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September 22, 2008

Alfatoxin levels affect Ghanaian cereals exports

The Ministry of food and Agriculture has expressed concern about the level at which some exported Ghanaian food crops, particularly cereals, are rejected on the international market because of aflatoxin infections.

The Chief Director of the Ministry, Dr. Gyiele Nurah, who expressed the sentiment said several complaints have been received on the poor quality of food exports, a situation he attributed to lack of appropriate equipment to process the food items for export. Hementioned lack of labour to harvest the crops on time, inadequate and inappropriate methods of harvesting and preservation to meet quality standards of the international market.

Nurah called on agricultural engineers to help find solutions to these problems. He said to help address food production problems in the country government has since 2004 imported tractors and other inputs for agricultural purposes. He said government has also established Mechanization Service centres across the country to improve farmers access to mechanization services.

The President of the Ghana Society of Agricultural Engineers, Daniel Lamptey stressed that until Ghanaians see farming as serious business and not something for illiterates, not much can be achieved in the area of food production. He explained that irrigation and mechanization which are needed for improved agricultural growth must be understood and practiced well so as to derive their benefits.

Mr. Lamptey said a situation where one extension officer is in charge of about 100 farmers is not conducive for the kind of growth the country expects.


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