Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), conducted a Training of Trainers (ToT) on Aflatoxin management for District and Sector Agronomists.
The training took place on 9th-13th November 2020, at Musanze District, Northern Province, aiming improved aflatoxin management using integrated aflatoxin management systems.
Aflatoxins are poisonous carcinogens and mutagens produced by certain molds (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) growing in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains. They often occur in cereals (maize, rice, sorghum, millet, wheat, cassava), dried foods, spices, crude vegetable oils, as a result of fungal contamination before and after harvesting. Aflatoxins also pose a significant economic burden, causing an estimated 25% or more of the world’s food crops to be destroyed annually (WHO, 2018).
Overall, an integrated approach, whereby aflatoxins are controlled at all stages from the field to the table, is required for risk reduction. Such an approach includes targeted plant breeding practices, enhanced host plant resistance, and biological control methods, coupled with post-harvest technologies such as proper drying and storage of susceptible crop products, as well as development of appropriate alternative uses to retain at least some economic return on value of damaged crop.
The trained agronomists will further equip the learnt knowledge to farmers through demonstration and public awareness.