Farmers made the appeal over the weekend during the training conducted by TARI-Dakawa on the effective use of improved seeds. The training brought on board rice growers from Kilosa and Mvomero districts.
Halima Jumanne, a farmer from Mvomero District said the issue of aflatoxins in various cereals crops is not well understood by farmers more public awareness is much needed to allay fears.
She said as of now the fear in the society had increased due reports from Dodoma Region aflatoxins had caused deaths to several people as well as lack of markets for their various crops including rice and maize.
Another farmer, Scola Libangu, from Kilosa District said the understanding of the aflatoxins was still very law and called on the Ministry of Agriculture to visit cereals production areas to educate farmers on the subject.
“Sometimes a farmer may be producing poisonous fungi unknowingly when storing their crops without following proper storage procedures and this is the subject farmers need to be educated about from time to time, especially for those in rural areas,” Libangu said.
Assistant director of Food Security Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Josephine Amollo said the ministry had decided to start educating farmers on the poisonous fungi following reports of such knowledge by Mvomero and Kilosa farmers.
He however said the aim of the training was to ensure farmers of cereals increase production using seeds by applying modern technologies.
TARI-Dakawa researcher, Phabiola Langa said apart from educating them on the poisonous fungus, they are also being trained on the best use of seeds that have been researched on to withstand destructive plant pests.
TARI-Dakawa director, Dr Andrew Ngereza said since they have now produced various kinds of rice seeds that can withstand drought as well as in salty waters and called upon farmers to change their mid- sets and abandon traditional farming.