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Aflatoxin awareness and forming Aflasafe leaders: ‘royal’ approval from market queens in Ghana

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Aflatoxin awareness and forming Aflasafe leaders: ‘royal’ approval from market queens in Ghana

January 24, 2019

For Aflasafe GH02 to have sustainable demand and support into the future, we need to create awareness of aflatoxin and Aflasafe in all sectors of society, and for key movers and shakers to take that knowledge and become champions of Aflasafe. Read on to discover how we’re using events to get the message out to some very regal ears, building relationships with key organisations and businesses with the power to create demand, and working with partners to make Aflasafe use a standard practice. Or, follow the links at the end of the article for more on how we’re helping to form farmer leaders on the ground, and how national government is providing national leadership.

Her Royal Highnesses in attendance in great numbers at the 3rd Super Champions Women Conference and World Rural Women’s Day Celebration, Techiman, Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana on 12 October 2018. More than 500 majestic market queens and other participants heard about how aflatoxin impacts household nutrition and income, and how Aflasafe GH02 can help alongside other good management practices.

Events can be a great way to get the Aflasafe message out to large numbers of people, and one very special such event was the 3rd Super Champions Women Conference and World Rural Women’s Day Celebration held in Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region on 12th October 2018, with the theme Building capacity for Women Empowerment – Rural Women Promoting Seed and Nutrition. Dr Daniel Agbetiameh, IITA’s Aflasafe Technical Consultant for Ghana, spoke to an audience of more than 500 on the risk of aflatoxin contamination in food, particularly its impact on household nutrition and income. He also introduced Aflasafe and other aflatoxin management strategies, and advised on local availability. His audience included everyone from women farmers to Chiefs to representatives of civil society organisations – and perhaps most impressively, ‘market queens’.

These women’s queenly titles and queenly bearing leave no doubt as to their prestige. Market queens are monarchs of power and consequence, who lead the other women traders dealing in particular goods – perhaps selling maize, groundnut or yam – within their local market. Their responsibilities include assisting new traders and settling disputes and disagreements, and they also play a key role in determining the prices of the goods over which they rule. In other words, their voices have great influence in demanding aflatoxin-safe foods, and we were over the moon to bend so many queenly ears with our message.

“The market queens were surprised to hear about the array of health risks that they and their children are exposed to due to aflatoxin contamination, and which are not obviously expressed in grains,” said Dr Agbetiameh. “But they were happy there is a solution in the form of Aflasafe that will make their food safe from the moment it’s harvested and improve their household nutrition. Many asked where they could get Aflasafe to buy, and were strongly in favour of further awareness raising.”

AflasafeGH02 featured prominently at Macrofertil’s stand here at the 8th Annual Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibition held on 3–5 October 2018 in Tamale, Northern Region. Macrofertil is the IITA-appointed Aflasafe distributor in Ghana. More

More than 200 farmers, public officials, agribusiness staff and others from the agricultural sector heard a similar presentation, on Aflasafe: Combating deadly aflatoxins in crops, at the 8th Annual Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibition held on 3–5 October 2018 in Tamale, Northern Region. After presenting, Dr Agbetiameh was interviewed by North Star Radio (92.1 FM), reaching listeners in 12 districts across most of the Region. We also found time for business-to-business meetings, making connections with possible collaborators. The theme of the event was Transforming Agribusinesses in Northern Ghana, the future is now – and we couldn’t agree more that it’s time to seize the day, as our partners are doing across Ghana.

At ATTC we are also well-placed to reach out to influential companies and organisations, and cultivate aflatoxin and Aflasafe awareness with a lot of potential leverage. One important role is meeting companies and organisations that have the power to create significant demand for aflatoxin-safe commodities, so giving farmers a good reason to use Aflasafe. In October, for example, we met with members of the Chiraa Poultry Farmers Association, major buyers of grain in Brong Ahafo Region and a potentially important market for the farmers we are working with.

In one final piece of good news, we were thrilled to hear from the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), with whom we have been working to train input dealers on using Aflasafe (see previous stories here and here), that they have now incorporated Aflasafe into their standard training on good agricultural practices – knowledge that will ultimately reach the thousands of farmers they serve. This follows a similar inclusion by Nestlé Ghana, and we are exploring such models with other organisations for the future.

As a new year begins, we hope the ranks of Ghana’s aflatoxin fighters will swell ever greater, led towards an aflatoxin-safe future by the great, the good and the go-getting across all sectors of society. We will be building relationships both old and new as we work to create awareness, knowledge and demand for Aflasafe as a vital weapon in achieving our shared vision.



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