Kaduna – The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) has called for aggressive awareness campaign against the contamination of agricultural produce by mycotoxins.
Dr. Anthony Negedu, a Deputy Director in the council, made the call while delivering a paper entitled, “Mycotoxin Challenges: Viable Options and Opportunities’’ at Kaduna State University Faculty of Science Monthly Seminar.
According to Negedu, mycotoxins are toxic chemicals and products of the metabolism of certain strains of some filamentous fungi (mold) which contaminates agricultural produce and poise serious health challenge to humans and livestock.
“Mycotoxins induce cancer, breaks down the immunity of both humans and animals and reduces the yields of crops which makes the awareness campaign necessary to educate the value chain operators on how to prevent contamination of food and feeds.’’
“Mycotoxins are toxic chemical substances produce by mold and are not visible to the naked eyes. They get to contaminate our foods and feed, due to poor storage conditions, it could be right from the farm, during handling, in storage or while in transit.
“Mycotoxins induce cancer, it breaks down the immunity of both humans and animals and it reduces the yields of crops and that is why it has significant impact on agriculture, health trade and the economy and it has become a world challenge.
“All our agricultural commodities can be contaminated by mycotoxins, right from cereals, tubers, fruits, and allied products due to poor handling and storage.’’
The director said that the way out was aggressive grassroots enlightenment campaign to improve agricultural production practices along the value chain, from production, harvesting, storage and processing.
“The way out is to embark on aggressive grassroots enlightenment for improve practices along the value chain right from the production, the handling, storage and processing.
“Everybody should be aware and improve on the practices to make sure that these commodities are not contaminated.
“We are calling to action the various regulatory bodies and the relevant societies to come together and join forces to embark on awareness creation for improve practices along the entire agricultural value chain, so that mycotoxic contamination can be prevented or reduced to the barest minimum.’’