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FIIRO’s 20% CASSAVA BREAD GETS NATIONAL ACCLAIM & RE-BRANDED ”CASSY-BREAD” BY DR. AKINWUMI ADESINA,THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE & RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has officially endorsed FIIRO’s 20% cassava bread and re-branded it “Cassy-Bread… powered by FIIRO”. This development took place during the Hon. Minister’s working visit to the Institute on Thursday, February 6, 2014. He expressed his satisfaction with the pioneering role of Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) in Research and Development into High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) inclusion in bread and confectioneries. Dr. Adesina also acknowledged the support FIIRO has been giving in promoting the inclusion of HQCF in bread and its active role in transferring the technology to master bakers across the country.

The Director General of FIIRO, Dr. Gloria Elemo seized the opportunity to fully brief the Honourable Minister on the breakthroughs of FIIRO in Research and Development that have made far reaching impact on the brewing industry with the replacement of Barley malt with sorghum malt; Development of Weaning food (Soy-ogi), Palm wine production and preservation, Kunu production and preservation, Instant Pounded Yam Flour production, Edible mushroom cultivation and spawn production, etc. She further gave an insight into the activities of the Institute in the area of post-harvest loss reduction through its developed agro-processing technologies for most of Nigeria’s food crops and agro-commodities. Dr. Elemo also acknowledged the directive of the Hon. Minister for the Institute to be engaged in the training of 5,000 Master Bakers under the Cassava Bread Fund.

Dr. Adesina encouraged the Management of the Institute to extend the transfer of the technology of HQCF inclusion in bread to tertiary institutions in the country and also train those that have established their own bakeries on cassava bread production. He also charged the Institute to scale-up its Sorbitol and Glucose R&D Technologies in order to further maximize the Cassava Value Chain. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture through the Agricultural Research Council will give financial support.

The Hon. Minister further restated the commitment of the Federal Government to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) as a means for creating more jobs, reducing food import bill and ensuring food security for the country. He opined that FIIRO is one of such organizations that his Ministry will be leveraging upon to drive the ATA to its logical conclusion.

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NIFST-INDUSTRY LINKAGE COMMITTEE VISITS FIIRO

The Management of FIIRO played host to NIFST’s Industry- Linkage Committee on May 12, 2014. The committee was led by Mr. Wole Toye. In her welcoming remarks, Dr. Gloria Elemo congratulated NIFST for the success of its last Annual Conference held in Abuja. She gave an insight into some of the projects and activities of FIIRO that may be of interest to NIFST some of which are:

  1. Close work with Flour Millers and CAVA (Cassava: Adding Value for Africa) in the promotion of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF). She mentioned the work in progress in reference to having a standard recipe for the 10% cassava inclusion and the potential role for NIFST to support the standardization of HQCF recipes. She also mentioned the preparation of a draft bill on the adoption of HQCF for the National Assembly. FIIRO’s close work with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on its cassava value chain expansion initiatives through the Cassava Transformation Agenda was also highlighted.

2. The standardization of locally fabricated food processing equipment informed a Fabricators Conference organized by FIIRO in 2012 to discuss how best to go about the process. There is also an on-going research to upgrade the design of the locally fabricated pepper grinder to “cutting and chopping” in a bid to reduce contaminants- primarily consisting of iron and magnesium. She stressed that the challenges faced by processing equipment fabricators must be solved locally as indigenous peculiarities often indicate why imported equipment are often not fit for use. Dr. Elemo also intimated the visitors of the interest of United Nations Industrialization & Development Organisation (UNIDO) in standardizing locally fabricated equipment and its collaboration with FIIRO in achieving this.

3. The on-going plan to establish an Industrial Enzyme Centre in FIIRO to support local production efforts and reduce enzyme importation to conserve foreign exchange was highlighted. She also informed the delegation that seven industrial enzymes have been developed by FIIRO and ready for scaling up to pilot scale.

4. In the area of accessing funding for SMEs, FIIRO is working with Oxfam Impact Investments to support FIIRO trained SMEs in the food processing sector.

