By Babajide Okeowo
The Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in Nigeria says precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases must include eating right.
The National Coordinator, Dr Olugbenga AdeOluwa, made the assertion at the organisation’s stakeholders’ forum in Abuja on Friday.
He said that consumption of organic and natural foods, vegetables and spices are effective in boosting immunity and aiding cure of some symptoms of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
AdeOluwa said that although researches had been carried out to find effective vaccines against the pandemic, eating organic food was very necessary.
The Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative is an African Union-led continental undertaking currently implemented in nine countries – Nigeria, Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
It is implemented under the guidance and oversight of the AU-chaired Continental Steering Committee to establish an African organic farming platform based on available best practices, and to develop sustainable organic farming systems and improve seed quality.
The EOA Initiative envisions achieving resilient and vibrant ecological organic agricultural systems for enhanced food and nutrient security and sustainable development in Africa.
AdeOluwa said: “Eating right starts with eating chemical-free foods as organic farming does not permit the use of substances that are foreign to nature.
“Organic agriculture does not allow the use of organisms or substances that are foreign to nature such as genetically modified organisms, chemical fertilisers, pesticides or food additives.
“Rather, it gives farms and animal life conditions that correspond to their ecological roles and allow them to display natural behaviour.’’
AdeOluwa urged Nigerian farmers to embrace organic system to enable them to access the benefits associated with it.
He identified the strengths of organic farming to include production of healthy produce.
“In organic farming, use of inputs that are hazardous to human health are avoided,’’ he said.
According to him, inputs are rather used with due regard to their implications on the health of consumers and the environment.
“Some of these benefits include improved health and nutrition.
“Organic farming causes little damage to the environment while reducing nutrient losses as well as erosion,” he said.
The coordinator added that organic farming cost less.
He said that research had shown the potential of organic spices to improve the body’s immune system.
“Several studies have shown that persons with strong immune systems are more likely not to be affected by the COVID-19.
“Even if they get infected, they have higher chances of surviving the attack, hence, the need to explore ways to build the body’s immune system,’’ he said.
He said that organic spices contained and maintained phytonutrients, which he described as plant compounds exhibiting the capacity to alter biochemical reactions and consequently influence human health.
“Crops, including spices grown using organic standards contain better combination of nutrients and phytonutrients than the ones grown in conventional systems,’’ he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that novel coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30, 2020.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced COVID-19 as the name for the disease on Feb. 11, 2020.