Botanical Survey of Home Gardens with Moringa oleifera Lam; Popularity, Usage, and Domestication in Ibadan, South Western Nigeria
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Moringa oleifera (MO) Lam. is a medicinal plant that has crossed tribal, provincial and national boundaries in recent times, with its use and domestication cutting across different ethnic and geographical borders of the world in general and Nigeria in particular. In view of this observation, this present study was aimed at examining the contributing factors to the high diversity of this much prized economic and medicinal species in Nigerian gardens. The survey was conducted among 17 populations, from which a total of One Hundred and Four respondents were purposively drawn from the wards that make-up the Ibadan North Local Government Area of Oyo State. The purposive technique allowed at least 6 individual respondents to be randomly selected from each ward, based on their interest in home gardening, and their attached importance, domestication and accessibility to MO. The approach thus provided the opportunity to obtain an understanding of its medicinal importance, side effects and possible need for conservation. The respondents, who are of different backgrounds, were interviewed using semi-structured questions. Data collected were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively using descriptive statistics. The results of the study revealed that 50% of the respondents were home gardeners, while 40% are without gardens, although 80% showed the desire to own same. Also, 80% believed home gardens should provide food (Vegetables, spices and fruits etc.) and herbs (health-care). Over 95% of respondents claimed to have information about or cultivated Moringa, and 89% of them agreed to the important roles of agencies, as well as the media (radio, newspapers, etc.) in the dissemination of relevant information about this species. Moreover, close to 90% also have access to the plant from different sources: own garden (25%), friends’ or neighbors’ garden (44.2%) or market (13.5%), while 13.5% patronize all these sources. The part(s) mostly used are leaves & flowers (52.9%), followed by all parts (21.2%) and pods (seeds) (19%), while stem and bark are least employed (1.9%). In addition, a majority of respondents claimed that Moringa has solved some of their health concerns (64%) and thus, recommended it to someone or vice-versa (80%) with 65% claiming, no side effects. Consequently, many widely endorsed the conservation of MO and other MAPs (80%), with over 60% alluding to individuals, and government as major players in this responsibility. We conclude, therefore, that gardens, particularly home-based, play a valuable role in the conservation of not only the plant emphasized in this study, but many other useful plant species, most especially medicinals, that have become the cornerstone of health delivery in most developing nations. This study, therefore strongly recommends the strengthening of this strategy.
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