CNN African Voices Fea­tures 3 Na­ture En­thu­si­asts

THISDAY - - NEWSXTRA -

African Voices, a mag­a­zine pro­gramme of the Ca­ble News Net­work (CNN) spon­sored by Globa­com, will this week fea­ture three Africans who ex­plore na­ture in di­verse ways. They in­clude Sam­son Og­bole, a Nige­rian who has de­vised rev­o­lu­tion­ary ways to sus­tain­ably get the most out of farm lands; Junior Ga­bela, a South African bird guide with an un­canny knowl­edge of fly­ing crea­tures, and An­gus Paul, a Kenyan who has turned fish­ing into a spec­tac­u­lar art.

The ful­crum of Og­bole’s re­search is that the fu­ture of health could only be se­cured if it was built on agri­cul­tural prac­tices that are healthy for the farmer, healthy for the con­sumer and healthy for the en­vi­ron­ment. His vi­sion is to en­sure that hu­mans “eat right, live longer” as well as “en­sure food is the drug we eat to live health­ier and longer”.

His firm “PS Nu­trac” now grows crops with­out us­ing soil. This, it does by de­ploy­ing sev­eral tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing hy­dro­pon­ics (plants in wa­ter), aquapon­ics (us­ing waste pro­duce of fishes to feed plants) and aero­pon­ics (plants grow­ing in air) to en­sure that crops are grown all year round and no longer sea­son­ally.

Og­bole’s in­ter­ven­tion may just be the right step for agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment in Nige­ria as he says that “plants grown with­out soil have higher phy­to­chem­i­cals and an­tiox­i­dants com­pared to those grown in soil.” He says the crops are also health­ier as there is re­duced use of in­or­ganic fer­til­izer, pes­ti­cides, fungi­cides or other agro­chem­i­cals on the crops. There are al­ready aero­pon­ics farms in Ibadan, Abuja, Umudike in Abia State and Araromi Ake in Ogun State.

Ga­bela on his own part is a site guide for Amatikulu Na­ture Re­serve, Nkandla For­est, Dlinza For­est, Eshowe, Mthun­zini, Richards Bay, On­goye For­est, and Um­lalazi Na­ture Re­serve in South Africa. He has a quiet pas­sion for bird­ing and an un­canny knack of lo­cat­ing even the most hard to find species. He has been a Birdlife South Africa ac­cred­ited guide since 2005 and has been guid­ing since 2000, and at the same time work­ing with the Wildlife and En­vi­ron­ment So­ci­ety of South Africa (WESSA) where he un­der­takes re­searches and par­tic­i­pates in school outreach pro­grammes.

The third guest on the pro­gramme, An­gus Paul, is a deep-sea fish­er­man. He dis­closes that he had wanted to be a fish­er­man since his child­hood on the North coast of Kenya where he was for­tu­nate to have world-class bill fish fish­ing right on his doorstep. “It also helped that my fam­ily ran one of the few char­ter com­pa­nies in the re­gion at the time. There were no favours of­fered, and I did my train­ing through the ranks like ev­ery­one else and be­came a skip­per more than 30 years ago’’, he adds.

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