The Cabinet has approved a policy on aflatoxin control in food and feeds to help protect human and animal health and also increase the incomes of food value chain actors in the country.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, who made this known at a press briefing in Accra on May 4, 2022, said the policy, which was approved last year, would reduce aflatoxin in food and feed.
According to him, his outfit in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Health were in the process of developing the policy.
He said aflatoxin contamination was rife in the country, and that it could affect the exportation of grains if measures were not put in place to contain the situation.
Aflatoxins are toxic compounds produced by certain moulds found in food that could cause liver damage and cancer.
Dr Afriyie said the ministry had also developed a science, technology and innovation (ST&I) policy to strengthen the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the country.
He said the policy, which was currently under review, would effectively respond to emerging issues in science and technology and also cater for linkages to other sectors.
“The policy is being reviewed to incorporate government policy direction for the strengthening of STEM to effectively respond to emerging issues such as frontier technology and linkages to other sectors, especially education," Dr Afriyie added.
He said the South African Department of Science and Innovation, through an Evi-Pol project, was providing technical support on some aspects of the review process, which would culminate in the revision of the national science, technology and innovation action plan, in line with the policy.
Dr Afriyie further said that a space policy, which had also been approved by the Cabinet, would guide the use and development of space science technology (SST) for technological advancement towards sustainable development through education, cutting-edge research and commercialisation.
He said the country was situated close to the Equator and, therefore, had to leverage its location to expand space science technology.
Touching on the recent dynamite explosion that resulted in the loss of lives and properties at Appiatse in the Western Region, Dr Afriyie said the ministry would provide both technical and financial support for the community.
He said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had conducted two environmental impact assessment exercises to determine ammonium nitrate levels in the area and had given approval to the district assembly for work to begin.
"The EPA is continuing with strict enforcement, as per its mandate, to prevent future explosions," the minister further said, adding that the agency was considering emergency escort services for licensed transporters and dealers in hazardous substances.
Furthermore, he said, the MESTI, through the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA), carried out surveys and prepared a local plan expected to house about 870 people on a 160-acre land.
Responding to questions later on concerns about the operations of Empire Cement Ghana Limited, located at Weija in Accra, under unethical environmental conditions, Dr Afriyie said the committee he formed to look into the issue had just presented its report.
He, however, declined to reveal the contents of the report to the media.