An agriculture expert, Mr Emmanuel Ibiang, has advocated the exploration of potential and benefits inherent in cassava leaves.
Ibiang, a cassava processor and producer, made this call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
He harped on the unlimited potential of cassava leaves, stressing the need to create awareness of its benefits.
“Cassava leaves have lots of untapped potentials.
“It has a lot of vitamins, especially Vitamin D and folic acid.
“The leaves also have antibiotic effects when applied on the skin.
“Most Nigerians have not come to a realisation of the potential of cassava leaves.
“By setting up journals, we have tried to intimate people on its benefits.
“Some local farmers are actually aware of the contents and potential of cassava leaves but have not leveraged on it because they feel there is no market for it.
“However, if there is right awareness on the potential of cassava leaves, farmers will stop throwing them away after harvest,’’ the expert told NAN.
Ibiang noted that a huge market could be created for the leaves, thereby earning extra income for the farmers.
He also called for more research and urged the government to empower farmers toward boosting the productivity and processing of cassava leaves.
“If we create a market for cassava leaves and people get to consume and use them, we will be able to process it and make it available to Nigerians as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and even vegetables.
“We need to do more research and explore the potential inherent in cassava leaves.
“The government can help us by empowering farmers, who already have in-depth knowledge on the potential of cassava leaves.
“If there is enabling environment for processing cassava leaves, we can actually do it ourselves,’’ Ibiang said.