By Olimatou Coker
Hundreds of farmers across rural Gambia have been sensitised on the mitigation and prevention methods of aflatoxin.
Aflatoxin, which adversely affects the health of both humans and animals are a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on crops like maize and peanuts.
The five-day countrywide tour was spearheaded by the officials of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), food safety and quality authority, the officials from the departments of agriculture and health respectively.
The sensitisation funded by the European Union targeted beneficiary communities across various farming regions in the country.
Speaking to journalists at a meeting held in Brikamaba CRR, the FAO national consultant Dr. Faye Manneh said the purpose of the tour is to sensitise the rural farming communities on dangers of aflatoxin consumption and its mitigation in terms of holistic management practices to increase the production and productivity of crops like groundnut.
Dr. Manneh explained that the UN food organisation has backed ten thousand farmers in the country through the provision of seeds for production but added that the prevalence of diseases such as aflatoxin posed great constraints to farmers in their bid to improve productivity.
He said aflatoxin could have the potential to derail the country’s food security goals as it attacks so many different crops but the main target is groundnut, maize, and rice, which are staple foods in the country
Dr Manneh added that the sensitisation was also designed to enhance the understanding of the farmers on innovative ideas in controlling their groundnuts from aflatoxin as well as sensitise them on the cultural practices attached.
Yerro Mballow, former National Assembly member for Lower Fulladu West thanked the delegation for sensitising farmers of his community on the dangers of aflatoxin.
He calls for more sensitisation programmes for rural farmers to enhance their productivity.