The AMCANE Project (Peanut, Cashew and Sustainable Business) a consortium led by Helvetas, in collaboration with the Agakhan and Pakka Foundation shared on the 9thOctober the results of the aflatoxin study on Peanut, a resulted work from collaboration with 2 universities, one based in Switzerland (Hafl University) and another based in Mozambique (Lúrio University). The work was also supported by consultants from ACDI/VOCA - Tanager.
During the presentation, producers, representatives of the public sector, private sector, research centers - laboratories and Ground Nut Working Group (GNWG) were present.
The study clearly showed the need to intensify efforts related to control and measures to reduce levels of Aflatoxin in groundnuts, as all farms visited have samples with levels ranging from 0.5-901ppb.
The effect of Cyclone may have influenced, to a certain extent, high levels of aflatoxin since it happened during the drying period.
It was clear that even in the harvest period when peanuts were tested, aflatoxin levels were still relatively low at 1.8ppb, the product with moisture levels above 40%. It was found that within 4 and 8 weeks of harvesting, exactly during the drying and storage periods, moisture levels were reduced by between 6% and 5% respectively and there was a tendency for aflatoxin levels to increase. It was concluded that Aflatoxin levels increase after the harvesting phase considering the technologies used for drying and storage.
Three new technologies were tested for the control of aflatoxin levels in peanuts and showed a positive effect when compared to the control treatment.
Aflasafe a granular biopesticide, the result of 4 non-toxigenic Aspergillus fungus isolates, showed a positive effect on control during the vegetative development phase of the crop (Application 30 days after sowing) and with the possibility of delaying the rapid development of the fungus in the post-harvest stage compared to control.
Biospray (Liquid bio-pesticide), resulting from a mixture of anaerobically fermented effective microorganisms (bacteria and fungi), was shown to have a posing effect on the control of aflatoxin levels when compared to control.
Salt, is locally available considering as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effect also had a positive effect on the control of aflatoxin levels when compared to the control treatment.
It can be observed that with the use of aflasafe in the production phase and Biospray or salt in the post-harvest phase with proper application of the drying and storage methods, Aflatoxin levels can be controlled avoiding public health problems.
The AMCANE project in collaboration with the GNWG will disseminate the results at various levels in order to influence decision makers to become aware of the danger that Aflatoxins cause to public health, their control measures and especially the existence of nationally applicable standards, and not just the use of the 10ppb observed by the World Health Organization (WHO).