Godfrey Wokorach of Gulu University, who is among the research team and part of the movement told URN on Wednesday that some of the best practices are thorough drying of cereals, timely harvest, avoiding intercropping of similar crop varieties, practicing crop rotation, using improved seeds, early preparation, and good storage.
Scientists in Northern Uganda have launched a campaign aimed
at promoting the production and consumption of safe food as well as preventing
The campaign dubbed, ‘’Safe Food Africa Movement’’ was
rolled out following shocking results of research by Gulu and Ghent
Universities which discovered that over 80% of grain food produced and consumed
in the northern region is contaminated with mycotoxins and 98% of the humans sampled in the region are already affected, presenting with high levels of mycotoxins traces in their bodies.
The three-year-long research titled Holistic Approach to
Combat Mycotoxin Contamination in Northern Uganda (HAMNU) was led by Associate
Professor Dr. Richard Echodu, the Head of Gulu University Faculty of
Agriculture and Environment with funding from Ghent University.
It also discovered that 98 percent of the people in the area
present high levels of mycotoxins traces in their bodies. Mycotoxins are toxic
compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of molds (fungi)which include aflatoxins, fumonisins, ochratoxins, and deoxynivalenol.
Experts say consuming food containing mycotoxins is
associated with health risks like liver cancer, immuno-suppression, loss of
appetite, hepatitis B, growth impairment, immune malfunction, and acute
exposure is fatal.
Godfrey Wokorach of Gulu University, who is among the
research team and part of the movement told URN on Wednesday that one measure
is engaging the community in the awareness of the extent of mycotoxin problems
which are associated with poor food handling.
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He adds that the priority seeks to involve members of the
community, and sensitize them on food processing, storage, post-harvest
management, pest challenges in the field, and field management are the possible
causes of food contamination from home.
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Some of the best practices he named include thorough drying
of cereals, timely harvest, avoiding intercropping of similar crop varieties,
practicing crop rotation, using improved seeds, early preparation, and good
Besides creating awareness, scientists at Gulu University
say they are using organisms to control aflatoxins and have been proved to work very well in other parts of the world.
Wokorach who wooed all stakeholders to join the movement
explains that they have developed biocontrol measures and tried to develop
aflatoxin biocontrol candidates to be enrolled for aflatoxins control in
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Associate Professor Dr. Richard Echodu, the Head of Gulu
University Faculty of Agriculture and Environment agrees that crop
contamination is dangerous and recommends good farming practices to prevent
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