By Ayo Akinfe
(1) I am sure you are all tired of hearing about how Nigeria is sitting on several goldmines but alas refuses to tap into their potential. Do you know Nigeria’s is the world’s 10th largest guava producer with an annual crop of about 800,000 tonnes?
(2) As usual, we have not exploited this crop as there are very few if any guava plantations in Nigeria. Our fruits tend to grow in the wild, with no planned production programme as they have in other producers like India, Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil, etc
(3) Let us leave the wider economic potential of guava to one side for a minute and not mention the mullions of dollars we are throwing away by not canning this fruit, producing juice from it or exporting it as fresh produce. Do we realise that it is now being touted as potential source of a coronavirus vaccine?
(4) Dr Ari Fahrial Syam, an internist at the University of Indonesia, recently revealed that hesperidin, myricetin, luteolin and casuarinin, all of which can be found in red guava have the potential to treat Covid-19
(5) He pointed out that results of bioinformatics research showed that compounds contained in guava could prevent, or at least reduce, the impact of the infection. As we speak, research teams from the University of Indonesia and Bogor Institute of Agriculture are currently seeking support from pharmaceutical firms to mass-produce a guava-based drug
(6) Irmanida Batubara from Indonesia’s Bogor Institute of Agriculture, added that hesperidin could protect the body from microbes and viruses. Apart from guava, he said hesperidin compounds could also be found in orange peels. No doubt, several tropical nations are looking into a host of fruits to see which will produce this wonder coronavirus drug
(7) Now, several Nigerian traditional medicine practitioners have suggested they can produce Covid-19 remedies but none of them is working with any of our universities to conduct proper research into their products. Likewise, they are not courting any pharmaceutical company to convert their findings into a drug with recommended dosages
(8) In the case of guava for instance, do we know that its leaves are also very beneficial for our well- being? They contain vitamin C and flavonoids such as quercetin. Guava leaf tea has been used in many parts of the world for its medicinal properties as it consists of compounds which restrict the absorption of two types of sugars – Sucrose and maltose, therefore helping in controlling blood sugar levels
(9)Guava leaf tea also helps fight Type Two diabetes, a disease associated with a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone produced by pancreas cells and resistance to it has been linked with weight gain by many studies
(10) Let us take the bull by the horn and stop waiting for the government to do everything for us. Many of you my friends are academics and many of you are farmers. Which of you university academics or guava farmers is prepared to take the bulls by the horn on this one?