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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

TOMATO BLOCKAGE: SLUMBERING SOUTHWEST AWAKENS

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Olufemi Kusahttps://olufemikusa.com
I am first a journalist and a Nature Doctor and I am delighted to share with you right on my site the latest discovery news straight from the herbal health world to turn the gaze of health seekers away from man-made poisonous drugs to healing medicines of Mother Nature anchored in the eternal Will of God. Whatsapp: 08094226112 / 08034004247 Call: 08116759749/08034004247

I AM only a few steps away from becoming a member of Nigeria’s TOMATO farming REVOLUTION. I do not know as yet how many of us would be in the Tomato Army. But I guess we would number millions, perhaps more millions than the conservative 1.3 million Nigerians who now people CHYMALL e-commerce. I can confirm to you, though, that two women I have known since the 1970s will be members of this revolution. One of them is MRS COMFORT OBAYUWANA, the ulticulturists and herbs grower who is known nationwide as “Madam flower”. The other is MRS BEATRICE OLOYEDE, a chicken, pig and fish farmer who, like Mrs Obayuwana, has placed my hands and my household’s on the plough. I was a member of the maize growing GOLDEN FARMERS COOPERATIVE, which, along with about 100 other co-operatives in the Anchor Borrowers Project, was poised to turn Aiyetoro, Ogun State, into a super corncity. But the cows came, ate up the farm without compensation or apology and sent every farmer home, penniless.

The Tomato Revolution was caused by the food embargo which cattle herders and food crop growers in Northern Nigeria imposed on Southern Nigeria late last month. If my memory serves me right, it was the second time in Nigeria history that food embargo will be imposed on a region of the country. The first time was during the 1966-70 civil war, when the rest of Nigerian denied the seceeding Eastern region(Biafra) local and international access to food to make its soldiers hungry and weak, and, therefore, unable to fight on. Nigeria won the war. The Northern food embargo last month was for another reason, though with a tendency for the same effect. The herders said they were been hounded in the south and had lost cows and men. The northern food growers said the civil anti-SARS protest nationwide of young Nigerian which was hijacked by hoodlums and made violently caused them economic reverses. Both groups demanded compensation of #450 billion from the Federal Government as a substitute for the embargo. They went ahead with their plans when the government did not oblige their request. Back in the south, there was anger, as foods scarcity erupted and starvation loomed large in the skyline. Food prices were skyrocketed. Many southerners wondered while the northern herders and the northern food growers could not appreciate the fact that the protest against police brutality which they said caused them losses aroused from the savagery of the Nigerian police under an Inspector General who came from the north. They also thought the riots caused economic losses in the south. They wondered why the Federal Government, rather than the insurance industry, should make compensation for losses. The embargo also opened the eyes of the south to the fact that, over the decades, it had become dependent on the north for food. The saving grace for a rethink in the north which led to the embargo been called off was the threat by Niger Delta militants that they would blow up pipelines from the Niger Delta which supply petrol to the north. Before then, the herders and the crop growers had discovered they took a wrong decision for their businesses, but they lacked the will to pull back from the brink. The prices of tomato, onions and other foodstuffs collapsed in the north under a glot because the northern population, often said to be bigger than the southern population for electoral purposes, was not big enough to purchase those products.

The dominant question these events have thrown up in the South is: how did we become dependent on the north for food when we, too, produced food before independent in 1960 and shortly after? The other questions which followed into, together with the first, have popped up many farming revolutions ideas in the southwest in particular.

Incidentally, it is southwestern women who are leading the food growing revolution to call the northern bluff. They have put out several videos calling for a food armament. One of says:
“I am Mrs Tade Wemimo, a recipient of the best female farmer of the year Award in Ondo state in 2004. How can we plants crops and vegetables in the compound? It will solve the problem of lack of food and farmland to cultivate. We plant yams in bags and vegetables on it to serve as munching in the dry season. We planted 400 bags of yam and we are still planting more, and we plant water yam also. It is interesting to note that we used rope for staking instead of looking for sticks. This is easy and convenient. There are lots of crops we can plant with bags, for example, vegetables, peppers, tomatoes etc. With this method, I believe we can liberate ourselves from the dependency on the northern lands for all our foodstuffs”. For more information please call 08034754122.

In the video, another woman who did not name herself shows of the crops she planted with bags and says: “No be yam seedlings na im we use ooo…..na the one wey we dey chop for house, de cut cut from yam na im we take plant dis one and na the small small yams na im dey sweet so. And we no quick plant ooo, yet we still get dis kind harvest. If anybody tell me say him dey hungry, go plant your yam now ooo…so go use bags take plant your yam and other crops. We still get yam wey we never harvest, and we no sey we go still get plenty and big ones”.

