Malawi: Research Shows Aflatoxin Is a Growing Concern in Malawi’s Grains

Agriculture stakeholders have expressed concerns with the rate at which aflatoxin is spreading in groundnuts and other grains, saying this is negatively impacting commodities’ international markets and human’s health status.

The stakeholders were convened by Mwapata Institute at Ufulu Gardens in Lilongwe where they wanted to find ways of dealing with the issue and increase its awareness after research by Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) found that there are some people who do not know more about aflatoxin.

Mwapata Institute’s Executive Director, William Chadza, says the impact has hit the agricultural diversification aspect hard in terms of commodities the country can put on foreign market.

”The other dimension is that it pauses the human risks to consumers as they are also consumed by Malawians at household level”, says Chadza.

He is suggesting that there should be more awareness of how to handle the grains after harvest to avoid aflatoxin.

”With a lot of awareness in terms of practice both at farmer level in production and also managing the harvest. They should note expose them to situations that can increase levels of toxins’, he adds.

Now, Ronald Ngwira who is managing director for Mwapata Institute says research of this kind is essential in the implementation of MW2016 visions.

He says if the visions are to be realistic, there has to be measures that can boost the country’s exports of which grains are among them hence they need to be protected from aflatoxin.

”We need to export more products and if our grains are to be accepted, we have to be free from aflatoxins. As indicated, we have high levels of aflatoxins in maize, groundnuts as well as beans hence something must be done”, said Ngwira.

Meanwhile, Professor Limbikani Matumba from LUANAR has assured the general public that all is not lost as current challenges can be corrected.

He says people should not stop taking the grains as they are healthy for their bodies.

The meeting was also attended by various farmers, donor community, civil society organization, government departments and agriculture ministry and it was under the theme: ‘Understanding Aflatoxin Contamination in Malawian Grains’.

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