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General News of Thursday, 29 April 2021

Source: thenationonlineng.net

Nigeria may lose $1b yearly to contaminated food

Nigeria may lose $1billion yearly to the consumption of aflatoxin-contaminated food that results in diseases such as liver cancer, stunted growth among other diseases, a recent study says.

To this end, stakeholders have urged the Federal Government to put in place legislation that would ensure farmers use Aflasafe agrochemicals that would prevent Nigerians from consuming aflatoxin-contaminated food.

The Managing Director of Harvest Field, Martins Awosanya who spoke during a workshop on scaling Aflatoxin solution in Nigeria crop value chain, also called on the government to create an enabling environment to ensure farmers don’t plant maize, groundnut without the aflasafe agrochemical.

Awosanya said Nigeria must not allow other African countries to overtake it in terms of exportation of Nigeria crop due to aflatoxin contamination, saying Ghana is putting in place policies to ensure that crops are not rejected at the international market.

Giving an instance of the Aflatoxin control in Rwanda, he said the government imposed a law that makes it a criminal offence to plant maize without aflasafe.

He said the Federal Government could also follow suit in ensuring that Nigerians consume wholesome food.

“We have spent $5million to build the largest agrochemical company but there is no enabling environment to let this thing thrive, and that is what we asking for, economically we are ready but the regulations are not being enforced," he added.

In Ghana, you cannot deliver maize to Nestle food without testing it. In Nigeria, most maize delivered to food processors are not tested.

“Aflasafe is a natural product that would control aflatoxin there is a need for Nigerian farmers to embrace it,” he said.

The head of Nutrition, Crop Production and Food Safety Division in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture Dr Oyeleke Rasaq in his remarks said aflatoxin is a silent killer as it is responsible for many liver cancer cases in Nigeria and Africa adding that it is also responsible for the stunting of children under the age of five.

He lamented that the country has lost a lot of revenue to the destruction of aflatoxin infested produce both at the local and international market saying it is topmost of the agenda of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to support Nigerian farmers to produce maize that is aflatoxin free through the technology developed by Harvest field.

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