The Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) is forming a stronger partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in a bid to strengthen its institutional capacity to drive sustainable and inclusive industrial development in Nigeria. This was at the heart of the discussion held between the Director General of FIIRO, Dr. Gloria Elemo and UNIDO Country Representative and Director Regional Office, Dr. David Tommy, during his recent visit to the Institute. He advocated that the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in driving economic growth in Nigeria can no longer be taken for granted. There is no better time to practice the maxim; “Consume what you produce – Produce what you consume” than now according to Dr. Tommy.
He further observed that there is a mis-match between demand and supply in the labor market and as such there must be a conscious effort to relate University/Tertiary education curriculum with the required technical skills acquisition to make the graduates employable and reduce the importation of technical labor from Asia and neighboring African countries. He also advocated for a stronger linkage between the STI community, Investment Centers and the informal sector where a lot of innovative ideas have been seen to be springing up.
Dr. Gloria Elemo on a similar note called for a stronger partnership with UNIDO to address the challenges inherent in being able to translate local Research and Development outcomes and innovations into major commercial entities. She noted that a lot has been achieved by FIIRO in the area of finding utilization for all the agro-raw materials in Nigeria and over 250 commercializable products and technologies have been developed. She also noted that a change in mind set to believing in certified Nigerian-made products will go a long way to develop the economy. She shared the various ways in which the Institute is addressing the skills-gap in the labor market by collaborating with various S&T based tertiary institutions to expose their students to technical knowledge acquisition.
In closing the meeting both organizations agreed to partner together to provide capacity building, scientific data and strengthen the knowledge base of technology providers to bring about an inclusive industrial development in Nigeria.
The Center for Values in Leadership (CVL) has conferred a Certificate of Honour on the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) as an Outstanding Research Institute. The recognition award was given during the Economic Growth Sector Celebration of CVL with focus on the Agriculture Sector held on Friday, November 6, 2015 at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island.
The Director General of FIIRO, Dr. Gloria Elemo, was at the occasion to receive the award for the Institute in company of some senior Directors of the Institute. She expressed her appreciation to the organizers for the award which she sees as a motivation to work harder in bringing greater success to the agricultural sector of the economy. She also called for a greater cooperation amongst all stakeholders operating within the sector.
The Founder/CEO of CVL, Prof. Pat Utomi and other directors of the Center were also on hand to add substance to the colorful event.
Representatives of Nasco Foods Ltd. namely James Iwunze- Marketing Manager; Gbolahan Oyenuga- Brand Manager – Foods; and Harry Audu- Legal Adviser visited the Institute on Wednesday, 9th December, 2015 as a follow up on the company’s interest in commercialization of High Nutrient Density (HND) Biscuit developed at FIIRO for school age children between the ages of 5 and 12. This biscuit is able to meet one-third of the recommended daily dietary allowance for the children in this age bracket.
The DG/CEO FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) G.N Elemo informed NASCO team that the partnership with the company is in the spirit of the Public-Private-Partnership being promoted by the Federal Government and NASCO readily fits in, having made a name in the Food manufacturing sector in Nigeria. She further informed the team that FIIRO has completed R&D in the development of the HND Biscuit including animal studies, toxicological study, consumer acceptability study, etc. but will need Nasco Foods Ltd to fully commercialize the technology and mass produce the biscuit for the Nigerian market as well as for the Federal Government’s School Feeding Program.
The representatives of Nasco Foods Ltd in response to DG/CEO said Nasco Food Ltd is a privately owned indigenous company and with well known brands in the Nigerian market especially biscuits and Cornflakes sub-sector of the Nigerian Food Industries and that Nasco Foods Ltd has all it takes in terms of manufacturing infrastructure to mass-produce the HND biscuit. It was concluded that the two organizations need to sign MoU to guide the partnership.
The Director-General/CEO, National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), Dr. (Engr.) Mohammed, in company of Dr. Julie Momah, the Centre Manager of Technology Incubation Centre (TIC), Agege- Lagos visited FIIRO on Wednesday the 18th November, 2015 to initiate a partnership process with the Institute on commercialization of its newly designed and fabricated Stainless Steel Pepper Grinder. The project was embarked by FIIRO to address the issue of metal contamination resulting from the faulty design principles of most pepper grinding mills in the Nigerian market.
The DG/CEO FIIRO while demonstrating the use of the pepper grinder to her guests said that the machine is a hybrid mill with high efficiency for milling both dry and wet milled food products (not only pepper) with zero tolerance for contamination from the machine parts with noise pollution reduction to the barest minimum. The Team Leader of the project, Engr. Aremu in his contribution intimated the guests that the design of the pepper grinding mill conforms to both ISO and NIS standards.
At the end of the demonstration whereby the machine was adjudged excellent in performance, the two organizations agreed to work together to mass produce the pepper grinder especially to be used for the Federal Government Poverty Alleviation Programme as well as the Federal Constituency projects to reduce poverty especially among women and create jobs.
It was concluded at the end of the visit that there is a need for a partnership agreement to guide the commercialization process of the pepper grinder by the two organizations.
