In a compelling Inaugural Lecture at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Prof. Elizabeth Oluwalana, an expert in Agricultural and Resources Economics, fervently cautioned against the detrimental practice of skin bleaching while championing the use of natural products to prevent skin diseases and sunburn, especially among the youth.
Delivering a lecture titled “Value-Addition to Agricultural And Forest Resources: Means For Herbal Therapy And Entrepreneurial Skills Development” at the Oluwafemi Balogun Ceremonial Building, Prof. Oluwalana underscored the pivotal role of indigenous knowledge in bolstering agricultural and forest resources for the production of herbal products.
Advocating economic sustainability and improved healthy lifestyles through value addition, Prof. Oluwalana discouraged the use of foreign cosmetics for skin enhancement, emphasising the superiority of natural products over bleaching agents.
In her address, Prof. Oluwalana proposed measures to reduce secondary production costs and boost export earnings, contributing to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
She highlighted the significance of leveraging enhanced technologies during bumper harvest seasons to add value to agricultural produce.
The Inaugural Lecturer emphasised the pivotal role of women in ‘agripreneurship,’ urging their active participation to generate additional income and enhance livelihoods. She suggested the formation of clusters and cooperative groups to provide funding, empowerment, and welfare packages for members.
Calling for collective support, Prof. Oluwalana sought backing from various stakeholders, including academics, corporate bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and individuals, to promote the use of traditional or indigenous knowledge, particularly in the manufacturing of herbal soap and medicinal plants.
Addressing the challenge of high labor costs in value-added processing, Prof. Oluwalana appealed for government intervention and incentives, such as subsidies for equipment and packaging.
While acknowledging Prof. Oluwalana’s dedication, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Babatunde Kehinde, highlighted her academic prowess, with over 48 publications in high-impact and reputable journals.
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