Recapping FIIRO’s long standing relationship with NIFST, she mentioned how the first Nigerian Director of FIIRO, Dr. Isaac Akinrele happened to be the founding President of NIFST. She also expressed the view that the committee’s visit to the institute will help to see possible areas for collaboration and linkage in the food industry.

Mr. Toye in response expressed his appreciation to the DG and management for receiving his team. He gave a brief history of the Industry-Linkage Committee which was formed three years ago with the primary goal of refocusing NIFST on its primary objective of enhancing the progress of the food industry. Some of the highlights of the information and views expressed by members of the committee include;

1. The upcoming annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists      (IFT) in New Orleans the United States in August and that of International      Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) holding in Montreal Canada.      The NIFST-Industry Linkage committee felt it may be expedient for NIFSTers      in FIIRO interested in attending the conferences to leverage on NIFST’s      assistance for their registration and other logistics.

2. The effort to standardize locally fabricated food processing equipment as well as the establishment of an industrial enzymes centre were commended and some members of the committee expressed their interest in collaborating with the Institute on the industrial enzyme project.

3. The recent inauguration of a Food Directorate in NAFDAC with the support of NIFST and the Food Industries in Nigeria was also highlighted as a platform that can be used to promote FIIRO’s technologies.

4. The itinerary of the Industry-Linkage Committee will also be made known to FIIRO so that it can be used as a platform to sell its R&D.

In her concluding remarks, Dr. Elemo expressed the following views,

  1. The need for a closer relationship between NIFST and FIIRO.
  2. FIIRO has been on a commercialization drive backed by public      enlightenment for the past three years. However given the expensive nature      of publicity and with FIIRO being a Government Organisation, the Institute      is constrained to operate within its budgetary allocations.
  3. She acknowledged that the presence of NIFST, NICAPMA and similar      organizations within the premises of FIIRO were integral to FIIRO’s      strength as a Food Research Institute.
  4. Channels for collaboration with FIIRO on industrial enzymes production      can be explored by parties interested.
  5. FIIRO has been initiating industrial visits to food companies towards      building a closer working relationship with them.

The Techno-Entrepreneurship Division of FIIRO already reaches out to NYSC members and other potential target groups such as individuals in the pre-retirement phase, women, secondary school students and youths to get them familiar with the opportunities available for self-employment.

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INTER ACADEMY COUNCIL VISITS FIIRO

The Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) facilitated a visit of the Inter Academy Council (IAC) to FIIRO on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The visit was in recognition of FIIRO as a key stakeholder in Nigeria that has been interacting closely with NAS. The Nigerian Academy of Science is a partner of the African Science Academies Development Initiative (ASADI) whose activities the IAC was commissioned to evaluate by the United States Academies (USNA). According to Prof. Turner Isoun, a former Honorable Minister of Science and Technology, who led the delegation to FIIRO, the Council aims at evaluating the Vision for partnership between NAS – FIIRO & United States Academies. Such evaluation is to open up opportunities for projects that will attract International Funding.

It will also bring about opportunities for Exchange Programs, Collaboration with international Research & Development Institutions and Joint Funding of R&D projects amongst others. Other members of the IAC delegation were Prof. Rogpin Mu, Director General, Institute of Policy and Management (IPM), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tom Arrison, Executive Director, Inter Academy Council, The United States National Academies and Dorothy Ngila, Study Coordinator, Academy of Science of South Africa. On the NAS team were Scholastica Lan and Mobolaji Dasaolu. While receiving the delegation, Dr. Gloria Elemo, Director General, FIIRO acknowledged the recognition given to the institute by NAS and the IAC. She also pointed out the accreditation exercise conducted on the institute by the Nigerian Academy of Science in 2011 and the participation of FIIRO in a recent workshop on the NAS-NLNG Science Prize. A general understanding was reached at the end of discussions for a formalization of partnerships between key stakeholders and the academies in the not too distant future.

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COURTESY VISIT OF MD/CEO BANK OF INDUSTRY (BOI) TO FIIRO

The MD/CEO Bank of Industry Mr Rasheed Adejare Olaoluwa paid a courtesy visit to the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi in order to enhance Linkage between Innovation Centres and Industry.

