Promoting use of field deployable method in screening rice containing elevated inorganic arsenic among smallholder farmers in Malawi to promote exportation of low inorganic arsenic rice for baby food production
Workshops were conducted in Malawi to 1) sensitize farmers on potential EU rice market for rice containing low inorganic arsenic, 2) promote the need for screening rice with elevated iAs using field deployable method which is easy and fast, 3) raise awareness among agriculture extension development officers and trainee food technician pursuing a degree program in Food Technology on how they can help farmers screen rice with low inorganic using the field deployable method and 4) demonstrate to farmers, field worker and trainee food technician on how field deployable method can be utilized in screening rice with low inorganic arsenic. A total of thirty-six (36) rice farmers, thirteen (13) field workers (agriculture extension development officers (AEDOs)) and four (4) Area field supervisors (agriculture extension planning area (EPA) - agriculture extension development coordinators (AEDC)) from various districts across the country were trained, sensitized. Majority of the participants found the training workshops highly relevant their rice farming as a business and asked if government could move in to speed up implementation of screening and certification of Malawi rice for international trade. For trainee food technician, a total of 87 participants attended the training at NRC and majority of the students active participated in discussions and question and answer sessions. Participants commended the workshop as being vital to their training and suggested to consider mainstreaming field deployable method experiments of determination of inorganic arsenic in rice and other food staff in food analyses and/or food chemistry curriculum. They also suggested to conduct a training of trainers’ workshops to widen the scope of awareness as well as imparting expertise to the next generation which forms the action point of the project. The main challenge of the workshop was delayed remittance of funds for participants accommodation and meals.
Workshop in Salima and training session in Lilongwe, Malawi July 2019. For further information check out the TESLA web-page.