TOMATO REVOLUTION

Like millions of other revolutionaries, I am instructed by leaders of this campaign to obtain no fewer than 100 empty bags of cement that have been washed clean. In the market, each of these bags sells for #50(fifty naira only). Each bag is to be filled with black, fertile soil. Tiny holes are to be punched in the bottom for drainage. Tomato seeds are planted in them all. In the backyard of a residential building, they may be well arranged in rows. Every morning before sunrise and every evening after sunset, the plants are watered from a sprinkler. The water may be mixed with a soil-enriching natural formula such as the proprietary GNLD SUPER GROW. Households who do this have no need to buy tomatoes from the food market. In many cases, several tomatoes may become vine-ripened at the same time, causing fear of possible wastage. The fear is legitimate as such wastages are a major problem of Nigeria’s agriculture.

The Tomato Revolution has a way around this. That way is natural preservation through freeze-drying. In freeze-drying, a machine for the purpose must be acquired beforehand. It may be a domestic brand or semi-industrial. The job of the machine is to remove the water content of the tomato, which is about ninety per cent, and turn the remainder into powder. When the powder is rehydrated with about ninety parts water, say one or two years later, the liquid or puree tastes and smells natural as though the tomato was freshly picked from the vine. From cultivation to harvest, tomato needs just about two months. Excess tomato powder may be vacuum-packed and stored or sold to neighbours who have no facility to join the revolution. This way, the brains behind this campaign believe the southwestern region of Nigeria will save itself from not only being dependent on the northern part of Nigeria for such crops as tomato and onion but tubers such as yam and potato as well. I have seen single yam tuber grown in cement bags. Some are almost half of the size of the bag and have no fertilizer issues to the bargain!

BEFORE NOW

I am a tomato lover. Long before I slowed down on red meat and finally gave it up, I substituted tomato for flesh food. When I boil rice or make a concoction of rice or boiled beans, I dip about four ripened tomatoes for about two minutes before I turned the gas off. Parboiling gives the tomato an addictive, sweet taste. I do not expect too much Vitamin C from this treatment. But parboiling compensates me with Lycopene, a plant chemical abundant in tomato and required by the prostate gland to keep healthy. Eating tomato raw maximizes the availability of Vitamin C. But parboiling it opens up the cell walls to cause the release of Lycopene. Thus, anyone who is after both nutrients from tomato may go for about four tomatoes in a meal, take two raw and two parboiled.

CONTENTS

Tomato is a rich source of many nutrients, including Lycopene, one of the 600 or so carotenoids, which has been associated with lower risks of heart disease and cancer, particularly of the prostate gland. It is a good source of Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate, Vitamin K, Calcium, small amounts of Vitamin B complex, carbohydrates, fibre, protein and many other nutrients. Vitamin C in medium-sized tomato is believed to supply about twenty-eight per cent of adults daily need. Potassium supports healthy blood pressure and a healthy heart. Vitamin K1(phylloquinone) helps the blood clotting factor and bone health. Folate, needed especially by pregnant women, is required for normal tissue growth and cell function. Lycopene is the red pigment. The more red the tomato skin is, the more Lycopene it has. The yellow or orange colour of some tomato specie is given by Beta Carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A for good vision, healthy skin and immunity-boosting.
Naringenin, another antioxidant, occurs in tomato skin and fights inflammation. Chlorogenic acid, another antioxidant, may help to lower blood pressure.

CAUTION

The only health problem we may associate tomato with is what all members of the NIGHTSHADE family are guilty of….they may cause or worsen arthritis and gouts in some persons. This family is also called the SOLANACEAE family and includes several vegetables including potato, tobacco, belladonna, eggplants, peppers(chilli pepper, cayenne, bell, tobacco, Goji-berry, tamarillo) etc. There are about 3,000 members of this family known for their flowers of five petals, sepals, and alternative leaves. Toxic substances run through the plants, concentrated mostly in the roots. They cause delirium and hallucination.

BENEFITS

Do not mind that lone dark spot of tomato being a member of the Nightshade Family. It has lots of compensating health benefits.

VISION

We know the Beta Carotene in tomato converts to Vitamin A which prevents night blindness and deterioration of delicate eye structures. We know, too, that, without adequate amounts of Zinc, the eyes cannot efficiently and effectively absorb Vitamin A let alone use it. What many people do not know is that the leaves of the tomato plant are equally good for good vision. Dr H.K.Bakhru says in his FOODS THAT HEAL that when a handful of the freshly picked leaves are soaked in hot water and the strained water is drunk before a meal three times daily, the eyes and the optic nerves receive a rejuvenating tonic.

