From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has advised members of the public to be mindful of things they consume as food for healthy living.

Executive Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, gave the advice when he spoke at a workshop held in Port Harcourt, in Rivers State, on the topic, “My food is Africa.“

He noted that, for every region in the world, nature has provided the right crops that would help in maintaining the health of the people, their spirituality, culture and everything around them, and urged the Nigerian government to look into agriculture sector.

The executive director noted that when people depend on imported foods or food that is genetically engineered, then, they are exposing themselves to great risk, saying that they would lose the capacity to withstand health challenges.

Bassey said: “Food is not only meant for satisfaction, but also a means of treatment to the human body. Many times, we think food is neutral, just something you put in your belly and go off. But, food is not; food is more than that, food is life, food is culture and the people’s food system tells a lot about what the people are.

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“Without doubt, the decolonization of agriculture is the way towards the preservation of crop and animal varieties, rebuilding our food systems, thereby, recovering our culture.

“A decolonized agriculture invests on support systems for farmers, by providing extension services and upgrading rural infrastructure,
preserving local varieties, ensuring that farmers have access to land and funding research institutions to build a knowledge base on healthy soils and resilient indigenous crops, elevating the precautionary principle in biosafety issues, and outlawing harmful pesticides.

According to Bassey, decolonizing food system would “liberate our tongues and bring back forgotten tastes. It is the way to revive our cultures and bring back vibrancy into the lives of our rural communities.

“Agriculture would recover and play their roles in pollination, farmers will experience bumper harvests breaking the chains of import dependence.

He said a decolonized food system uncovers the falsehood of genetically engineered crops and urged the Nigerian government to look into agriculture sector by investing more in it and supporting the farming system for optimal food production.

“It will help to empower Nigerians economically and also help to solve the problem of climate change by having an agriculture that depends on nature.”