Battle For The Soul of Ọha Soup.
When our great great great great great grandmother invented the Ọha Soup about a thousand years ago, little did she know her small experiment from the shrubs in her azụ ụlọ would one day become the best soup on planet earth.
While Ọha (Pterocarpus mildbraedii) is more loved for its lovely taste, and sweet flavour it adds to the soup, many are unaware that it has huge health benefits.
Being a vegetable, it contains a lot of nutrients which that are beneficial to the body. Some of the nutrients it contains include calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, antioxidants, fibre, Vitamins B and C, and lots more.
I will struggle to mention up to three different soups that give one joy and a good dose of happiness whether they are freshly dropped from fire, or cold from the freezer. On top of that prestigious list of the minority, sitting comfortably (unlike a nwanosike situation that has become the lot of Soups like Egusi and Ugu), is Oha Soup.
It is a Soup that adds extra value to, and makes whatever you chose to eat it with sweeter. It even makes both fish and meat taste better. Oh Ọha…
It retains same Pavlovian effect it has on the palate from the day it was cooked, till the day the pot is washed.
By now, you should have deciphered that I am an apostle of Oha Soup, which brings to mind the humiliating sense of loss I have had on three occasions when my little wraps of Oha leaves were confiscated by the US CBP officers, irrespective of which airport I flew in from.
From my findings, many Ọha addicts like me have been writing petitions to the US government to complain that Ọha leaves are innocent shrubs that should be treated with respect and not opprobrium.
That is why I received with a sense of victory; the news yesterday that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that is has approved authorization for the importation of Oha leaves from Nigeria.
According to the information, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that, “We are advising the public of our decision to authorise the importation of fresh Oha leaves (Pterocarpus mildbraedii) from Nigeria into the continental United States.”
Although the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA prohibits the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world, Oha leaves met the risk analysis requirement which led to the authorisation of its importation.
The USDA said that, “based on the findings of a pest risk analysis, which we made available to the public for review and comment through a previous notice, we have determined that the application of one or more designated phytosanitary measures will be sufficient to mitigate the risks of introducing or disseminating plant pests or noxious weeds via the importation of fresh Ọha leaves from Nigeria.”
On 7 June, 2022, the agency published a notice in the Federal Register where it announced the availability, for review and comment, of a pest risk analysis that evaluated the risks associated with the importation of fresh Ọha leaves from Nigeria into the continental United States.
After 60 days of soliciting comments on the notice, the agency received no response by 8 August, 2022.
It proceeded to announce its decision to authorise the importation of fresh Ọha leaves from Nigeria subject to phytosanitary measures identified in the risk management document.
NB: We have voted that the name Ọha is the universally accepted name. African Rosewood Plant should be for research purposes.
Agu nwanyị, our great great great great great grandmother is smiling broadly at us….