Full Length Research Paper
Maize (Zea mays) is the staple food for the majority of people in Tanzania which plays a key role in subsistence and a cash crop among actors of the maize value chain. Environmental factors such as soil contamination by fungi, water stress, warm and humid conditions are among several factors contributing to fungal growth and aflatoxins contamination in maize, leading to significant economic loss, reduced household income, health problems to humans and animals and interferes with food security to communities. Structured questionnaires were used to collect information on awareness associated with aflatoxin contamination in maize from 160 smallholder farmers, 160 consumers and 60 traders in Kondoa and Chemba districts in Dodoma Region. A total of 90 maize samples (40 from smallholder farmers, 30 from consumers and 20 from traders) were analyzed for AFB1 using immuno-affinity high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) type Agilent Technologies 1200 serial. Data were statistically analyzed to assess awareness levels among maize main stakeholder and to check the current levels of aflatoxins B1 contamination in the study community. AFB1 was detected in five samples. About 3.3% of the contaminated maize had AFB1 levels above TBS acceptable levels (5 µg/kg). The highest mean concentration of AFB1 was in maize samples taken from traders with a mean of 9.88±5.904 µg/kg. The majority 56% of smallholder farmers and 52% of traders were aware of aflatoxins contamination and associated health effects on animals and humans. However, 74% of consumers were unaware of aflatoxins contamination in maize. The levels of contamination are low in the sample taken along maize value chain. An effective and broad awareness programme for community especially consumers on good management for prevention of aflatoxins contamination is necessary, as maize is the most consumed grain in the study area.
Key words: Aflatoxins contamination, smallholder farmers, consumers.
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