Senior Agricultural Officer, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service
Aflatoxins are secondary fungal metabolites that contaminate agricultural commodities and can cause sickness or death in humans and animals. Nigeria has received report of high level of aflatoxin in exported commodities from the Rapid Alert system for Food and Feed (RASFF) alert of the EU. Post-harvest practices such as fermentation process, drying and storage at the farmer’s level have been identified as the predisposing factor of agricultural products contamination with Aflatoxin. For better understanding and improving the local processing techniques in order for it to be easily accepted and adopted by the farmers/exporters. A survey was conducted to assess the different techniques used in processing some specific agricultural commodities (smoked Fish, Egusi melon, Ginger, Ogbono and Groundnut) produced in Nigeria. Inappropriate practices observed include fermentation on bare soil, road side sun-drying, unsuitable storage conditions etc. Analysis of some of the samples in the laboratory detected high level of Aflatoxin. This thus necessitate the need to train the farmers on improved post-harvest handling of the commodities.
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