A book, “Surviving COVID-19: The Neglected Remedy” has been launched in Lawra to educate and motivate people to grow and consume locally nutritious foods for improved health against the world’s deadliest disease.
The book; a mini barefoot guide for agroecology series, put together by the Natural Food Barefoot Guide Writer’s Collective 2020 for the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), was launched by the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD); a member of the Alliance.
The 30-page book is divided into five chapters namely; Chapter One “The best medicine to fight the Coronavirus”, Chapter Two “Nature’s food garden”, Chapter Three “Finding food for strong bodies”, Chapter Four “An African celebration of good food medicine” and Chapter Five “Food medicine from Africa for Africans”.
Launching the book, Mr Emmanuel Sasu Yeboah, the Upper West Regional Director of Agriculture, said the book brought to the fore simple, basic and common remedy for COVID-19 and related diseases that have been neglected in search of erudite remedies.
He said the book was not only written in simple English styled with picture illustrations that made reading and comprehension very easy, but it also contained indigenous knowledge of how to grow and utilize one’s own local and Natural ‘food medicine’ to boost immunity.
“All these as you can see are grown or produced locally. We’re here to simply emphasize the need to grow and utilize our local foods,” he said.
The African Locust Beans (Dawadawa), Ackee Apple fruit, moringa, Alefu, bitter leaves, banana, plantain, cassava, areal yam, sweet potato, Kestin’s groundnut, pigeon pea, millet, sorghum, pawpaw, guava, onions, tomato, chili pepper, lima bean, ginger, tiger nuts, mushrooms and many other neglected local foods with high interest and medicinal values,” Mr Yeboah listed.
He said the book also contained information about common symptoms and mode of spread of the COVID-19 as well as safety protocols for protection against the disease.
“The book is therefore extremely important and being unveiled at the right time,” the Regional Director of Agriculture said.
Mr Yeboah therefore assured that the Department of Agriculture in the Region would fully collaborate to make the vision contained in the book a reality.
Mr Bernard Guri, the Executive Director of CIKOD, said the impact of COVID-19 on Africans was minimal as compared to the west due to the nutritious and resilient local food systems.
He said emphatically that the African local food was medicine and Africans must not just be proud of that but actually take measures to promote the production of its local food varieties and consumption and reduce the heavy importation of western foods.
Mr Anthony Kulah, the Regional Nutrition Officer, noted that the type of food one eats determined his or her health status, advising that the local grains were more nutritious than processed foods.
Mr Daniel Banuoku, a Deputy Executive Director of CIKOD, noted that the barefoot guide was developed to address the sudden and growing taste for western food imported into Africa.
He said Africa fortunately had one of the most diverse food systems but unfortunately, what was eaten in various African homes was not as diverse as what they grow.
Mr Banuoku therefore called for the need to introduce diversity with regards to the local foods consumed in African homes to build stronger immunity amongst its people to continue to withstand COVID-19 and other diseases.
Madam Anita Suutha, the National Coordinator of the Rural Women Farmers Association of Ghana (RUWFAG), noted that local foods were very easy to prepare yet very nutritious.
“Don’t abandon your local food in the house and spend your money in buying imported food which is less nutritious,” she advised.
Madam Suutha called for the need to promote the local seeds which she said was more affordable and accessible to farmers especially women farmers.
CIKOD also used the opportunity to honour three farmers committed to the promotion of local seeds in the area.
They are Madam Theresa Kuntadaa, Theodilus Aanina and Mr Francis Gantier. They were presented with wellington boots and cutlasses to aid their farming activities.
Meanwhile, participants at the launching event including farmers; health and agric officials; and students among others, did not only have the opportunity to see various local seeds on exhibition but were also treated to some local foods on display at the grounds.
Various Departments and Institutions including Health, Agric, RUWFAG, nutrition unit, and the Nursing Training School in Lawra were presented 10 copies of the book, whilst each participant including students and farmers also took home a copy each.
Copies of the book which is being distributed free of charge will also be put at the Simon Diedong Sombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (SDD-UBIDS) Library and the Upper West Regional Library in Wa for the benefit of students and the general public.