By Oluwatoyin Adegoke
Those involved in traditional medicine have been encouraged to promote environmental renewal by growing plants and rearing animals that will be useful in enhancing the traditional ways of addressing economic and health challenges in the country.
The Director General, the National Orientation Agency, NOA, Mr Lanre-Issa-Onilu made the submission in Abeokuta, Ogun State while flagging off the campaign for Mass Participation in Biodiversity Conservation and Traditional Knowledge Development.
The initiative, put together in partnership with the African Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge Research and Development Project was aimed at facilitating the mass cultivation of medicinal and economic plants, including timbers, coconut and Alligator pepper and others for the use of traditional medicine practitioners.
Mr Issa-Onilu, who was represented by the Ogun State Director of the NOA, Mr Kolawole Obadina said the move would help in protecting the environment from activities capable of damaging the natural habitat which according to him, had brought negative consequences on the ecosystem.
In a keynote address, the President of the African Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge Research and Development Project, Alhaji Shuaibu Aro said the campaign would be extended to all parts of the state, particularly rural communities while pledging the introduction of capacity-building programmes for stakeholders on the need to conserve and preserve nature’s gift.
Alhaji Aro explained that arrangements had been concluded to enrol 5,000 applicants for the Project in different developmental areas with 4,000 of them focusing on farming the necessary plants as raw materials for traditional medicine.
The Director of Biomedicinal Research Centre, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan, Oyo State, Dr Ibraheem Lawal expressed optimism that the development of traditional medicine would help to reduce the nation’s reliance on orthodox medicines and allied products and preservation of the product would assist in standardizing operations in the sector.
In the lecture entitled, “Utilizing Biodiversity Conservation and the Development of Traditional Medicine for Massive Self-sustainable Employment Opportunities and National Economic Development” Dr Lawal appealed to government at all levels to scale up efforts in preserving natural resources to boost employment opportunities and promote economic sustainability.
Earlier, the National Coordinator of the Project, Mr Taoreed Adefolakan had maintained that all hands must be on deck in charting the path of generational rebirth in African biodiversity and traditional knowledge.