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Author Topic: These Secondary School Students Can Help You Stop Weevils Eating Your Grains  (Read 4699 times)
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Francis Umeoguaju
Expert in Bioscience Issues
Posts: 657

« on: March 30, 2012, 07:43:11 am »

NO country is without its own unique plant and mineral resources that will aid its development without much recourse to external influence. However, the extent to which such resources are harnessed, often determines the variances noticeable in the developmental rate in each of the countries.

Ise-Oluwa Montessori group of schools, one of the private secondary schools in Ibadan,  Oyo State, has not relented in its efforts to strike a balance in the relationship between plant science and human development. Recently, the Plant Science Research Club of the school conducted a research on the economic and health values of the eucalyptus. The school discovered that the eucalyptus tree can grow and flourish in every part of Nigeria, but its economic and health values have not been tapped into adequately. The General Coordinator of the school, Mrs. Motunrayo Olasebikan spoke to Whizzkidz during the week   about the college’s research findings on other health values of eucalyptus tree to humans.

The Eucalyptus, alternatively called Igi soro in Yorubaland, according to her, is a special  tree originally from Australia. “It is used for gum wood and the oil is used in medicine. This implies that eucalyptus is not poisonous. We also observed that the tree has some medical strength to control weevils. We are equally aware that some cough syrups and mints contain some quantity of eucalyptus. Based on this observation, we took our students to the forest in search of eucalyptus.  We brought some of the plants to school and started to work on it.  After a close examination of the plant, we discovered that it could be used to control weevils. Weevil is a small insect which feeds on grains and also destroys crops.

“Having discovered this, we went further to see how it could be made available for farmers and households in the society.  We gathered some eucalyptus plants, peeled, sun-dried and also pounded them into powder form,” he stated.
Speaking further, she said that the school bought fresh beans from the market, put them in three containers, and put two full table spoons of eucalyptus powder into one of  the containers, one table spoon into second bowl of the  beans and left the third container without the Eucalyptus powder.

“A year after, we discovered that the beans with one spoon of  eucalyptus powder had little weevils, the one with   two spoons of  was weevil-free, while the container without the preservative was destroyed by weevils.
“We therefore concluded that Eucalyptus could be used to preserve beans, yam tuber and other grains  against weevils.  Our research has proved that Eucalyptus is not poisonous, since  some cough syrups and mints contain some quantity of it. Meanwhile, Eucalyptus is not expensive to get.  All we need do is to get the tree, remove the back, and grind them to powder form.  This is an opportunity for farmers, to embrace the  use Eucalyptus to preserve their product against weevils. The beans sellers can also use it. One and half  kilogrammes of eucalyptus powder can be used  to preserve one bag of beans for about two years”, she said.

Some of the students who spoke with Whizzkidz about the eucalyptus tree tasked the government, farmers and all the stakeholders in the agricultural sector to adopt the use of eucalyptus plant to control weevils. They also called on government to invest in the plantation of eucalyptus in the country  because of its economic and health values.
Two of the students; Olubode Olufemi and Akande Nicodemus stated that the proprietor of the school had earmarked special fund for research, especially on plant science.  They reiterated that Eucalyptus is the best preservative for grains  against weevils.

Similarly, Ikechukwu James and Abdulsalam Sekinat asserted that the research was thorough and the findings after a year on the use of Eucalyptus was very positive. “In Nigeria, we do not have a very good grain preservative method. So, many  of our farmers use poisonous chemicals to preserve beans and some other grains thereby leading to death of many  people. Sometimes, they sun-dry their grains to drive away all these weevils before packing them, yet the method is  not effective. With this latest development, we can reduce  death rate caused by food poisoning arising from unhygienic  method of preservation,   by using Eucalyptus.

“Also, families can make use of the eucalyptus  to preserve their grains at home. It is not poisonous, moreover, once the grain is washed, the eucalyptus powder will come off the grain”, they said.

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