Gloria Elemo, director-general and chief executive officer of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), says an inclusion of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) into wheat has the capacity to generate N96 billion revenue for farmers and players in the value chain, based on 1.2 million metric tonnes per annum demand estimate by flour millers.
Elemo, who disclosed this last Tuesday during a courtesy visit of board members of FIIRO to the institute, stated that the HQCF industry alone could generate three million jobs for over 5,000 small and medium cassava processing plants required to produce the 1.2 million tonnes of cassava.
According to her, FIIRO pioneered research on the mechanisation of the production of garri, disclosing that the first of such plant designed by the institute was manufactured in the UK by an engineering firm known as Newell Dunford and sold around the world for which the Federal Government earned royalties.
“The proliferation of bottled palm wine companies in Nigeria is as a result of the pioneering activities of the institute in palm wine bottling and preservation. Today, there are over 1,000 MSMEs producing bottled palm wine for both local and export markets, generating over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs as well as earning foreign exchange through export,” Elemo, who is a professor and scientist, said.
She said the institute’s research and development in sorghum malt production led to the ban on barley malt importation in 1986. Ever since then, sorghum, which is locally available, has replaced barley in the brewery industry, thereby stopping the country from heavy importation and saving huge foreign exchange, she stated.
“Proliferation of Instant Pounded Yam Flour (IPYF) production companies in Nigeria today is through the pioneering activities of the institute.
“Based on our current survey of over 45 IPYF companies in Nigeria, over 2,500 jobs were created directly by the IPTF companies and it is estimated that over 12,000 jobs were created indirectly. Foreign exchange is earned through export of IPYF.”
She explained that FIIRO was currently developing food products for people with special needs, including children suffering from acute malnutrition, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and sickle cell, among others.
Elemo further stated that pioneering activities of the institute in fruit juice production led to the proliferation of fruit juice manufacturers across the country, creating an estimated 40,000 jobs.
She pointed out that there was a close connection between the institute and the industry as its output was currently redefining the industrial landscape of the country.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has shown great interest in the implementation of a National School Feeding Programme. In tandem with this objective, FIIRO, a research institute with a core mandate in research and development into good and agro-allied processing technologies has carefully developed a High Nutrient Density Biscuit from appropriate combinations of locally grown food crops. This product has been fully commercialised by Nasco Group, an indigenous company with track record in biscuit production and marketing and it will be marketed under the trade name ‘Champ’,” she revealed.
“The biscuit was officially presented to President at the Federal Executive Council Meeting in February, 2018, by the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu,” she said.
According to her, the biscuit had the nutritional composition to meet one-thirds of recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for both micro and macro nutrients for school age children (5-13 years). She added that the biscuit contained 15-17 gram of protein per 100g with at least one-thirds of the recommended dietary allowance of specific nutrients such as iron, calcium, iodine, selenium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, floic acid, Vitamin c, while providing 450 kilocalories of energy per 100g of biscuit.
Ibrahim Dan’Azumi Gwarzo, chairman of the board, expressed surprise at the achievements of the institute and pledged the support of the board towards ensuring that FIIRO achieved more feats.