Coronavirus, Lassa Fever: Eat Insects To Boost Your Body Defenses - Don tells Nigerians - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Coronavirus, Lassa Fever: Eat Insects To Boost Your Body Defenses - Don tells Nigerians

Prof. Segun Lawal

From Godwin Akomah,
 Southwest Bureau

An Entomologist( expert in insects study) Prof. Olusegun Lawal has advised Nigerians to eat insects regularly not only as better alternative source of protein to cow meat, but also because of their immune boosting potential against infectious diseases such as Coronavirus and Lassa fever.

Lawal said though an enhanced body immune system which comes with eating edible insects, would not prevent Coronavirus, Lassa fever and other infectious diseases but will ensure that one is not "knocked down" if infection occurs.

He spoke with reporters on Tuesday at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ogun State,  while answering questions regarding the medicinal and therapeutic merits of insects shortly after delivering the institution's 94th Inaugural lecture.

He said that if Nigerians adopt insects as alternative source of protein, it would help tàckle the perennial herders - farmers clashes, noting that "insects are relatively easy to harvest all year - round and excellent sources of protein, vitamins, fats and essential minerals."
He said should there be a paradym shift from cow meat to insects consumption, it 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 unprofitable business decision to take.

He identified grasshopper, crickets, flying termites, palm weevil, beetle, caterpillars, honey bees, ants among others which are rich pool of balanced diet, offering better and cheaper nutritional values than cow or other livestock.

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 because of the crucial and far reaching power of the media to influence consumption pattern.

In his lecture titled, "Insects : The Perceived Enemies With Veritable Vaults of Resources," he submitted that 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,  with extensive  research knowledge 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, dizziness 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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