Bravao TIKA

Friday, November 16, 2018
Agriculture is indispensable and a key sector for investment to achieve long-term food security as well as reducing poverty. In order to achieve these set target goals, the agricultural sector needs to be transformed from subsistence farming to market oriented commercial enterprises. Comparative advantages of agricultural and human resources need to be built to boost productivity and increase competitiveness. In our yesterday’s edition we ran a story about a donation of groundnut lab processing equipment and consumables by the Turkish Corporation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) through their Turkish Banjul embassy to the National Food Security Processing and Marketing Corporation. The move is not only timely, but it’s part of efforts to help reduce aflatoxin, thereby boosting The Gambia’s agricultural sector. It is also anchored on the South-South cooperation and goes to signify that Turkey is a true friend of The Gambia. Many times, our farmers would toil under the blazing sun, only to be devastated by the effects of aflatoxin and other harmful effects. However, there need to be right mechanism and regulations to help in the control of harmful and dangerous chemicals. If not all our efforts will be eroded. Other countries have aflatoxin regulations, designed to protect human and animal health. And it is high time The Gambia follow suit if the country is to make any gains in the agriculture sector. Though, these regulations incur economic losses to some nations, but these economic effects must be balanced against the health protection afforded by the regulations. Aflatoxin is one such poisonous carcinogens that are produced by certain molds (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains. They are regularly found in improperly stored staple commodities such as cassava, chili peppers, corn, cotton seed, millet, peanuts, rice, sesame seeds. When contaminated food is processed, aflatoxins enter the general food supply where they have been found in both pet and human foods, as well as in feedstocks for agricultural animals. Natural occurring aflatoxin contamination in crops has important ramifications for both global trade and health. It is important to acknowledge that, even in nations that have aflatoxin regulations, many individuals consume crops that have undergone no regulatory inspection, especially in nations where subsistence farming is widespread. We therefore, thank the Turkish government department- (TIKA) through its Banjul embassy for the timely gesture. “Making a donation is the ultimate sign of solidarity. Actions speak louder than words.” Ibrahim Hooper