contaminated food.
Harvest Field chief executive Martins Awosanya, speaking during a workshop on scaling the aflatoxin solution in the Nigerian value chain, also urged the government to create an environment that ensures farmers don’t have corn and peanuts without them Growing aflasafe agrochemical.
Awosanya said Nigeria should not allow other African countries to overtake it in terms of exporting Nigerian crops due to aflatoxin contamination, and said Ghana is putting in place guidelines to ensure crops are not rejected in the international market.
As an example of aflatoxin control in Rwanda, he said the government had passed a law making it a criminal offense to plant corn without aflasafe.
He said the federal government could also follow suit to ensure Nigerians are consuming healthy foods.
“We spent $ 5 million building the largest agrochemical company, but there is no environment for this thing to thrive and we ask that, economically we are ready, but the regulations are not being enforced,” he added added.
In Ghana, you cannot supply corn to Nestle groceries without testing it. In Nigeria, most of the corn shipped to food processors is not tested.
“Aflasafe is a natural product that combats aflatoxin. Nigerian farmers have to accept it,” he said.
The head of the Department of Nutrition, Plant Production and Food Safety in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Oyeleke Rasaq said in his remarks that aflatoxin is a silent killer as it is responsible for many liver cancer cases in Nigeria and Africa, stunting children under five.
He lamented that the country had lost a lot of money to the destruction of aflatoxin-infested produce in both local and international markets, and said it was high on the agenda of the federal ministry of agriculture to get Nigerian farmers to produce aflatoxin-free corn to support the technology developed by Harvestfield.
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