The GSA National Aflatoxin Sensitization and Management (NASAM) project says, it is working to translate materials developed on aflatoxin into seven major languages.
Project Manager Ruth Alando, who announced this, said the move is necessary to get farmers who are not formally educated to understand the effects of aflatoxin and to engage actively involved in the project.
“Basically, we have realized that the farmers we speak to may not be formally educated so they may not understand the English language so what we have decided to do is that, for any material we develop or produce, we are trying to see how best we can translate it into the various languages,” she said.
Ms Alando was speaking at a meeting with the Ghana Federation and Agricultural Producers to discuss matters of mutual interest.
The farmers were taken through the NASAM project, issues on scales, weights and measures and briefings on pesticides, usage and control.
She said it is going to be expensive so there is the need for more support from various entities who were willing to help us raise funds to translate the materials into various languages.
“Here in Ghana, we have over 60 languages and if we want to reach out to all these various languages, we have a lot of work to do. We have started with seven major languages and we hope to increase them as time goes on,” she added.
Ms Alando said the project was so far going very well and have been able to reach out to over 2,000 farmers and processors around the country.
“We have finished with the Northern sector; in August we will be starting our sensitization efforts in the South. We are going to start with the Volta region in August and hopefully, continue to Ashanti, Eastern, Central and the climax it here in Accra,” she said.
“Our tour in the Northern sector was wonderful; we ended up getting more than we had anticipated especially from turn outs. In some places, we got over 200 per cent turn outs and the interest is there. Now, it is left with helping the farmers to actually practice what we’ve preached,” she added.
She said while all the farmers understand aflatoxins as a menace that needs to be curbed, there is the need to help and teach them the various agricultural practices they can apply to fight the menace.
Aside the workshops, the project plans to meet farmers one on one on their farms, speak to them, learn from them what their challenges are and what best could be done to help them in the efforts of curbing aflatoxins.
Mr Paul Fosu, Head Food and Agriculture Department GSA, said the programme was to highlight GSA activities to members of the Federation of Agricultural Producers and how GSA could help them in their work.
He stressed the importance of standards in trading as it enable people to know and adhere to the requirements of various countries in their production.
Mr Fosu said GSA was ready to help the farmers so that when it comes to production of crops, they go by international standards for their exported produce to be acceptable internationally and they will not have any problem with their business.
“GSA, we are doing a lot of sensitization so that people will get to know about what GSA does in terms of trade and testing so that things are done properly and it will be acceptable,” he said.
Mr Evans Asiedu, Head of Legal Metrology Department, said farmers would need to use verified or calibrated scales, which are verified by the Ghana Standards Authority for trading in agriculture produce.
“Note that, after purchasing a scale, you would need the GSA to first verify it before you can start using it for business. After verifying it, if it meets the required standards, we would place a seal in the form of a green sticker on it indicating that it is of standard,” he added.
“All we want you to understand is that, any of you here into sales and using a weighing scale should do well to contact the GSA for verification to prove that it is reading well. It would also prevent any case of you cheating anyone unknowingly and also saves you from loses due to wrongful measurements,” he added.
Mavis Serwah, the Leader of Women Farmers in Ghana and West Africa, said the visit to GSA had helped them to know about Aflatoxin and called for a regular update of farmers to curb the menace.
The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), together with its partners, is implementing the National Aflatoxin Sensitisation and Management (NASAM) Project.
The two-year nationwide project being implemented by the GSA with funding from the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) aims at catalyzing and sustaining an inclusive agricultural transformation by improving food safety and security through increased knowledge about aflatoxin, its impacts and management.