This necessitated discussions on collaboration and mutual agreement on various national issues to drive social-economic development for the sustenance of enterprises especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.

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The salient points were viewed as a step in the right direction for the actualization of the common heritage and mandate of the two organisations especially in the areas of financing investments in locally developed technologies. This is expected to accelerate economic advancement through job creation, poverty alleviation and youth & women empowerment based on value addition in agro-allied industries for the industrialization of Nigeria.

The salient points are listed as follows:

  • Partnership between FIIRO and BOI on the design and establishment of job creation opportunities in Nigeria; this includes the use of FIIRO’s book on Investment Opportunities for Job Creation in 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria: Based on FIIRO-Technologies and BOI’s program on Three Technologies per Local Government for Wealth Creation All Over Nigeria.
  • To understudy FIIRO’s Industrial Profiles on various technologies for commercialization in Nigeria.
  • Collaboration on linking and presenting of FIIRO’s technologies to the market.
  • Promotion of FIIRO’s technologies through partnership with BOI
  • FIIRO’s involvement in the creation of an ecosystem by BOI for the industrial development of Nigeria.
  • Enhancing capacity building for FIIRO’s accredited fabricators towards the standardization of fabricated machineries and equipment with improved finishing.
  • Partnering FIIRO in business support services for the training of BOI’s beneficiaries.
  • BOI involvement of FIIRO in the proposed agro-processing summit.
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UNIDO COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVE ON A WORKING VISIT TO FIIRO

Dr. Gloria Elemo and the Management of FIIRO played host to UNIDO Representative to Nigeria, ECOWAS & Director Regional Office, Mr. Patrick Kormawa, on Monday, April 7, 2014. Mr. Kormawa’s visit was to get him acquainted with the activities of the institute and how both organizations can further work closely together.

The history of UNIDO’s relationship with FIIRO dates back to 1968 through its contributions to the human capital development of the Institute and has metamorphosed over the years to include upgrading the research & development and documentation facilities of FIIRO. The impact of the contributions to human capital development has reflected on the institute’s achievements in R&D over the years and the impact they have made on national development. The capacity to offer training in the area of entrepreneurship has also been enhanced through the certification of in-house trainers on COMFAR 4 Expert training package designed by UNIDO.

Mr. Kormawa identified the current focused areas of UNIDO to include:

1. Poverty reduction through activities centered on inclusive and sustainable development;

2. Human Capacity Building;

3. Renewable Energy for rural & household electrification

4. Environmental Sustainability

He also mentioned that UNIDO’s intervention in Nigeria cuts across promotion of agro industrialization, standardization of process technologies & compliance by industries as well as partnerships on linkages of innovative technologies to industries.

UNIDO according to Mr. Kormawa is currently working with the Federal Government on closing the skills-gap amongst women and youths through the Industrial Training Fund, working with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to establish Staple Crops Processing Zones across the country, fabrication of turbines in rural areas for power generation, and working with women entrepreneurs. He also identified some areas of collaboration with FIIRO such as Processing Equipment Fabrication, Human Capacity Development, Creating Standards for Equipment manufactured/fabricated in Nigeria.

The highlights of FIIRO’s focused areas for intervention by UNIDO were listed to include:

1. Exploring the use of research extension services to drive the delivery of R&D outputs to a larger number of communities in Nigeria;

2. Upgrading the National Industrial Information Centre in FIIRO which provides documentation & library services for Scientists & Researchers and institutionalizing the mechanism for its sustainability;

3. Providing financial support and other assistance to SMEs that have undergone technology transfer training processes in FIIRO but lack the capacity to acquire the necessary equipment and machinery;

4. Provide support to expose Scientists, Researchers & Engineers in FIIRO to scientific innovations and trends globally;

5. Provide support for Laboratory Infrastructure & state-of-the-art equipment;

6. Linkage with end users of R&D outputs in the industrial sector to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization at the country level.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations will be signed to concretize specific areas for further collaboration.

Mr. Kormawa later made a tour of the Food Processing Pilot Plant and FIIRO Bakery where 20% Cassava Bread is produced for a first-hand observation of the facilities. The tour concluded the visit of the UNIDO Representative to FIIRO.

