Excerpts of interview of IIMSAM Official Dr. Naseer Homoud on hunger, malnutrition and Spirulina
By Farrukh Khan
Dated: Jan 12, 2010
Dr. Naseer Homoud is the Goodwill Ambassador and Director of Middle East Office of the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina against Malnutrition (IIMSAM) and renowned philanthropist.
How Spirulina can curb hunger and malnutrition?
Dr. Naseer: Spirulina is a blue-green microalga which is very high in protein content besides having very balanced levels of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, pigments, and other nutritional ingredients. It can be easily accessible, affordable and consumable. It meets almost whole requirements of nutrient deficiencies which are the basic cause of malnutrition and hunger in most of the third world countries especially of Asia and Africa.
Why all the attention has suddenly been focused on Spirulina in fighting malnutrition? Do you justify it?
Dr. Naseer: Yes, of course and without any doubts…In these days of modernity the evils like malnutrition is simply a blot on our society and it must be eradicated if we want to secure our future on the path of development and poverty free world. Because of its easy, productive and high yielding cultivation in terms of costs, land usage, water and energy consumption; and because of its nutritional contents which can speedily and smoothly contain the growing menace of malnutrition in the least developed and developing societies, the spread and use of Spirulina is being considered as the most useful and viable way out. Even the international body like WHO recommends its use and the United Nations has declared it as best food for the future.
Has there been any significance of Spirulina cultivation in terms of climate change and global warming?
Dr. Naseer: As I said it can be cultivated using minimum means of the costs of production on each and every level our climate is identified with. Its rich harvest and climate friendly cultivation make it a feasible solution for reducing the concerns over climate change as its ecological cultivation does not cause pollution, soil erosion, water contamination or forest destruction.
What are the other benefits of Spirulina? What type of diseases it can prevent?
Dr. Naseer: The other benefits of using Spirulina in humanitarian emergencies are that it can be taken directly from the packet, it does not require refrigeration or mixing with scarce clean water, it can be stored for years, and can be smoothly consumed by critically ill children. Spreading its use can prevent diseases like cancer, hay fever, herpes infection, high cholesterol, hives, HIV infection, liver protection, weight loss, tissue degeneration, negative mutations, high urine radioactivity, zinc deficiency diseases, obesity, oral cancer, hypochronic anemia, malaria, diabetes, etc.
What are the advantages of its cultivation over other foods?
Dr. Naseer: Its cultivation does not cause air or water pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, and is very economical in the use of land, energy and water, which makes its production to maintain resource advantages over other conventional foods like soybeans, beef, etc. Another notable feature is its use in agriculture instead of chemical fertilizers, and as a colourant and protein supplement in poultry and livestock feeds. These aspects are very much related with the aspects of poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
What IIMSAM is doing in this regard? How many countries are producing and using Spirulina for elimination of malnutrition and hunger?
Dr. Naseer: IIMSAM, through its resolutions and reports, have already emphasised the importance as well as need of Spirulina cultivation and use in fighting malnutrition all over the world. However there is a need to promote, develop and apply the technologies with the human capital, state agencies, and civil society to ensure its production on an everyday basis. Only an all out attack on hunger and malnutrition by spreading the use of Spirulina can end them. Spirulina is being produced in several countries with direct involvement of IIMSAM. You can see our efforts in Kenya… it is self descriptive. In the year 2010, we are set to enhance our operation in several other countries as well.
How do you identify the spread of Spirulina with the growing global concerns of poverty, hunger and malnutrition and also with the development?
Dr. Naseer: The immediate task before us is to remove effectively the concerns like hunger and malnutrition because of the rapidly increasing mortality rate due to malnutrition and hunger in almost the whole of third world countries without which we can never dream of our future. Spreading Spirulina will reduce significantly the hunger and malnutrition which ultimately will lead to peace, stability and development, paving better than the existing ways to the progressive evolution of humanity on global patterns. The world cannot achieve progress without curbing these evils and Spirulina is the most effective weapon for that.
You are a well- known personality in the Middle East doing various activities not only in the region but globally. Tell us our readers about the short bio on you as a business luminary.?
Dr. Naseer: See, as I told you in beginning that my corporate profile is a different segment. My work for IIMSAM and my social profile is nothing to do with my business and its affairs. I have successfully managed a clear line between my two activities…. Being a human being, it leaves me in pain and agony when I see suffering of my fellow human beings and I would like to request you for not including my business profile here. I hope you understand my stand.
Well, Dr. Naseer I do understand…anyways, what are your plan and agenda for the upcoming year 2010. How you foresee IIMSAM and its activities in 2010?
Dr. Naseer: We have a lot to do in 2010; we are currently channelizing our efforts to enhance cultivation and distribution of Spirulina across the globe where the malnutrition is at par with life threat. I share deep concern over alarming rates of hunger which according the Food and Agriculture Organization, over 854 million people are suffering from hunger. The UN Development Programme records show that about 1.2 billion people in the developing world manages their survival on less than $1 a day. This is sorry state of affairs that about 78% of the world population resides in these developing countries, where sufficient and nutrient food is not available to feed the populace. See….. if we are really serious then we have to tackle this issue with all honest and sincere efforts. In this year, you will see a lot of activities from IIMSAM to this effect.