Latest news from the Dadamac communications officer at Fantsuam
FANTSUAM PROMOTES PRODUCTION OF AFLATOXIN-FREE GRAINS
Fantsuam Foundation was a beneficiary of the Global Environmental Fund Small Grants Project (GEF-SGP) in 2011. One of the objectives of the project was the training of farmers in sustainable farming techniques and. Due to women’s critical roles in household food security and hygiene, the women farmers were trained on the prevention of aflatoxin contamination of grains. Women’s buy-in into the proper processing of grains for consumption and sales will ensure welfare of the entire family and the entire nation.
The aflatoxin problem is especially pressing in Nigeria because Nigeria is the leading producer and consumer of maize among tropical sub-Saharan African countries. Maize is a staple in Nigeria, accounting for nearly two-thirds of calories consumed in some regions of the country. Smallholder families produce over 70% and they represent the largest fraction of consumption; up to 60% of the maize is Aflatoxin-contaminated. Aflatoxin has serious health as well as economic impacts – its prevalence currently limits demand for grain exports from African production areas that are at risk, such as Nigeria.
Methods of reducing/ eliminating Aflatoxin contamination include sorting, drying, and post-harvest storage techniques; treatments for processed grains; and bio controls. Bio controls, including Aflasafe, are effective because they address the problem at the source. Field tests of Aflasafe in Nigeria have shown an average of an 80% reduction in Aflatoxin levels in treated crops.
Nigeria is among the first set of country in which Aflasafe is ready for use by farmers and Fantsuam Foundation is among the first NGOs selected as implementing partners. As an implementing partner of IITA, Fantsuam Foundation will mobilize at least 500 females to support them in the use of Afalsafe on their farms. Each farmer will have at least 2 hectares of land which they can devote to maize farming. Aflasafe has been adapted for Nigeria by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and other partners. It has been approved by national authorities and is registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The goal is to significantly reduce Aflatoxin contamination in maize by helping to create a market in which farmers produce and consumers demand Aflatoxin-free maize, and Fantsuam Foundation will make sure that women small holder farmers in its host communities are in the forefront of this effort.