The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) has called for adequate promotion of telfaria (ugu) and ocimum (scent leaf) for their economic importance. Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, the Chief Executive Officer of NIHORT made the call on Thursday at Uburu, Ohaozara LGA of the state during a three-day training for farmers in the area on the planting and usage of the horticultural commodities.
Olaniyan noted that Nigeria has comparative advantage in the production of both commodities and should therefore be adequately promoted for optimum utilisation by the people. “Telfaria is an important leaf and seed vegetable that is of high demand and widely eaten in Nigeria. “It is highly nutritional, medicinal and has industrial values, rich in protein, fat, minerals and vitamins.
“The commodity has a high production and marketing prospect within and outside Nigeria as the seeds are high in essential amino acids comparable to Soya bean meal,” he said. The NIHORT boss noted that the telfaria leave contains about 30 per cent protein and a high percentage of non-drying oil.
“Ocimum leaves and stems are used in the treatment of cold, fever, headaches, flatulence, post-partum problems, impotence, diarrhoea, dysentery, post-partum problems, worms, among others. “It possesses strong anti-viral, anti-microbial and antioxidant properties due to the presence of compounds such as ethanol, vicenin and orientin.
“It is also used to treat stomach disorders such as intestinal gas, stomach pains and loss of appetite and can control sugar levels, remedy for diabetes,” he said. He noted that NIHORT had the mandate to conduct research into genetic improvement, production, processing, utilisation and marketing of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, among others.
Okorie represented by Mr Ernest Ominyi, urged the trainees to take the training seriously as NIHORT has assembled ‘egg-heads’ to educate them in the production and usage of the commodities. “You should ask questions on areas that you do not understand as the entre value chain process of the commodities will be effectively discussed,” he said. Mrs Cynthia Ominyi, a participant at the training thanked NIHORT for organising the programme and pledged to judiciously utilise the acquired knowledge.