By Charles Nwaoguji
Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law Nigeria Food Science charter bill to regulate the practice of food professionals in the country.
According to the President and Chairman of Council of the Institute, Mr. Oluwole Toye , the bill has passed the three readings at the National Assembly.
Toye, who stated this at the 10th biennial Dr. JK Ladipo Memorial lecture, held recently in Lagos, said when signed into law, this will go a long way to empower the institute to achieve its mission to harness the abundance of talents and knowledge amongst food professionals in Nigeria towards food sufficiency and good nutrition of the masses.
He stated that NIFST as a body would continued to partner with the various stakeholders across the value chain to actualize the vision of good and abundant food for all through service to humanity and country resulting in food security and the well-being on Nigerians.
“As part of the institute Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR), we have embarked on a food safety programmes at the street level. We have deployed trained food safty champions to visit and train selected street food sellers on good hygiene practice and good food preparation process. These include our local suya sellers and the local akara sellers,” he explained.
He noted that the street food safety awareness campaign where they have focused on the unregulated markets in Lagos.
Also, speaking at the event, the Acting Director General of/ Chief Executive Officer of Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Dr. Chima Igwe said that in the last couple of years, Nigerians experienced a sudden and significate drop in economic activities which led to the loss of purchasing power of the currency, naira.
Igwe stated that although Nigeria has been able to exit the recession , the strangling effects might still be seen lingering with the possibility of a relapse if the nation does not diversify.
He said that recession is very unfriendly to take loans, making investments, or living flamboyant lifestyles for which Nigerians are noted.
He stated that reports shows that those who dare to take the risks, especially in valuation addition to agricultural raw materials which is considered industrialization , help to pull any shaky economy out of any economic mess.
However, he said this will never be if there are no deliberate efforts in value-addition to agricultural raw materials and commodities through the application of research findings from Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) efforts by the growing industries and the manufacturing sector. That is, if there are no deliberate efforts in research collaborations and industry linkages.
He stated that oil and gas may have increased thw country’s earnings but a diversified economy through agriculture would save the country, Nigeria from the relapse of recession, adding that other means to curbing the menace of recession outside of increased agricultural output include upgrading and improving manufacturing and mining sectors in Nigeria.
He said that over the years, FIIRO has integrated multi-disciplinary approach into tackling of Nigeria’s industrialization problems.
“In our preparedness to boost the economy of the nation through research and products development , FIIRO operates in about 50 laboratories, 13 workshops and 8 pilot plants and catalytic food and agro-allied processing plants. We have also acquired state-of- the art laboratory machinery and equipment for analyses of various products, supporting MSMEs in quality control and assurance with ISO17025:2005 certification on some of our laboratories and operations,” he said.