An unexpected large turnout at a Wednesday scheduled meeting in the proposed Moringa value-chain, compelled the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, to cancel the exercise.
The cancellation became necessary as the venue was too small for the crowd and it was impossible to maintain the COVID-19 safety protocol of safe social distancing.
The meeting was convened to set up Constitution Drafting Committee for a proposed National Moringa Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria to bring together all Moringa-related associations.
Announcing the decision to cancel the meeting, Deputy Director, Commodities, at the ministry, Kaura Irimiya, said it did not envisage the kind of turnout it witnessed, otherwise a larger hall would have been arranged.
He said the minister sent in an observer to the meeting and asked that the meeting be cancelled due to non-compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
“We did not envisage the large turnout and because of COVID-19 safety protocols, none of us is safe here.
“The minister has sent some people to come and observe the meeting and they asked me to tell you that this meeting cannot continue.
“We are going to invite you later but we are going to do it by zonal representation,’’ Irimiya told attendees.
After the cancellation, president of Eden Moringa Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, Michael Ashimashigha, said he was in support for safety reasons.
He said the Moringa association became necessary to examine what farmers were producing and to ensure that they were carried along.
“What happened here is that it got to a point that the meeting had to be postponed due to lack of coordination.
“We have people that have been invited from all over the country to set up a committee that will draft a Constitution of the association.
“When you are drafting a Constitution of any association, you must have the stakeholders; those who have registered companies and registered associations.
“There will be those who have the product, not just middlemen or any kind of people picked from the streets,’’ he noted.
Mr Ashimashigha said the ministry was right in cancelling the meeting because the hall was too small to host the number of persons that came for the meeting.
“Eden Moringa Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society for instance has 36 state coordinators, six zonal coordinators, just as other groups have their coordinators.
“With the number of people in the hall and regarding the Covid-19 protocol, this meeting cannot hold. It is good that the government cancelled the meeting, we are happy with that,’’ he stressed.
Moringa leaves are taken for their believed medicinal properties in addressing arthritis and other joint pains, asthma, cancer, constipation, diabetes and diarrhoea.
Consumers also believe that Moringa is effective in the treatment of seizures, stomach pain, stomach and intestinal ulcers, intestinal spasms, headache, heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney stones and symptoms of menopause. (NAN)