Creating awareness about aflatoxin, its prevention and detection is a priority target in the groundnut and sorghum value chain programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria. In a step towards strengthening this, ICRISAT helped set up two aflatoxin detection and quantification laboratories at the NARS centers in Nigeria.
The two laboratories set up at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR)/Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, and the Federal University of Agriculture (FUAM), Makurdi, are expected to serve as aflatoxin detection centers in groundnut, sorghum and other grains and food products susceptible to aflatoxin contamination. It will assist in aflatoxin related research and learning by students, academic staff and other researchers, while ensuring that the food is safer for consumption and export.
Aflatoxin contamination of agricultural products has assumed global significance and the whole of Africa is highly susceptible to aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxin contamination of major crops such as groundnuts, sorghum and maize occurs above acceptable levels specified by Europe (4 ppb) and USA (20 ppb) and has significant negative effect on human and animal health, as well as the accompanying economic impact since such products cannot exported. However, even low levels of exposure to aflatoxin can result in measurable human health impacts.
During 18-21 April, laboratory equipment was received at IAR/ABU Zaria and staff from both IAR/ABU and FUAM were trained. The equipment was received by Prof DA Aba, Assistant Director, Research, who expressed his pleasure at ICRISAT’s interventions. On 22 April the laboratory equipment was installed at FUAM by the staff who attended the training at IAR Zaria, with the support of ICRISAT Nigeria.
A total of 19 participants attended the training at IAR Zaria: 4 from FUAM, 12 from IAR/ABU Zaria, 1 from IAR-Kano, 1 from ICRISAT-Nigeria and 2 from FMARD groundnut and sorghum value chains. The installations and training were conducted by Dr Hari Sudini, Senior Scientist, Groundnut Pathology, ICRISAT-India and Mr Veera Reddy, Senior Scientific Officer, ICRISAT-India.