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FIIRO HOSTS FARA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

A special event took place on Thursday, July 31, 2014 when FIIRO played host to the very first Executive Director of The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), to visit the institute, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo. The visit was initiated as a follow up to two earlier meetings between him and Director General of FIIRO, Dr. Gloria Elemo in Lagos as well as in South Africa a few months ago. The visit gave FARA Executive Director an opportunity to have a first-hand look at some of the Research and Development Technologies developed in the institute.

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Dr. Akinbamijo also made a presentation on the Systemic Analysis of Africa’s Agricultural Transformation: Extending the frontiers of Africa’s agri-food systems. The heart of the lecture looked at where Nigeria is as of today and where it ought to be compared to advancement in the application of Science and Technology in other African countries. He advocated for a more proactive approach in the use of modern technologies to drive the agricultural sector in other to enhance the food security status of the country. He shared the various experiences he had in some other African countries and how FIIRO can play a leading role in fast tracking a positive change in reducing the food import bill of the country.

Dr. Akinbamijo also mentioned the various channels FARA is making use of to enlighten policy makers on the need to give their full weight to every effort to drive agriculture through STI and put more money in the pocket of African farm businesses. Part of such efforts is the High Level Food Security Study visit being coordinated by FARA, of some policy makers and top government functionaries in selected African states to Cuba. The initiative was muted in order for the delegation to share from the experience of Cuba and how the nation was able to transit from a country that used to experience food shortages to a self-sufficient one.

FARA is also presenting some other platforms through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) for FIIRO to come on board as a partner with other organizations working with FARA.    

Dr. Gloria Elemo commended the various strategies being adopted by FARA to combat the monster of food shortages in various parts of Africa. She expressed her willingness to make FIIRO a major player in the bid to reverse the trend of spending tons upon tons of foreign exchange on food importation into Africa.

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NIFST-INDUSTRY LINKAGE COMMITTEE VISITS FIIRO

The Management of FIIRO played host to NIFST’s Industry- Linkage Committee on May 12, 2014. The committee was led by Mr. Wole Toye. In her welcoming remarks, Dr. Gloria Elemo congratulated NIFST for the success of its last Annual Conference held in Abuja. She gave an insight into some of the projects and activities of FIIRO that may be of interest to NIFST some of which are:

  1. Close work with Flour Millers and CAVA (Cassava: Adding Value for Africa) in the promotion of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF). She mentioned the work in progress in reference to having a standard recipe for the 10% cassava inclusion and the potential role for NIFST to support the standardization of HQCF recipes. She also mentioned the preparation of a draft bill on the adoption of HQCF for the National Assembly. FIIRO’s close work with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on its cassava value chain expansion initiatives through the Cassava Transformation Agenda was also highlighted.

2. The standardization of locally fabricated food processing equipment informed a Fabricators Conference organized by FIIRO in 2012 to discuss how best to go about the process. There is also an on-going research to upgrade the design of the locally fabricated pepper grinder to “cutting and chopping” in a bid to reduce contaminants- primarily consisting of iron and magnesium. She stressed that the challenges faced by processing equipment fabricators must be solved locally as indigenous peculiarities often indicate why imported equipment are often not fit for use. Dr. Elemo also intimated the visitors of the interest of United Nations Industrialization & Development Organisation (UNIDO) in standardizing locally fabricated equipment and its collaboration with FIIRO in achieving this.

3. The on-going plan to establish an Industrial Enzyme Centre in FIIRO to support local production efforts and reduce enzyme importation to conserve foreign exchange was highlighted. She also informed the delegation that seven industrial enzymes have been developed by FIIRO and ready for scaling up to pilot scale.

4. In the area of accessing funding for SMEs, FIIRO is working with Oxfam Impact Investments to support FIIRO trained SMEs in the food processing sector.

Recapping FIIRO’s long standing relationship with NIFST, she mentioned how the first Nigerian Director of FIIRO, Dr. Isaac Akinrele happened to be the founding President of NIFST. She also expressed the view that the committee’s visit to the institute will help to see possible areas for collaboration and linkage in the food industry.

