Farmers have adopted technologies in fighting off the poisonous aflatoxins prevalence in the maize production.
With the use of locally available and cheap materials including shelters, salt and sheets among others, the farmers have managed to bring down the toxicity within their production.
Jean de Dieu Niyonzima, president of Dusangire mu Majyambere co-operative in Bugesera district told Rwanda Today that thanks to technologies, their production is now meeting the required standards of the local processors and millers.
“With a glass bottle and salt, we can now test if the maize grains are dry by mixing them with salt and leave them for at least 15 minutes. Once the maize separate with the salt, the salt remaining in the bottom of the bottle and the maize come on top, we are sure that the maize is dry enough, but if they both remain mixed after that time, it’s evident that the maize is still containing some moisture from which aflatoxin breeds,” Ms Niyonzima told Rwanda Today.
According to Niyonzima, after applying the technique they apply the moisture meter to determine the level of the dryness within their crops.
“We are mostly hanging around two per cent of aflatoxin against five per cent, which is tolerable on the market,” Mr Niyonzima added.
Aflatoxins are poisonous carcinogens and mutagens produced by certain moulds, which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains. They often occur in cereals like maize, rice, sorghum, millet, wheat, cassava, dried foods, spices, crude vegetable oils, as a result of fungal contamination before and after harvesting.
Farmers say through combating aflatoxin prevalence in the maize value chain in Rwanda project, they have been empowered to produce grade one maize with very low levels of aflatoxins through extension services, capacity building and market linkage to allow big processors in Rwanda to source the crop locally and reduce importation from outside the country.