Nigeria has what it takes to diversify her economy through earnings from traditional and herbal medicines, Prof. Maurice Iwu, Chairman, Bioreources Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP), has said. Iwu, the Chairman, Organising Committee of Herbal, Health Food and Natural Expo (HERBFEST) 2015, made the assertion when he briefed newsmen on the event on Thursday.
The Expo with the theme “Food as a Medicine: Utilization and Sustainable Exploitation of African Medicinal Plants and Natural Products’’, will hold in Abuja from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8.
“Now, with the lowered income from petroleum and the need to diversify our economy, we need an Expo like this to showcase the abundance of resources deposited in Nigeria but remained untapped.
“Nigeria is so endowed that we should be able to compete with other countries in adding to our income stream things that come out from herbal products.
“Herbal medicine is an area where many countries are looking at, yet we have not looked into this area to any significant level.
“We know what happens in China, a lot of people in this country buy products from them and also India where people buy a lot of food supplements,’’ Iwu said.
He said that with the abundance of research centres, institutions like Federal Institute for Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), 40 universities working day and night and good agricultural policies, Nigeria could diversify.
“What we need is a ribbon to tie all these institutions together, which is the major purpose of HERBFEST.
“This event will help indigenous manufacturers to interface with foreign businessmen and see how they can do their businesses together.
“As we speak, there are over 48 commercial plants from Nigeria and 30 of these plants are food plants.
“We are hoping that one day, herbal medicine practitioners will be able to look at the global trend and key into scientific traditional trend.
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