I am interested in rural devt, income generation with moringa tree – Grace Oluwatoye

Chief (Mrs) Grace Oluwatoye is the Managing Director of Ibadan-based Vidsa Multiventures Ltd, a food processing company established in 2001 specializing in the production of Moringa herbal tea, bean flour, soya bean powder and other staple food products. In this chat with Vanguard in Ibadan recently, the graduate of Public Health Administration and Master’s degree holder in Population Programme Management from the University of Exeter, UK, speaks on why Vidsa Multiventures Ltd. was born. Excerpts:

Interests:

According to Chief (Mrs) Grace Oluwatoye, her main interest is in rural development.

“Having been trained as a nurse-midwife, with over three decades’ experience in nutrition, nursing and development activities, I am interested in income generation using local products and in what our grandparents used in those days that made them look younger,” she said.

In the course of her search, she came across moringa popularly called miracle tree or tree of life because it is said to contain a lot of anti-oxidants, helps prevent skin cancer and also has a lot of vitamin-E which keeps the skin well nourished.

“Along the line, I stumbled on moringa plant and since then, we have done a lot and we have produced the Vidsamor moringa tea and powder which can increase longevity. It is particularly gratifying for me because I know that we need simple things that can make our people live longer, especially pregnant women and growing children. This nutrient-dense plant contains a lot of micronutrients that add value to life,” she said.

Products:

Speaking on some of their products, she said apart from moringa being good for the skin, it is also a means of creating jobs and adding value to life. She said; “I discovered that moringa prevents skin infections so it is very good for the skin, more so, we started encouraging production of moringa herbal soap, tea and powder so as to create jobs for the women, helping them to do better, things they normally do.

You know they produce black soap, just raw like that, so adding value is what will make life better for everybody and that was the thought behind it.”

On the moringa tea, the registered midwife-nurse who has worked in various organisations like United Nations Population Fund, EngenderHealth, Pathfinder International Nigeria, Oyo, Osun & Ondo governments, said Vidsa Multiventures Ltd seeks to promote the consumption of products which add significant health value to consumers.

“We utilise natural agricultural resources for our products through partnering with local farmers and backward integration,” she said.

Oluwatoye who is the founder of Lifebuilders, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, said Lifebuilders  was established because they believe that “the integration of health, non-formal education and agricultural services at the rural and semi-rural communities of Nigeria will ensure poverty alleviation; increase people’s quality of life and usher in sustainable development of the majority of people currently living below poverty line.”

Appeal:

The consultant to some Federal Government agencies such as Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), The Vision project, NACA, etc., appealed to government for more support. She stated; “I am appealing to government for more support to encourage people to buy products that are made locally as well as encourage entrepreneurs and producers with the necessary facilities to aid production so that we can meet up with international standards.”

She noted that although the research institutes are doing a lot of work “but most of the work they do are domiciled in their laboratories and factories. There should be more room for publications from time to time to tell us what is available and what people can benefit from them. These are the things I know will make our economy grow,” she concluded.

Interview by Ebele Orakpo and published in Vanguardngr.com

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