PROJECT TITLE: CADMIUM AND LEAD CONTAMINATION IN FARM FEED MATERIALS
PROJECT TEAM: MSAMALA DUNCAN, RAPHAEL CHIGUMIRA, PETER MUZOFA
YEAR: 2018 - 2019
A total of 300 samples of maize, soya beans, sugar beans, sunflowers, groundnuts, cow peas, roundnuts, millet and sorghum were randomly sampled from 135 communal farmers in 9 districts of Mashonaland East Province and analysed for cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) composition from May to November 2018 to determine the level of contamination. The results were assessed against Cd and Pb maximum residual levels (MRL) recommended in literature. In addition, at least 15 randomly selected farmers were interviewed in 3 wards per district, to assess their agricultural practices and knowledge of heavy metal occurrence and contamination. The districts covered include Mudzi, Uzumba-Maramba-Pfumngwe (UMP), Mutoko, Murehwa, Hwedza, Chikomba, Seke, Marondera and Goromonzi. The mean Cd contamination level was lowest in maize (0.18ppm) and highest in roundnuts (0.76ppm). Mean Pb contamination level was lowest in sugar beans (1.56ppm) and highest in sunflower (4.13ppm). However, the mean concentrations of Cd and Pb were below the MRLs of 1ppm and 10ppm respectively. Thus the feed materials from the communal areas of Mashonaland East Province had little contribution to Cd and Pb contamination of farm feed. Of the 135 farmers interviewed, 60% were women of age range of mostly 61-70 years, less than 20% had knowledge of Cd and Pb contamination and only 5% sent samples for laboratory testing. There is great need to educate communal farmers about heavy metals and extend testing services to ensure monitoring and control of Cd and Pb in farm feed materials.