Issued 21 June 2018
Agriculture minister Omar A Jallow, during a day-long national conference on the development and challenges posed by Aflatoxin disclosed that 91% of the rural poor Gambians are working as farmers.
The day’s forum was designed to provide a platform where multi-sectoral stakeholders including public and private sector and farmers met to discuss the state of affairs as it relates to aflatoxin in their respective fields with the support from the Food Safety and Quality Authority(FSQA).
Minister Jallow said awareness of the impact of aflatoxin is limited in The Gambia but said it is not a new problem. “Aflatoxin contamination levels in our groundnuts have become increasingly challenging in the past decades to the point that premium markets have been lost and our exports deemed unfit even as birdfeed.”
He said this has adverse economic and social implications on”us” since it is a sector that engages a significant number of the country’s workforce whose livelihood depends on earnings from their produce. “Low earningshave a direct impact on poverty eradication efforts because our farmers reside in the rural areas which have 42% of the population but account for 60% of the poor.”
Trade minister Dr. Isatou Touray said The Gambia is historically a trading hub and continues to play that role, saying trading of goods especially of agricultural products is important, considering the fact that it engages a significant number of our workforce in one form or another along the value chain and is also the source of income for farmers, who, he called the poorest members of our society.
Director General of FSQA Zainab Jallow said aflatoxins mitigation in crops and it’s far reaching impact on agriculture, trade and health remains a challenge.