Current Maize Production, Postharvest Losses and the Risk of Mycotoxins Contamination in Tanzania
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Agriculture is the backbone of Tanzanian economy. It accounts for about one-third of the gross domestic product (GDP), provides 85 percent of all exports and saves as a livelihood to over 80 percent of the total population. Maize is the primary staple crop; it’s grown in nearly all agro-ecological zones in the country. Tanzania is a major maize producer in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the last four decades, Tanzania has ranked among the top 25 maize producing countries in the world. In the 2013/14 growing seasons Tanzania produced over half billion metric tons of maize of these maize smallholder farmers produced around 85%. Despite the steady production of maize over the past three decades, post-harvest losses of maize remained significant, up to 30-40 % in some rural areas. Post-harvest handling, poor infrastructure, weather variability, biotic factors such as insects and pests, bacteria, pathogens, viruses, and fungi, often aggravate such losses. Mycotoxin producing fungi pose a major risk. Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites of fungi that frequently contaminate the maize in the field and/or during storage. Mycotoxin contamination of maize poses a health risk to humans and animals if not properly managed. The most important mycotoxins in Tanzania are the aflatoxins, fumonisins and Ochratoxin. The objective of this paper was to review current literature on the production trends, consumption, post-harvest losses, and mycotoxins contamination of maize and to provide strategies to control and prevent postharvest losses and mycotoxins contamination in Tanzania.
This proceeding is from 2015 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Paper No. 152189434, pages 1-128 (doi: 10.13031/aim.20152189434). St. Joseph, Mich.: ASABE. Posted with permission.