From Chidi Asonye, Aba
Food wastes recycling remains the only panacea for better nutrition and good health in the absence of the use of food pyramids as obtainable in western world, a Professor in the College of Applied Food Sciences and Tourism, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Gregory Ikechukwu Onwuka, has said.
The Professor of Food Science and Technology made this disclosure while presenting the 35th inaugural lecture of the university, entitled: ‘Food Wastes in the Harness: The Cyclic Journey of Food Security, Better Nutrition and Good Health’.
He said, “Wastes arising from our food preparations and processing carry with them, enormous essential nutrients required for our healthy living. When these wastes are left untapped to fortify our foods, the outcome can be disastrous. It is possible to harness the vital nutrients in the food wastes such as minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals using simple technologies”.
While insisting that food security in the country cannot be adequately addressed without evolving simple innovative technologies that can be easily introduced to the resource-poor farmers in the rural areas, the don posited that the food can also serve as medicine by harnessing some of the naturally endowed medicinal plants in the environment.
Speaking further, Onwuka stressed the need for an effective education by government and institutions on the importance of eating right for healthy living, arguing that majority of Nigerians are sick due to their eating habit.
He insisted that the nutritional impact of hidden hunger should be amplified by Nigerian government and food professionals to enlighten the citizens on the cause of many ailments they are suffering, including high blood pressure and diabetes, among others.
“Food security in Nigeria can only become possible when government and industrialists become seriously involved in harnessing the results of many years of research outputs wasting in various universities bookshelves as well as transforming them into large scale business outfits,” he averred.
In his remarks, Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Francis Otunta described the topic of the lecture as apt, especially at the time when the country is battling to come out of food insecurity.