Farmers advised on dangers of Aflatoxin in peanut production

By
Kamara Osman Faisal, GNA

Tamale, Aug. 19, GNA
– Dr. Stephen Nutsugah, the Director of the Savanna Agricultural Research
Institute (SARI), on Friday said access to quality certified and improved
variety was a starting point for agricultural transformation in crop
production.

He said the Centre
for Industrial and Scientific Research(CSIR)-SARI was well-positioned to
deliver on its mandate of crop improvement with the goal to develop crop
varieties that fit into the agro-ecologies of the mandate zone that would
withstand the specific stresses of low soil fertility, drought, pests and
diseases.

Dr Nutsugah said
this in Tamale during the Annual Research Meeting of the Feed the Future
Innovation Lab project on peanut productivity and Mycotoxin control where over
50 researchers around the world converged to share information on the latest
developments in groundnut research.

The annual research
meeting is to give meaning to the vision of CSIR by making agricultural
research responsive to farmer needs and national development.

Dr Nutsugah said the
partnership with CSIR was designed to strengthen the human and institutional
capacity for peanut research, generate and disseminate technology and provide
selected equipment to enhance research capacity in peanut improvement.

He said CSIR-SARI
had released as many as 12 improved peanut varieties to farmers for cultivation
over the past ten years and that 70 per cent of farmers in the country use
improved crop varieties developed by SARI, which increased production.

Dr. Mumuni Abdulai,
a co-principle investigator of the project has indicated that “Aflatoxin” is a
disease in peanut production that causes the moldiness of the plant and had an
adverse effect on the individual when consumed.

He said the advent
of “Aflatoxin” disease in peanut production does not reduce the production
yield but could cause serious health related issues such as liver cancer that
could sometimestimes result into deaths.

Dr. Mumuni, noted
that field management practices need to be conducted to minimal contamination
by way of control against pests and insects attack, drought attacks and
lateness in harvesting and drying process could all lead to contamination.

“There is the need
to create the awareness of farmers on “Aflatoxin” and to make efforts to
protect and avoid contamination of peanut production”, he said.

Mr Nicholas Denwar,
a senior research scientist at (SARI) said plant breeders have been trying to
breed varieties that have very low levels of “Aflatoxin” as a means to
preventing contamination.

“By creating
enabling environment for other donors to come in to help farmers in peanut
production, I can say the government is supporting farmers adequately”, he
said.

The annual meeting
for the Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab, which is made up of scientists and
student researchers working through the United States Agency for International
Development and the Feed the Future Programmme was to improve food security and
profits for producers, processors and marketers of groundnut.

GNA

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