Proper preservation of crop produce affects its trading and health of consumers. These came to light at a sensitization forum for stakeholders in the crop production chain.
Derrick Dontoh of the Food and Drugs Authority noted Aflatoxins are likely to be present in cereals, legumes, maize and other food crops if they are poorly handled from the field, during harvesting and at storage.
Aflatoxins are poisonous carcinogens that are produced by certain molds which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay and grains. The main fungi that produce aflatoxins are Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which are abundant in warm and humid regions of the world.
The Aflatoxins when ingested through contaminated produce causes liver tumors, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer as well as stunted growth in children. In HIV patients, consuming cereal, maize or legumes with the Aflatoxins breaks down their already weakened immune system exacerbating their situation.
With the Aflatoxins being a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize (corn), peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts, good agronomics practice is the answer.
Farmers are encouraged to harvest on time, dry the harvested produce properly while practicing good storage practice.
By Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com