Stakeholders raise concerns over scarcity, conservation –


Farmers stop cultivation because of unprofitableness – Adecoy
There is growing concern in the agricultural sector due to the gradual disappearance of wrapping leaves, which is due to its inadequate cultivation. This gave rise to a market deficit.

Two sheets, commonly called Ewe Eran (Thaumatococcus Danielli) and Ewe Gbodogi (Megaphrynium Macrostachyum), are two different types of plants that are commercially exploited by local farmers and traders. In Igbo, they are called Uma leaves.

Although some local users could identify two types of leaves, many do not see a difference, since they are similar to one another and practically fulfill the same goal, mainly for packaging food and other items.

The leaves are two important African genus Marantaceae, a family of perennial, sweetened herbs from the Order of Flowering Plants Zingiberales, which are widespread in tropical forests and coastal areas of West and Central Africa, but have also been introduced in Australia and Singapore.

Each leaf grows individually on a stalk from the ground, rather than on a stem with several leaves, as one would expect.

Studies show that whether cultivated or in the wild nature of the leaves affect the economy of the rural population in the southern parts of the country, through its stems, leaves, fruits and rhizomes.

It turned out that the economic, food and medicinal potential of non-timber forest products has yet to be fully explored. For example, in areas where the plant is flourishing, the leaves are used to pack products and stems into the houses of the straw. It was found that the leaves can be used as a source of non-wood fibers and in animal feed that has yet to be studied.

The plant grows three to four meters in height and has large, paper leaves up to 46 centimeters long. In its native assortment, the plant has a number of applications, in addition to flavoring. Strong leaf petioles are used as tools and building materials, the leaves are used to wrap food, and the leaves and seeds have a number of herbal uses.

From the phytochemical analysis it can be deduced that the leaves are rich in flavonoid, alkaloids, saponin, tannins anthraquinones and a steroid. Therefore, in addition to its popular use for packaging products, the plant can also be used in phytomedicine, animal feed, animal feed and food industry.

These leaves are good for food packaging, for cooking such as moin moin (bean pudding), Ogi (corn starch), eco (corn starch), rice Odada, adun, fufu, eba, amal, crushed yams and ebiripo. It takes skill to place the bean paste in carefully folded leaves and make sure that when the wrap is placed in a pot into a steam, it does not flow. From the study, moin moin, cooked with a shell for tempering, is better than one made from foil, milk tin, nylon, aluminum cups and other packaging materials.

In addition to taste, it also prolongs the shelf life of food. From the study, the eko can remain fresh in the wrapper for seven days, but when it is wrapped in nylon, it hardly takes four days until the color changes.

The fact that these leaves contain a sweet protein, called thaumatin, explains why steamed foods have a better taste.

For many, this is not known, now it is a money spinner as an export commodity based on high demand in the international market. learned that leaves are in great demand in the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries, a window of opportunities that agricultural exporters use.

But, despite its advantages and potential, there are fears that the plant may soon disappear. It was found that some farmers who grow the plant until the end of the 1990s have abandoned this for other crops that bring more income.

As in the state of Ogun, where the leaves thrive in the past, only a few farmers still grow it. visited two such farms in Arigbacho, the area of ​​the local council of Evekoro, and saw that, although the first farm was destroyed, due to lack of interest, the residential building moved to another farm.

The farmer, Mr. Dademu Aderoro, whose father cultivated both species before his death, linked the underutilization with its unprofitable nature.

He added that other factors contributing to the gradual disappearance of plants include low genetic variability compared to other plants, increased mortality, slower growth, unstable development and greater susceptibility to disease.

Aderoro, who expressed concern that if urgent measures were not taken to preserve the plant, he could disappear, called for conservative measures on the part of the government and other stakeholders to preserve the leaves.

The managing director / CEO of Bama Farms, Prince Wale Oyekoy, who confirmed the development, said that the leaves are disappearing because farmers are giving up their cultivation because it is not profitable.

The former chairman of the agricultural sector of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Lagos (LCCI) said that Nigerians, accustomed to leaves, now follow the tendency of Western countries to use nylons and foil, which is actually not very healthy, coupled with the fact that many people run away from the farm, which affects its cultivation.

He said: "It is not so profitable, because many people do not know about it, most of the places where it is used are rural areas, except for the situation when the leaves are used for wrapping products and they are delivered to cities. If you are going to most parties in the cities now, you are unlikely to see where they use these local leaves; they use foil, nylons or aluminum plates.

Sincerely, farmers are really not recommended to grow these leaves, and its cultivation does not really bring them more money. What they do when growing acres of wrapping leaves will be small compared to when they grow vegetables, such as uh-huh and others. For me, it still comes down to the government about how they can encourage farmers to do something for the development of the sector.

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