Mr. Toye in response expressed his appreciation to the DG and management for receiving his team. He gave a brief history of the Industry-Linkage Committee which was formed three years ago with the primary goal of refocusing NIFST on its primary objective of enhancing the progress of the food industry. Some of the highlights of the information and views expressed by members of the committee include;

1. The upcoming annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in New Orleans the United States in August and that of International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) holding in Montreal Canada. The NIFST-Industry Linkage committee felt it may be expedient for NIFSTers in FIIRO interested in attending the conferences to leverage on NIFST’s assistance for their registration and other logistics.

2. The effort to standardize locally fabricated food processing equipment as well as the establishment of an industrial enzymes centre were commended and some members of the committee expressed their interest in collaborating with the Institute on the industrial enzyme project.

3. The recent inauguration of a Food Directorate in NAFDAC with the support of NIFST and the Food Industries in Nigeria was also highlighted as a platform that can be used to promote FIIRO’s technologies.

4. The itinerary of the Industry-Linkage Committee will also be made known to FIIRO so that it can be used as a platform to sell its R&D.

In her concluding remarks, Dr. Elemo expressed the following views,

  1. The need for a closer relationship between NIFST and FIIRO.
  2. FIIRO has been on a commercialization drive backed by public enlightenment for the past three years. However given the expensive nature of publicity and with FIIRO being a Government Organisation, the Institute is constrained to operate within its budgetary allocations.
  3. She acknowledged that the presence of NIFST, NICAPMA and similar organizations within the premises of FIIRO were integral to FIIRO’s strength as a Food Research Institute.
  4. Channels for collaboration with FIIRO on industrial enzymes production can be explored by parties interested.
  5. FIIRO has been initiating industrial visits to food companies towards building a closer working relationship with them.

The Techno-Entrepreneurship Division of FIIRO already reaches out to NYSC members and other potential target groups such as individuals in the pre-retirement phase, women, secondary school students and youths to get them familiar with the opportunities available for self-employment.

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FIIRO HOLDS CASSAVA BREAD RECIPE CONFIRMATION EXERCISE

It is a common knowledge that there are many recipes for cassava bread developed by various institutions in Nigeria. Some have come up with cassava bread recipe including egg, milks etc which make such recipes unprofitable and more importantly unsustainable. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has sponsored many trainings for Master Bakers with each training institution sometimes using their own recipes to train. This has raised the issue of standardization of recipes which the Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development bought into and directed the Institute to carry out Cassava Bread Recipe Confirmation Exercise with all stakeholders in attendance with a view to evolving a national recipe for cassava bread.

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This exercise was carried out at FIIRO on Thursday, 14th August, 2014. In attendance at the programme are:

  • Hon. Minister, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Abdu Bulama ably represented by Dr. Okujagu- the Director-General/CEO, Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency.
  • Hon. Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina ably represented by Mrs. Medinat Adetunji, the Senior Technical Adviser to the Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
  • Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
  • Director-General/CEO- National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
  • Director-General/CEO-Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON).
  • Director-General/CEO-Consumer Protection Council, Nigeria.
  • Executive Secretary, Flour Milling Association of Nigeria.
  • Country Manager, Casava: Adding Value for Africa.
  • National President Master Bakers Association.
  • Lagos State Chairman of Master Bakers Association.
  • National President Nigerian Cassava Growers’ Association.
  • Lagos State Chairman of Nigerian Cassava Growers’ Association.
  • President, Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology.
  • President, National Cassava Processors and Marketers Association.
  • Director-General, National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
  • Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
  • Fifty Master Bakers.

After the opening ceremony, the technical session commenced with 50 bakers and two representatives of the Flour Milling Association of Nigeria for baking exercise. Cassava bread was baked at various levels of inclusion including 10%, 15% and 20% even though 20% level of inclusion has been agreed by all stakeholders as sustainable level of inclusion.

This exercise was a-week long programme to provide answers to all frequently asked questions on cassava bread through shelf life study; chemical and microbiological analyses; sensory evaluation; rheological and physical properties tests; glycemic index (GI) study and so on. 

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