Cocoanut, mushroom can change farmers’ fortune ― Maurice Iwu

THE former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, on Monday, postulated that four specific crops in Nigeria could change farmers’ fortune if they concentrate and develop them in commercial quality.

He said Cocoanut, Mushroom, as well as Hibiscus Sabdariffa and Neem Tree,  are economically viable if the farmers do it well.

Professor Iwu, who is a Professor of Pharmacognosy, with investment in pharmaceutical industries spoke at the inauguration of 10 agricultural commodities in Abuja.

He further explained why farmers should reap the opportunities that abound in the crops

According to him, my first interest is on the neem tree (dogoyaro). We have four organic farms, and without the neem tree, you can’t do organic agriculture.

“Our second interest is on the mushroom. I have a major interest in a pharmaceutical company and we developed a product that is supposed to replace people having to take thermotherapy when they have cancer and so on. So, we are very interested in mushroom, a particular type of mushroom we call Ganoderma, which the mushroom association cultivates. We have developed a product called immunovite, which is used for cancer treatment. So, you can see that I have a vested interest in the work of this association,” he explained.


Professor Iwu listed the third crop as hibiscus sabdariffa, commonly known as zobo, saying: “not many of you know that the biological activities of that particular plant are as good as the artificial anti-hypertensive drugs you take. And we have a product in the market, which is used for the treatment of hypertension based on hibiscus (zobo).”

On the fourth crop, the former INEC boss said he had an even greater interest in coconut production. “Cocoanut is more expensive and more valuable than oil. It can outclass petroleum anytime, any day. We are interested in that commodity because from it we are able to prepare a fermented dissolved carbon dioxide and a product for promoting the growth of useful intestinal bacteria.

“But more importantly, recently we conducted successful clinical trials with Nnamdi Azikiwe University, where we have coconut, zobo and some other plants, which is now found to be very useful as a treatment for peptic ulcer. We used what we call the triple antibiotic formula, but now, because of coconut, you don’t need to have that triple antibiotic,” he added.

He said he had worked closely with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to standardise 15 Nigerian plants, which he advised farmers and members of the agricultural commodities associations to adopt to reach a wide market.

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