By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA—The Federal Government has unveiled plans to generate over N500 billion as revenue from Moringa plant and create over one million jobs.
The plant is believed to prevent over 300 diseases and could readily provide the substitute for the chemical, Alum, used for water treatment, which the Federal Government spends about N354.5 million annually to import.
Moringa Oleifera is a popular plant in the northern and eastern parts of the country, used for food and medicines
Peter Onwualu, Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of Raw Materials Research and Development Council, RMRDC, disclosed this at the 1st national summit on Moringa development.
“It is our belief that if the entire value chain for Moringa is fully developed, it can generate over one million jobs and generate over N500 billion n terns of revenue for Nigeria,” the DG stated.
RMRDC DG said the socio-economic benefits of developing the entire value chain of Moringa could not be quantified and could compete with earnings from crude oil.
He maintained that more grants would be awarded to researchers and private industries towards Moringa development in 2011.
Muhammed Abubakar, Minister of Science and Technology, noted that the plant was believed to prevent over 300 diseases and could readily provide the substitute for the chemical used for water treatment.
Abubakar pointed out that modern science had, however, proven that the plant’s tiny leaves were packed with incredible nutrients, notably protein, vitamins and iron that could strengthen the body, provide immunity against HIV/AIDS and prevent other diseases.
He said investigations had shown that the local plant resources could readily provide the substitute for the chemical used in water treatment, confirming that about N354.5 million was spent annually on its importation by federal government.
The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Adefemi Olayinsade, said: “One key area that is already being targeted is the use of extracts from the plant seeds as natural coagulant for water treatment, especially for the rural communities where the lack of potable drinking water is posing serious challenges.”
Abubakar stressed that one of the objectives of the summit was to sensitize Nigerians and major stakeholders on the socio-economic potentials of the plant and show how it could be exploited to help the nation achieve growth and national development.
He added that the summit would also consider the various uses and products of the tree with presentations to cover areas of food security, nutritional supplements, medicine, water treatment and other chemicals, renewable energy, ornamentals and environmental concerns.
The Minister insisted that the plant had become even more relevant, considering what it could contribute to achieving some aspects of the MDGs, adding that the paradox of the plant was that it grows and thrives in parts of the world identified as poor, underdeveloped and developing, such as Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean countries.