The GSA National Aflatoxin Sensitisation and Management (NASAM) project says, it is working to translate materials developed on aflatoxin into seven major languages to enhance farmers’ understanding of the problem.
Project Manager Ruth Alando, who announced this, said the move was necessary to get farmers who were not formally educated to understand the effects of aflatoxin and to engage actively involved in the project.
“Basically, we have realized that the farmers we speak to may not be formally educated so they may not understand the English language so what we have decided to do is that, for any material we develop or produce, we are trying to see how best we can translate it into the various languages,” she said.
Ms. Alando was speaking at a meeting with the Ghana Federation and Agricultural Producers to discuss matters of mutual interest.
The farmers were taken through the NASAM project, issues on scales, weights and measures and briefings on pesticides, usage and control.
She said it was going to be expensive so there was a need for more support from various entities who were willing to help us raise funds to translate the materials into various languages.
“Here in Ghana, we have over 60 languages and if we want to reach out to all these various languages, we have a lot of work to do. We have started with seven major languages and we hope to increase them as time goes on,” she added.
Ms. Alando said the project was so far going very well and have been able to reach out to over 2,000 farmers and processors around the country.
“We have finished with the Northern sector; in August we will be starting our sensitization efforts in the South. We are going to start with the Volta region in August and hopefully, continue to Ashanti, Eastern, Central and the climax it here in Accra,” she said.
“Our tour in the Northern sector was wonderful; we ended up getting more than we had anticipated especially from turnouts. In some places, we got over 200 percent turnouts and the interest is there. Now, it is left with helping the farmers to actually practice what we’ve preached,” she added.
She said while all the farmers understood aflatoxins as a menace that needed to be curbed, there was the need to help and teach them the various agricultural practices they can apply to fight the menace.
Aside the workshops, the project plans to meet farmers one on one on their farms, speak to them, learn from them what their challenges are and what best could be done to help them in the efforts of curbing aflatoxins.
Mr. Paul Fosu, Head Food and Agriculture Department GSA, said the programme was to highlight GSA activities to members of the Federation of Agricultural Producers and how GSA could help them in their work.
He stressed the importance of standards in trading as it enable people to know and adhere to the requirements of various countries in their production.
Mr. Fosu said GSA was ready to help the farmers so that when it comes to production of crops, they go by international standards for their exported produce to be accepted internationally and they will not have any problem with their business.
“GSA, we are doing a lot of sensitization so that people will get to know about what GSA does in terms of trade and testing so that things are done properly and it will be acceptable,” he said.
Mr. Evans Asiedu, Head of Legal Metrology Department, said farmers would need to use verified or calibrated scales, which are verified by the Ghana Standards Authority for trading in agriculture produce.