Ginger is an important commercial crop that is gaining popularity worldwide with Nigeria having abundant potential to produce for domestic consumption and export markets. However, the Nigerian ginger market is negatively affected by mold infections and aflatoxin contamination and subsequently raises concerns about the ginger quality and safety. Issues resulting from aflatoxin contamination present a serious obstacle to improving the competitiveness of Nigerian ginger and linking ginger farmers to lucrative markets.
Corresponding to this identified challenge, AFC decided to launch an Aflatoxin sensitisation campaign as part of the Nigerian Competitiveness Project (1). The campaign is organised in collaboration with Agro processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) Kaduna State Coordination Office - a project developed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development in collaboration with World Bank.
Sensitisation workshops are organised in different locations of Kaduna State,drawing attention of 300 actors from the ginger value chain (producers, processors, warehouse managers, as well as traders) to the following topics:
- Occurrence, prevalence and effects of aflatoxins on the quality of ginger and its value for international markets,
- Ubiquitous nature of fungi and occupational exposure to molds and aflatoxins,
- Health and economic consequences of aflatoxin contamination in food and feeds,
- Possible diseases arising from consumption of aflatoxin contaminated ginger,
- Prevention and control of aflatoxin contamination of ginger and related products.
To further increase the outreach of the sensitisation campaign on aflatoxin contamination and mitigation measures, we produced easy understandable posters and fliers including pictorial illustrations. To date, 3000 posters and fliers have been distributed through various channels e.g. during sensitisation meeting, farmer group meetings, and individual visits to warehouses. Beyond, workshops and distribution material, we are in the process of exploring other ICT solutions that would help disseminate the information further (e.g. SMS, audio/video messages, online platforms, etc.).
The campaign is only one part of our support package consisting of trainings on integrated soil fertility management, good agricultural practice, good processing practices such as splitting, drying, grading, storage practices and quality & safety requirements incl. prevention of mycotoxins, as well as support on procuring equipment (e.g. moisture testers, etc.).
In its combination, already with the next harvest and subsequent processing, we are expecting improved practices amongst actors resulting in less aflatoxin contamination throughout the value chain.
(1) NICOP (Nigerian Competitiveness Project) is an EU-GIZ co-funded project. The value chain component is implemented by AFC from 2019 until 2022.