A team of highly experienced technical staff of NASCO Foods Limited, Jos visited the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi on Wednesday, 13th January, 2016 at the instance of the Hon. Minister, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu for further discussion on the collaborative effort on the National School Feeding Programme. The team was received on arrival by the DG/CEO of FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria N. Elemo and some other top management staff of the Institute including: Director, Chemical, Fibre and Environmental Technology - Dr. Chima Igwe; Director, Food Technology - Dr. (Mrs.) Toyin Oluwole and Director, Extension & Linkage -Dr. Dele Oyeku. On NASCO team were: Technical Director -Alh. Bala Saleh; Supply Chain Director - Alh. Mohammed Shakir; Marketing Manager - Mr. James Iwunze; Category Brand Manager- Mr. Gbolahan Oyenuga and Mr. Haruna Harry Audu – Legal Adviser.
The visit was in respect of the collaborative effort of FMST/FIIRO – NASCO for commercial production of High Nutrient Density (HND) Biscuit developed by FMST through FIIRO for the School Feeding Programme of the Federal Government. The HND biscuit is developed to meet one third Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) requirements of school age children to be produced on commercial basis by NASCO Foods Limited. According to the DG/CEO, FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) G.N Elemo, the collaboration is going to be win- win for all the parties involved and the benefit is enormous from the angle of utilization of indigenous raw materials in the formulation of the biscuits; conservation of foreign exchange; creation of jobs and improvement in enrolments of school children as well as enhancement of mental capacity of the children.
For NASCO team, the decision to partner with FIIRO in the commercial production of the HND Biscuit for the school feeding program was based on FIIRO’s integrity and achievements over the years. The team mentioned that NASCO as an indigenous company has been in existence for about 50years and has the capacity and experience to produce biscuit products to feed estimated 25million children under the National School Feeding Programme on daily basis.
Mr. Patrick Usen of InterHeritage Promotions, another partner in the collaboration, highlighted the negative implications of food being cooked directly by local caterers as a method of home grown school feeding as being embraced by some states in Nigeria. He said that the world best practices should be embraced as being championed by the FMST/FIIRO-NASCO-InterHeritage collaboration.
At the end of the technical session, timelines were drawn for some of the major activities including MoU signing (Wednesday, 20th January, 2016); Commencement of pilot trial runs on NASCO Biscuit production lines (Wednesday, 27th January, 2016); Stakeholders’/Consultative Forum (Thursday, 25th February, 2016) and Product Launch on Thursday, 28th April, 2016.
The Institute under its National Techno-entrepreneurship Development Initiative is partnering with relevant organizations on youths and women economic empowerment. Olio Nuovo Limited is one of such organizations that has signed MoU with the Institute specifically for training of unemployed youths and women under the Federal Government Amnesty Programme. This MoU was signed at a very impressive ceremony at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi on Tuesday, 10th November, 2015. While Dr. (Mrs.) G.N Elemo, the Director-General/CEO of FIIRO and Dr. Dele Oyeku (Director, Extension & Linkage) signed on behalf of the Institute, Mr. Emmanuel Ekolama and Mr. Augustine Pasakomo signed on behalf of Olio Nuovo Limited.
The DG/CEO in her remarks said the collaboration is in the spirit of Public-Private-Partnership which the Federal Government is strongly promoting for rapid socio-economic development of the nation. She also said that the management of FIIRO is full of expectation that this collaboration will yield fruitful results and that an implementation committee should be set up to execute, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the MoU.
Mr. Emmanuel Ekolama in his response said he is impressed with the facilities at the Institute most especially the Institute’s entrepreneurship package which was the reason Olio Nuovo decided to partner with the Institute. He said FIIRO has all it takes to successfully execute the content of the MoU. He further said that his company will do everything possible to ensure that the training commence in January, 2016.
Samdpin Maritime Limited partnered with the Institute under its National Techno-entrepreneurship Development Initiative to train 30 unemployed youths who are repentant militants. The training took place at the Little Paradise Hotel, Effurun, Delta State from 8th January to 10th January, 2016. The participants were grouped into three groups based on their technologies of interest. The three technologies are: Fish Smoking, Cassava Processing and Fruit Juice production. The technologies were carefully selected based on raw materials of relative abundance in Delta State and ease of setting up by participants after the training.
Apart from the technical component, the participants were also exposed to the management component of entrepreneurial skill so that they will be able to set up and manage their enterprises with relative ease. The management modules include: Product Marketing; Product Cost Element; Productivity Improvement and Starting and Managing Business. Both the organizer and the participants expressed their profound appreciation to the Institute for the well packaged programme that gave the participants the opportunity to produce the products by themselves after demonstration by the instructors. Some of the participants could not contain their joy; they promised to contact the Institute on further steps to take (most especially equipment fabrication and installation) to realizing their ambition to be their own bosses and employers of labour.
The organizer, i.e. Samdpin Maritime Limited also commended the Institute for effective delivery of the training modules and promised to provide the link between the Institute and the participants until they fully realize their goals of setting up their own enterprises.
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