Agriculture Ministry hails new laboratory

Agriculture Ministry hails new laboratory

Deputy Minister of Agriculture Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima says the launch of McGovern-Dole Mycotoxin Laboratory at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) will help to reduce post-harvest losses.

She said this on Monday at Luanar Natural Resources College (NRC) Campus where the laboratory has been established.

The laboratory will be used for surveillance and monitoring of mycotoxin contamination and for developing management interventions.   

Wirima said post-harvest loss is a matter of concern to the country and the Sub-Saharan region as a whole.

Wirima (C) being briefed inside the lab

She quoted Food and Agriculture Organisation as estimating that 21 percent of cereal grain in sub-Saharan Africa is lost between harvest and consumption.

“These losses emanate from a combination of factors, including the way the crops are grown, harvested, cleaned, handled, dried/processed, stored, milled/processed and marketed,” said Wirima.

The deputy minister said minimising post-harvest loss is the only option to increase per capita food availability.

“We need strategies that minimise physical losses and deterioration of quality, which reduce the commercial and nutritional value of our food commodities,” said Wirima.

NRC Food and Nutrition Faculty dean Limbikani Mathumba said Malawi experiences warm climate which is conducive for the development of moulds; hence, the need for formulating strategies to ensure that agricultural produce have less toxins.

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