Coronavirus: Varsity Don Advises Nigerians To Eat Insects To Boost Immune System - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Coronavirus: Varsity Don Advises Nigerians To Eat Insects To Boost Immune System

Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji
ABEOKUTA - Prof. Olusegun Lawal, an entomologist expert has advised Nigerians to eat insects regularly to boost man's body immune system against infectious diseases such as Coronavirus, Lassa fever among others.

Lawal equally said eating of insects serves as better alternative source of protein to meat beef, but also because of their great potential to human body. 

He explained that, though, an enhanced body  immune system which comes with consuming diets rich in insects, would not prevent Coronavirus, Lassa fever and other infectious diseases but will ensure that one is not "knocked down" if infection occurs.

He stated this at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ogun State, while fielding questions on the medicinal and therapeutic values of insects shortly after delivering the institution's 94th Inaugural lecture yesterday.

He said that if Nigerians adopt insects as alternative source of protein, it would help address herders - farmers clashes, the attendant losses and security implications on the health of the country, adding that "insects are relatively easy to harvest all year - round and excellent sources of protein, vitamins, fats and essential minerals."

He noted that a paradym shift from beef to insects consumption, would trigger low or absence of demand for beef which will in turn, makes cattle grazing in locations where market for beef does not exist, an unwise economic or business decision to take.

He cited grasshopper, crickets, flying termites, palm weevil, beetle, caterpillars, honey bees, ants among others as rich reservoir of balanced diet and commanding better and cheaper nutritional values than cow or other livestock.

He said given the crucial and far reaching power of the media to influence consumption patterns, the Entomologist urged the nation's media to champion the cause for adequate consumption of edible insects as well as large scale farming or rearing of insects in the country.

And delivering his lecture titled, "Insects : The Perceived Enemies With Veritable Vaults of Resources," he said the "controversial and divisive RUGA initiative" proposed in the country would be most unnecessary if all Nigerians support insects eating.

The Professor who is the Dean, Faculty of Science,OOU, and had conducted extensive  researches on insects in the Southwest of Nigeria, their uses and management, said there are 17 identifiable species of insects, one species of arachnida,  three species of mollusca and crustacea which were being used as herbal remedies for 'Thunderbolts,' mental illness and protection against wicked people.

He said: "Insects are also an excellent food source. The bigger the livestock, the more food, land space and water required to produce the final edible product resulting in higher greenhouse gas emission.

"This advocates the need to embrace entomophagy(insects eating). A cow consumes 8kg of feed to produce 1kg of beef but only 40% of the cow is available for human consumption whereas crickets only require 1.7kg of food to produce 1kg of meat and 80% of is considered edible.

"They are richer in protein, fat, mineral, fibre and vitamin contents, making them a cheap balanced diet for humans. The green benefit of insects is very high. For example, they are fed less but produce more food when compared  to cow and other livestock. They emit less greenhouse gas and ammonia than other livestock and require less land for cultivation.

"There is need to initiate an insect rearing programme on a national scale in Nigeria. Therefore, farming of insects should be employed as way of promoting entomophagy (eating of insects) in Nigeria.

" Rural Grazing Area(RUGA), the controversial, divisive initiative which is aimed at dispossessing legitimate landowners of a section of the country of their inheritance, will be most unnecessary if we all pledge our support  for entomophagy.

"We should understand that what we Perceive as pests or enemies could actually be veritable vaults of resources that could be used to achieve the first three of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) namely: No poverty, zero Hunger, Good Health and Well - Being."

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