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Medicinal plants are becoming extinct- says FORIG


The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana

(FORIG) has expressed its worry over the high rate at which medicinal

plants in the country were becoming extinct.
This development, according to the Institute, could have a

multiplying negative effect on the nation's bid to achieve a

breakthrough in the development of the health sector and traditional

plant medicine, if serious measures were not adopted to improve the

Dr. Ebenezer Owusu-Sekyere, a Senior Research Scientist at the

FORIG, said majority of Africans depended on traditional medicine for

their health care and that currently, the African continent has about

2,500 plants with medicinal purposes and properties.

He was speaking at a day's project workshop to brainstorm on the

conservation and the utilization of medicinal plants in Ghana at

Fumesua near Kumasi at the weekend.
The project is being executed under the auspices of the

International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) and being sponsored

by Switzerland, Japan and the United States of America (USA).

Dr. Owusu-Sekyere said, the project would be implemented in the

Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Western, Central and Eastern Regions and that

the FORIG had identified fifteen communities within these regions in

which the project would be effective.
He said the project looks at the critical importance of medicinal

plants in poor communities where relatively cheap western medicines

remain prohibitively expensive and also to document the distribution,

utilization and practice conservation methods for sustainable supply of

medicinal plants from three different ecological zones in Ghana.

He was not happy that habitat destruction and overexploitation had

resulted in he situation where sources of medicinal were becoming

increasingly scarce, stressing that the time has come for stakeholders to

support the ITTO project to help reclaim the lost medicinal plants.

Dr. Owusu-Sekyere noted that among some of the activities to be

undertaken during the project included, ranking of priority medicinal

plants species for each of the beneficiary communities, distribution of

rare seedlings for planting and collection and raising of planting

materials for the preferred but difficult to propagate medicinal plant