• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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‘Deforestation threatens medicinal plant existence’

‘Deforestation threatens medicinal plant existence’

Kolawole Salako, vice president, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Kolawole Salako a professor has said that deforestation and over-exploitation of trees are a major threat to the existence of medicinal plants in the country as he lamented the decrease in reserve of herbs and stock of medicinal plants.

The vice-chancellor who was represented by Mufutau Atayese, dean-college of plant science and crop production urged academia to come up with clear cut direction on how to ensure proper utilisation of medicinal forest plants, according to a press statement made available to BusinessDay.

While adding, that medicinal plants in the forest have played significant roles in traditional medicine, most especially for those who live in the rural areas of the country.

READ ALSO: FUNAAB VC decries invasion of farmland by cattle rearers, herders

“Medicinal plants, since time immemorial, have been used virtually in all cultures as a source of medication. The widespread use of herbal remedies and healthcare preparations, as described in ancient texts such as Vedas and medicinal plants has been traced to the occurrence of natural products with medicinal properties,” he said.

“Traditional medicinal practice is an important part of the primary health care delivery systems in most of the developing world. According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 3.5 billion people in the developing world depend on medicinal plants for primary health care needs.”

The vice-chancellor who observed that the case was not different in Nigeria stated that herbal remedies had become more popular in the treatment of minor ailments as a result of the high cost of personal health maintenance.

To this end, he said that countries like China and India had tapped into the potential of medicinal forest plants and had been able to adequately utilise, process and repackage these products, noting that many of their products are now sold under different brand names and it is a multimillion-dollar business.

The vice-chancellor said that FUNAAB has taken it upon itself as a tradition to encourage members of staff of the college and others to fully and actively participate in their professional associations. He expressed the University’s readiness to support Commonwealth Forestry Association (CFA), the College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM) and the Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management for a successful hosting of the conference.

READ ALSO: Still on Nigeria’s troubled timber

Earlier, Busuyi Agbeja president, CFA stated that Nigeria’s forest estate is geometrically reducing at an unprecedented and alarming rate. He noted that the association’s concerted efforts as foresters and allied natural resource specialists were called for to address the dangerously insecure or perilous situation of forest estate in Nigeria

He charged members to protect their professional callings because according to him, “If our forests (reserved and unreserved) are wittingly or unwittingly liquidated to insignificant level in Nigeria, then we shall all become irrelevant.”

The Workshop is research-oriented and is aimed at bringing forestry, allied natural resources, scientists and graduates together. Also, it will assist development experts and policymakers from higher institutions and research institutes, to disseminate information on health care innovations.

Josephine Okojie