The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) has passed fit the bio-control substance, Aflasafe, for use by farmers of maize and groundnut to reduce the effect of the fungi infection on export and the health of Nigerians.
Aflasafe is an anti-toxic fungi infection product developed by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to tackle poisonous toxins produced by fungi.
The bio-control substance was promoted for use at a 3-day training organized by the UNDP and GEF on Good Agricultural Practices, for maize and Groundnuts production and Family Nutrition, for Extension workers from Gombe and Adamawa.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Zakariya Iliya of Harvestfield Industries, noted that the dreams of many exporters of the grains had been crushed due to the traces of Aflatoxin found in the grains after being exported to foreign countries.
According to Iliya, as a result of the effect of the fungi infection on export and the health of the people, the IITA developed the Aflasafe product to control the toxin in maize and groundnuts, adding that it was introduced to produce high quality and cost-effective bio-control way of tackling Aflatoxin.
In his remarks, “That is why the IITA has come out with a research and with a result of this Aflasafe. They carried out the research and in collaboration, Harvestfield is the one producing and marketing it. Harvest field took over from them, Harvestfield is now the producer and marketing Aflasafe, which is to prevent Aflatoxin on our maize and our groundnuts,”
He stated that the fungi which decayed grains like maize, groundnut, and soya were toxic and could cause liver cancer in humans, suppresses the immune system, abnormal swelling of organs, among others.
According to Mr. Iliya, the fungi could affect the crops at the production stage, hence the call on farmers to get good seeds, integrated pest management, good handling like sorting, drying, transportation and storage to reduce Aflatoxin contamination in groundnuts and maize.
“It affects the liver and also affects our immune system. Apart from affecting the liver, it affects the immune system. It’s not only HIV that affects the immune system. You see that some people have their immune systems going down and they will say nobody knows its source, but it’s much consumption of food that contains Aflatoxin,” Iliya said.
The event is part of the five year programme by UNDP and GEF, and being implemented through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Development Programme of seven selected northern Nigeria States of Adamawa, Benue, Gombe, Nassarrawa, Kano, Jigawa and Katsina.
The goal of the project is to enhance long-term sustainability and resilience of food production systems in Nigeria, by building greater community resilience to climate risks and other shocks that cause food insecurity.