Marking the 2019 HERBFEST 10th edition ceremony, the Imo State Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has assured the organizers of the programme; Bioresources Development Group ( BDG) of partnering with them in ensuring that herbal plants in State would be properly utilized.
The Governor represented by the Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona gave the assurance during the first day of the ceremony which had been programmed to hold from Tuesday 8th – 10th October, 2019 at the All Seasons Hotel in the state.
Irona who commended the President of the group, Prof. Maurice Iwu for his giant strides in ensuring the development of the organization, stated that it is the wish of the governor to partner with them in other to ensure the sustainability of the successes they had witnessed so far in the state.
He pointed out that the state government would ensure that the institute is not handled with levity as its potentials in developing among others the health sector, Agriculture sector, promoting job creation, tourism could not be over emphasized, adding that as a result of the numerous advantages, that they have accepted the organization’s request of making the state the host and hub of harvest of the herbal plants.
He assured that they would not just take cognizance of the herbs nature has bestowed on the state but would also relentlessly support in ensuring that they are properly harnessed, maintaining that they would partner and engage private investors, researcher and other private organizations in ensuring that the programme is sustained.
In his keynote address, the president of BDG, Prof. Iwu who expressed profound joy over the promise of the Governor, stated that the whole aim of the programme is to bring under one umbrella Agriculturist, research institutes, scientists, and herbalist that would invest in herbal medicine and encourage export of some of the medicinal plants in the state for wealth creation.
He state that Nigeria is yet to key into the programme or benefit from harnessing the herbal plant for the progress of the economy, adding that there are 14 plants such as Alligator pepper, Uziza, Silky kola, Turmeric, Scent leaf, Bitter kola, Bitter leaf, among others, which when properly developed would bring tremendous change in wealth of the country.
He pointed out that they have three major area of focus – to resuscitate the health sector, encourage use of organic fertilizers in the Agricultural sector and improve the internally generated revenues of the state alongside creation of jobs.
He expressed delight over the governor’s acceptance of allowing the state become the hub of their harvest, and called on the state government not to relent in ensuring that the programme is featured prominently in the developmental plans for the state.
The keynote lecturer and Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikwe University, Prof. Charles Esimone who spoke on the Topic “The Health and Wealth in our Forest: Our Herb, pointed out that the consumption of herbs is very essential as there are certain things it gives in the body that English medicine could not give, adding that among others, herbs are crude ass food, drugs, supplement and sliming agents.
Esimone opined that we could reduce the over dependence on crude oil money if the country would began identifying, valuing and harnessing the herbal plants in the country, revealing that not up to 10% of herbs we have in the forest are utilized.
He averred that to discover health and wealth we need to begin appreciating herbal products, learn about the plants, ensure the involvement of private sectors and research institutes and all other bodies in ensuring that the herbal plants are properly utilized in the country.