Over sixty five students of Industrial Chemistry of the Covenant University, Otta, Ogun state, were at FIIRO on Wednesday the 17th of February, 2016 purposely to explore the riches and potentials of FIIRO’s technological breakthroughs and their relevance to their course of study. The students were received by Dr. Dele Oyeku, Director – Extension & Linkage on behalf of the DG/CEO of the Institute, Dr. (Mrs.) G.N Elemo.
The students who cut across various levels of the university were led to the Institute by their supervisors namely: Dr. Ajani O.O, Adedapo Emmanuel and Audu Oluwatosin. Mr. Chris Olumuyiwa, the Institute’s public relations officer gave an insight into FIIRO’s activities and possible ways by which the students can key into the entrepreneurship opportunities available through acquiring FIIRO’s technologies. He said the Institute is ready to partner with Covenant University on students’ entrepreneurship development programme to compliment the University’s effort. He commended the University for its giant stride in entrepreneurship development that has made the University to be described as an entrepreneurial University.
After the introductory talk, the students were taken round the Institute’s facilities mostly laboratories and workshops on a guided tour by a combined team of the Pubic Relations Unit and Partnerships Division of the Institute.
The students were very excited for the opportunity to see the practical aspects of what they have learnt in theory. Dr. Ajani O.O on behalf of Covenant University expressed profound gratitude to the DG/CEO and the entire management of the Institute for the opportunity given to the University for the Industrial Excursion. He further said that they are impressed by the array of commercializable products developed at the Institute and promised to organize a revisit to the Institute which will be a whole day affair.
The Country Manager, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, GAIN - Dr Francis Aminu and the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN) Development Officer Ms Uduak Igbeka were received at the institute on Friday, 1st July, 2016 by the DG/ CEO, FIIRO Dr Mrs Gloria. N. Elemo
The DG/CEO while welcoming them highlighted the institute's mandate, research activities and achievements over the years. She reiterated that value addition to indigenous food produce will ensure food and nutrition security in the country. Also that the establishment of Rehabilitation Centres and IDP Camps are indicators of the nutritional status of the country which mostly have affected the Children and the Elderly. She further said that FIIRO is willing to collaborate with GAIN on improving nutritional status of children age 5-12 years particularly as they are often neglected during Nutrition planning.
Some of the recent FIIRO’s achievements highlighted especially in the area of Nutrition include: Development of a gruel that contains protein and micronutrients to make a more nutritionally adequate food product (Soy-Ogi). Currently, plans are under way for an American Company to collaborate with FIIRO in scaling-up its production to commercial level; The technology for the production of high Nutrient Density Biscuit together with a nutritional drink for children 5 - 12 years old. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with NASCO Biscuit, Jos for the commercial production of this biscuit known as CHAMP as the Federal Government is considering its incorporation into the National School Feeding Programme. The technology for the production of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in children; Micronutrient Sprinkles for the prevention of hidden hunger (micronutrient deficiency); A Nutraceutical drug, made from the combination of two indigenous legumes, for the management of Sickle-cell Anaemia has been developed. In all, over 250 technologies have been developed and ready for commercialization at FIIRO, while about 70% of these are food-based.
In his response, Dr Aminu thanked the DG for the opportunity given to them to interact with FIIRO. He went further to highlight areas of immediate needs from FIIRO to include commercializing all the afore-mentioned technologies; Product and Recipe formulation. Quality analyses of foods before being put in the market so as to ensure the label claims are right and the need for FIIRO to immediately join the Scaling-up Nutrition Business Network and become a Technical partner. Furthermore, the Country Manager highlighted that GAIN is looking at improving malnutrition not only through the use of RUTF, but is also ready to use supplementary and complementary foods. GAIN is also looking at organising an annual Nutrition - themed fairs where stakeholders in Nutrition and Food producers can meet to interact and exhibit their products.
On her part, Ms Uduak Igbeka stated that SBN is the private sector alliance of the SUN Movement and was established to mobilize and galvanize the global business community to commit to scaling up nutrition; and support SUN countries to engage with business within a multi-stakeholder, country-owned, approach to scaling up nutrition. The SBN is convened by GAIN and the UN World Food Programme (WFP). She stated that SBN seeks to sign in companies across all sectors to improve nutrition in Nigeria. She stressed the need for FIIRO to come on board the network by becoming a technical partner, since according to her, institutes like FIIRO are needed in guiding food production industries in recipe formulations. Moreover, the SBN platform will provide an opportunity to showcase FIIRO as the institute and centre of excellence for nutrition education. There is therefore immediate need to have a FIIRO – GAIN (SBN) partnership with the signing of an MoU between the two organisations.
The Chief Executive Officer, Ajere Holding BV, The Netherlands, Engr. Steve Ajere was received at the Institute on Thursday, 25th February, 2016 by the Director-General/CEO of FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) G.N Elemo. The technical visit was to discuss collaboration on Drying Technology for food and agro-allied products.
The DG/CEO while welcoming the guests noted that it was high time to develop perfect drying systems for food and agro-allied products to address the issue of food waste due to increasing rate of postharvest losses currently estimated between 35% and 50% for most agro-commodities in Nigeria.
She further said that the recent ranking of Nigeria on Food Waste by FAO as number 188 out of 192 nations of the world is worrisome. The DG/CEO while briefing the guests on the various types of dryers developed at the Institute said partnership with any organization to address critical issue of food waste is a welcome development by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology under the leadership of the Hon. Minister of Science & Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu who has taken food preservation as topmost priority for the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Engr. Steve Ajere in his presentation was of the opinion that the drying solution developed by his company in Netherlands will definitely compliment the Institute’s research effort at development of appropriate drying system for Nigeria. He said his company’s drying technology has been tested in Netherlands and the dryers have the ability to dry at specific temperatures using a combination of drying principles including electromagnetic waves to ensure that only water is removed from the materials to be dried leaving all other components intact thereby ensuring no loss in nutritional values.
After developing a working agenda, both organizations concluded to work together on technology transfer and development of appropriate drying systems to address the issue of food waste in Nigeria.
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