PROSTRATE GLAND

The Lycopene in the red of the tomato is good news for men with prostate gland challenges. That is why it features in many proprietary herbal formulas for prostate gland health. Many studies say that Lycopene effectively suppresses the progression and proliferation of cancer cells while, at the same time, its induces apoptosis(cell suicide) among these cells. In www.nature.com we learn: “of nearly 50,000 men, 812 developed prostate cancer. Of the dietary variables measured, including alpha and beta carotene, only Lycopene was associated with a decreased risk of twenty-one per cent of prostate cancer. In this study, high intake of tomatoes and tomato products accounting for eighty-two per cent of Lycopene intake reduced the total risk of prostate cancer by thirty-five per cent and of high-grade cancer by fifty-three per cent”.

LUNAR EFFECTS

We cannot talk about the tomato without talking about its being a moon plant, and the effects this has on human health. Plants are governed by one cosmic body or more. Thus, some plants are either sun or moon plants or incline to both and in varied proportions. In astrology, we know specific stars governed specific organs of the body and that the plants they governed heal the organs they governed as well. It is like these stars, plants and organs belong to one family. In Mellie Uyldert’s THE PSYCHIC GARDEN, the tomato is presented along with the Nightshade vegetables as a moon plant. “All water-rich plants are true children of the moon, such as the cucumber, pumpkin, melon and those living on the water such as the Water Lily etc and on the bank such as the WILLOW and the plants with half-moon-shaped leaves or oval leaves”, says Mellie Uyldert. She adds: “In man, moon plants promote the creation and flow of fluids, such as the operation of glands, menstruation, the exception of urine and sweating. That is why cucumber juice is good for promoting better circulations during a woman’s menopause. Climbing moon plants twist to the left and can be recognized by that. Those that turn to the right is of the sun. In man, moon plants can be used for ailments(chickweed against convulsion), for the memory(cashew nuts), as curved as the horned moon, and for children at school. Climbing Papilionsceae can be a great tonic to the nervous system and, as a food crop, extremely nutritions(beans). Vetches can be used against infertile paralysis, Nox vomica to strengthen the nerves”.

Some of these herbs need a little introduction. Cashew nuts are loaded with more phosphorus and Magnesium than other edibles. The brain cells stock a lot of potassium phosphate and Magnesium phosphate salts. The role of Lycopene in prostate gland health has already been mentioned. Willow, a moon plant has been used for ages to shrink the enlarged prostate gland to improve the easy flow of urine, thereby confessing itself as a moon plant useful especially in fluid excretions.

LUNAR FARMING

Space does not permit mention of how planting tomato during the different phases of the moon may bring bigger crop sizes and maturation for the table in 28 days instead of two months.

ACIDOSIS

Like lime, tomato may have an acid taste. But it ends up in alkaline ash. The acid taste comes from Malic acid, about 0.5%, and 0.52 to 1.81% citric acid, according to Dr Bakhru. These acid end up as either potassium and sodium carbonate, both of which are alkalinising. They help to neutralize excess urea, ammonia and phosphates. That is why it is recommended for acidosis and health conditions caused by excess acid in the body.

DIABETES

Like orange peel, Karela and other plants, tomato juice reduces urine and blood sugar levels.

URINARY STONES

Like Chanka Piedra, tomato juice taken early in the morning may help to break or to prevent kidney stones. This notion is based on the idea that Vitamin A and Vitamin C help to prevent the formation of stones which may flourish in cases of frequent urinary infections, especially when their Vitamins are scarce in the urinary system. As Chanka Piedra is now been used to break cataract of the eye lens, a sort of stone in the eye, I wonder if tomato juice as a stone breaker may also help to crack this problem.

CONCLUSION

There is a blessing in any adversity as our revisit to the health benefits of tomato has shown. We cannot recall all its health benefits for want of space. A priceless blessing of the food embargo of the northern food growers against the south of Nigeria is that it has woken from slumber the southwest in particular.

In Imo state about two weeks ago, I was gladdened by the news on the radio that 180,000, yes 180,000 young men have signed up for rabbit farming. The cholesterol-free meat of the rabbit should soon replace the cholesterol dense meat of the cow on eastern dining tables. Cash outflows from the east handled by cow dealers will remain in the east, and in the hands of young people whose material lives should become more prosperous. Kidnapping, cow rampages on cultivated farms, rape and murder on these farms, capped with food embargo, have pushed seeming underdogs to the mall and they are bouncing back not violently….but intelligently as this column always advocate.

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