Campaign against Aflatoxin Contamination in Nutmeg.


INDIA : WSO partnered with the Spices Board, India to create a campaign to combat the challenges in Nutmeg production, envisioning the solution of industry problems, keeping the farm as the focal point of action.

To control Aflatoxin contamination through farm practice improvements.
Nutmeg is widely used by manufacturers in food application and medicine as whole spices, oils and oleoresins, and is facing severe quality issues, and rejection at ports due to Aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxins have negative health effects, and reduces the marketability of the produce, particularly in international trade (due to stringent standards of permissible limits).
The Aspergillus fungi, responsible for Aflatoxin contamination, grows on Nutmeg, not whilst it is still on the tree. The post-harvest stages expose the crop to contamination. The crucial processing step is the drying of the produce to a safe moisture level. However, the harvest season of Nutmeg, coincides with the wettest times of the year: the monsoons. Sun drying is therefore not possible. Nutmeg awareness programs, stress on the importance of proper drying, and the techniques of doing so in difficult climatic conditions.
The working committee constituted to rid Nutmeg of Aflatoxin, in India:
-          Dr. Johny J Kannamppally and Mr. Sacaria - Prominent nutmeg growers
-          Mr. Philip Kuruvilla - Chairman, World Spice Organisation
-          Mr. B Sreekumar, Spices Board
  1. Awareness campaigns at the growing areas.
  2. Publications detailing scientific methods of production, and pre-harvest methods.
  3. Dedicated space for Aflatoxin prevention in Magazine – Spice India (This magazine is subscribed to, by farmers, traders, and other spice industry stakeholders. It is translated into the regional languages and widely distributed in the growing areas)
  4. Programs on major regional television channels broadcasting Good Agricultural Practices - from nursery to pre-harvest for Nutmeg.
The program has been launched in Ponkunnam, Kottayam district, Kerala, India.
The campaign will cover other major nutmeg producing areas in Edakunnam, Pariyaram, Meenakshipuram, Erattupettah, Adimali and Kanjoor, Thamarassery (Kozhikode District), Karuvarakundu (Malappuram District) and Vaikom (Kottayam District) and extend to other nutmeg growing areas on the Konkan coast, including Raigad district in Maharashtra.
Kerala was selected as the campaign launch point as it is a major producing centre of nutmeg and mace. (Annual production between 4,000-5,000 tonnes)
-          Agricultural experts working with Manufacturers and Exporters
-          Progressive Farmers
-          Scientists from Indian Institute of Spices Research
-          Experts form Kerala Agriculture University
-          Scientists from Spices Board
The encouragement received from the growers and industry; have us convinced that many serious spice industry problems have one solution: spreading the right information. This was a first step forward. WSO has on its agenda, similar programs that cover other spices, regions and countries.
Planning for disease management, using the right agricultural and harvesting technology and linking the farmer with the end consumer/manufacturer will continue to be thrust areas for the World Spice Organisation.


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