Onu said this on the sidelines of his one-day working visit to Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), on Saturday in Lagos.
According to him, if products that are usually imported into the country are being produced locally, it will help provide job opportunities.
“We want to make sure that many of the things we import into the country, we produce in Nigeria.
“If we achieve that, it will help us provide job opportunities; so when people graduate from school – whether secondary, polytechnic or university – they will have jobs.
“Then it will help us fight poverty.
“A family, father and mother can start some of these things that we’ve seen here and that is how they’ll be making money and contributing to the growth of the nation,” he explained.
Earlier, the Minister said that NNMDA’s Five Year Strategic Plan is a roadmap on how the Agency could help the nation produce herbal products for export.
Also, Dr Sam Etatuvie, Director General, NNMDA, said one of the ways to achieve the local production of herbal medicines is through training.
Etatuvie said: “We do trainings for the practitioners across the country because they are the original owners of the traditional medicine knowledge.
“They’ve been passing down this knowledge from generation to generation and many of them are dying.
“We need to train the younger ones and those people to document their traditional medicine knowledge.
“If you do that, you’ll be able to use that to formulate products.
“You’ll be able to identify the specific species of medicinal plants that you can deliberately cultivate in the areas they grow best.”
The DG further said that the Agency had in-house trainings for non-practitioners who are interested in becoming proficient in the area of traditional medicine development.
He disclosed that the Agency was making plans to restart the College of Natural Medicine.