Knowledge, Attitude, and Management Practices of Stakeholders towards Fungal Invasion and Mycotoxin Contamination of Wheat and Maize in Ethiopia
Background: Filamentous fungi cause deterioration in grain quality and release harmful mycotoxins. Cereals are vulnerable to fungal invasion and mycotoxin contamination starting from the field to post-harvest storage and processing. However, information is limited on the fungal invasion of cereals and mycotoxin contamination in Ethiopia.
Objective: The study was aimed at determining the knowledge, attitude, and management practices of respondents towards fungi and their mycotoxin contaminations.
Materials and Methods: A total of 438 participants were sampled from four top wheat and maize producing Zones (Bale, West Arsi, East Shoa, and West Shoa) from Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia. Descriptive analysis, mean ranking, and test of significances were used to analyze the data.
Results: Based on the results obtained, the overall mean score level of knowledge of respondents towards fungal invasion and mycotoxin contamination was very low (1.81). The highest mean score level of knowledge towards fungal invasion and mycotoxin contamination was 2.54 for respondents working as agricultural experts and the minimum score (1.31) was obtained for respondents with elementary educational background. A significant difference in mean knowledge level (P < 0.01) was observed on the questions related to fungi and their mycotoxins among farmers, agricultural experts, merchants, teachers and other participants. The overall mean attitude level of respondents was 4.16. The highest mean attitude level (4.49) was obtained for teachers and the lowest mean attitude level (3.94) was obtained for respondents with elementary education background. The overall mean practice level of respondents towards reducing fungal infection and mycotoxin contamination was low (1.9). A comparison of mean practice levels base on occupation type showed significant (P < 0.01) differences among the various occupation types.
Conclusion: The study revealed knowledge about fungi and mycotoxin contamination is generally very low among farmers. This signals the need for providing training for farmers at all levels on toxin producing fungi and the danger of their mycotoxins present to humans and animals.