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Plant-based diets, good for health & planet

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By Mercy Kelani

A shift in diets will properly address climate change and health epidemics.

ProVeg , a global non-profit, was recently launched in Nigeria to revolutionize the Nigerian food Culture through promotion of healthy plant-based options which are climate- and animal- friendly. ProVeg in Nigeria, in alliance with 10 other offices across the world will oversee a mission to replace 50 percent of animal products across the globe with plant-based and cultivated foods by 2040. A vegan entrepreneur and co-founder of the first vegan restaurant in Nigeria, Hakeem Jimo, contributed immensely to the establishment of ProVeg in Nigeria.

For his recognition of the great potential for improving plant-based diets in Nigeria, Jimo is the Nigerian Country Director for ProVeg. Jimo stated that to properly address Climate Change and health epidemics, there is a need to shift diet, which is why himself and the ProVeg teams are excited to launch the ProVeg Nigerian operation. ProVeg Nigeria used to be known as Lagos Veg Festival, and was later remained as Niger Veg. It is responsible for implementation of various programmes and campaign to create sensitization about the significance of plant-based diets.

Health is the key motivator for dietary changes for Nigerians.

It has collaborated with hospitals, medical professionals and clinics. Currently, Jimo and his team are relentlessly enhancing improvement in incorporating plant-based offerings in institutions to boost Public Health. Jimo added that health is the motivation responsible for dietary changes in the country. However, it was stated by an Ambassador of Chefs for Change that taste is essential in advising dietary shifts and infusing plant-based recipes into traditional Nigerian cuisine as people are ready to hear about the recipe when their favourite dish is tasty.

According to the Programme Manager for ProVeg Nigeria, Bola Adeyanju, the ProVeg Nigeria team, in a bid to catch the attention of the Nigerian population, conducts food tastings at marketplaces and universities. The renowned plant-based chef is thrilled about the sharing of delicious and simple-recipe plant-based versions of indigenous dishes with her fellow Nigerians. This transformative feat conducted with the Campaign and Communications Manager for ProVeg Nigeria, Marybeth Ubanwa, who is also a self-proclaimed plant-based crusader.

Nigeria to shift towards healthier & sustainable food options.

The degree holder in International Law and Diplomacy, Ubanwa, affirmed that the impact which the company has made in Lagos can have easy extension across the African continent and to people who love African dishes across the world. CEO of ProVeg International, Jasmijn de Boo, received ProVeg Nigeria warmly into the organization as they ensure promotion of more sustainable diets, all across Nigeria. The new launch is projected to direct the country towards experiencing a shift towards healthier and more sustainable food alternatives, while positively impacting personal well-being and the environment.

New vegan innovations have spread across Africa in recent years. In 2021, the first precision fermentation company in Africa launched with the sole purpose of creating diary-identical milk proteins, without exploitation of animals. De Novo, located in Cape Town, employs application of fermentation Technology which uses microbial hosts as cell factories for creation of animal-free milk proteins that have molecular similarity to those present in cow’s milk. Initially, the company used to focus on insect protein.

Excessive consumption of animal products could cause zoonotic diseases.

De Novo discovered that planting and growing proteins with the usage of precision fermentation technology was an effective approach to getting consumers subscribe to sustainable proteins. Africa in 2021, had its first taste of the renowned vegan egg, Just Egg. A California-based Eat Just company partnered with market platform is focused on food technology and addressing Food Security, health and Sustainability issues faced in Africa. Atlas Vegan Community School , the first vegan school in Uganda, commenced operations recently to ensure children eat healthier and safeguard them from zoonotic disease spread by consumption of animal products.


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