The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has warned members of the public to desist from indiscriminate felling of trees.
Mrs Heather Akanni, the Technical Adviser, Quality Control and Standardisation, Office of the Minister of Agriculture, gave the warning on Thursday, July 5, 2018 in Makurdi, Benue State, while speaking with newsmen.
Akanni said that indiscriminate felling of trees (deforestation) was causing more harm than good to the society because it destroyed valuable plants such as medicinal and stimulant plants.
She said that planting of more trees should rather be encouraged rather than indiscriminate cutting of trees.
Akanni said that even when it became necessary for some trees to be cut, arrangements should be made immediately to replace them.
The Executive Director, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Mr Adesola Adepoju, said that the institute would assist the Federal Government to achieve its quest for diversification from oil to other areas.
He mentioned exploitation of medicinal and stimulant plants.
Represented by the Deputy Head of Station, Mr David Bayo, Adepoju said that the essence was to reduce overdependence on oil.
The executive director said that Nigeria was blessed with a lot of medicinal and stimulant plants, saying that people should rise and make adequate use of the opportunity.
He said that medicinal and stimulant plants helped a lot in reducing the cost of health care and created employment because value was usually added to it.
Adepoju said that about 60 per cent of the Chinese population depended on medicinal and stimulant plants for health care in order to reduce cost.
Mr James Anbua, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Benue, said that investing in the plants would create value chain and attract foreign investments.
Anbua stated that investing in the plants would drive exports and boost the economy through agriculture as well as trade promotion.
“It is our desire that the medicinal plants sector is given due attention so as to attract international markets,’’ he said.
By Nicholas Dechi