To help smallholder farmers linked to our agribusiness partners to produce quality groundnuts and maize for market, we collaborated with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to organise a series of Aflatoxin Level Testing and Results Sharing forums between 22 and 28 October 2019.
A total of 185 agribusiness actors attended the forums held in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions of Ghana. The agribusinesses included MADE partners and smallholder farmers, Farm Enterprise Advisors (FEAs), representatives of IITA and the Ghana Commodity Exchange.
The purpose of the forums was to get the MADE partners and their smallholder farmers to appreciate the benefits of using Aflasafe. Aflasafe is a biological control product that can be applied to maize or groundnut fields to reduce the incidence of aflatoxin-producing fungi.
In the 2018 production season, MADE introduced its partners and their smallholder farmers to the use of Aflasafe in the cultivation of maize. In the 2019 season, eight field demonstrations were set up on selected partners’ fields to test the effectiveness of Aflasafe on the groundnuts they cultivated. IITA trained the MADE partners on the proper application of Aflasafe on the crop and conducted routine monitoring and technical backstopping of the field demonstrations across the three regions.
After harvesting, MADE and IITA organised the Testing and Results Sharing forums in the participating farming communities to ascertain the success of the intervention. Samples taken from six demonstration fields treated with Aflasafe revealed aflatoxin levels of below 10 parts per billion (ppb) – safe, according to the Ghana Standards Authority threshold for groundnut. The seventh sample could not be taken, while the eighth sample was found to contain aflatoxin levels higher than the 10 ppb threshold. This high level of aflatoxin was attributed to a two-week drought following the application of the Aflasafe. Drought diminishes the effectiveness of Aflasafe, which requires moisture to be most effective.
“We are very proud of the results. We have been using Aflasafe for two years now. Last year we got 5 ppb for our treated samples, and this year we got 3.1 ppb. It is a great improvement. With these results we can comfortably enter the market and sell our groundnuts to the big buyers. We can now promote our groundnuts as aflatoxin-free and position it for premium prices.” Humphrey Kanton, Sales Manager of Farmer Pride, a MADE partner