Groundnut is an important oil seed crop of India. In spite of its high nutritive value, 80% of the total production is utilized for oil extraction. It has great potential for diversification to food uses. Maintenance of quality is one of the major concerns for diversification. Apart from visual characters, such as pod shape, size, color, cleanliness, etc., aflatoxin contamination in kernels is considered as an important criterion for judging the quality of groundnut. Aflatoxins are the toxic substances produced by strains of fungi belonging to Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. Aflatoxin contamination has led to human and cattle health concerns, significantly influencing groundnut trade worldwide. Aflatoxin contamination in groundnut pods has been reported to be more prevalent in Junagadh district compared to other groundnut growing districts of India. Hence, the study was undertaken to assess the perceptions of farmers on quality of groundnut in Junagadh district of Gujarat State, India. The results indicated that majority of farmers had low perception of quality and there were significant differences between the perceptions of big farmers and small farmers. The characteristics of farmers: knowledge of aflatoxin management practices, innovativeness, and market orientation significantly influenced the perceptions. Based on the results suggestions are made to formulate strategies to increase the knowledge level of farmers on aflatoxin management practices of groundnut through appropriate extension approaches. Mass awareness campaigns to educate farmers and consumers on the ill effects of consumption of aflatoxin contaminated produce, providing incentive price to farmers, building of consumer demands for aflatoxin free and good quality groundnuts are needed.
Aflatoxin Contamination, Diversification, Groundnut Quality, Knowledge, Market Orientation, Perception