Mitigation of mycotoxins contamination risks due to handling practices of indigenous chicken feeds in Western Kenya

Mycotoxins are prevalent in animal feeds and agricultural products. These toxins have been associated with morbidity and death in both livestock and humans. However, once fungi metabolizes these toxins in substrates, they are not eradicatedeasily. Therefore, avoiding contamination is the preferred method of mitigating mycotoxins in indigenous chicken feeds and cereals. In this study, feed types and handling practices that exacerbate mycotoxin contamination by smallholder farmers in farmer groups keeping indigenous chicken from three counties (Siaya, Busia and Kakamega) in Western Kenya were evaluated. Semi-structured questionnaires were used in gathering data on various types of feeds, handling practices and mycotoxins awareness from 180 farmers. Common feed types identified in Western Kenya, included maize (96%), sorghum (54%), cassava (42%), millet (40%), homemade rations (16%) while some used commercial feeds (44%). It was noted that 38% use rotten, insect-infested, unsorted and broken cereals and 62% use clean cereals as feeds. The handling practices identified included storage where 85% and 7% are using polypropylene and hermetic bags, respectively; 97% are using right drying methods; sorting where 21% are not sorting their gains; and preservatives where 29% are using no preservatives in storage. This study also assessed the feed safety and mycotoxin awareness levels of the indigenous chicken farmers. Feed safety awareness, were 44% of farmers were unaware of feed safety while 71% were aware of mycotoxins; however, 73% of the participants were unaware of dangers posed by mycotoxins contamination in feeds. The study also looked at feed and cereals handling and storage practices that could easily be adopted by farmers to mitigate mycotoxins contamination and hence reduce exposure. Information to farmers on mycotoxin and proper feed and cereals handling and storage practices should be an obligationon mycotoxin management
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Working document series
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
Web resource