VC Tasks FG, States over Food Processing Industry

Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

The Vice Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Prof. Maduebibisi Iwe, yesterday called on governments at all levels to provide incentives for food processing industry.

Iwe, who doubles as the president of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST), stated that that is necessary in order to avert hunger and ensure food security in the country.

The vice chancellor stated this yesterday during the opening of NIFST eighth ‘Regional Food Science and Technology Summit’ with the theme: ‘Processing and Preservation: A Panacea to Food Security and Wealth Creation in 21st Century’, which was held at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.

Present at the summit included Prof. Abiodun Olapade, Adepeju Jaiyeoba, Prof. Folake Olayinka Henshaw, and Mogaji Akin Fagbemi among others.

Iwe who was represented by the Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ilorin, Prof. Ramat Olayinka, insisted that the federal and state governments should invest in food processing industry in order to tackle hunger in the country, noting that food processing industry has a crucial role to play in the development of the Nigerian economy, and it is needed to be integrated into the country’s strategy for inclusive growth.

He said the governments must provide incentives and create an enabling environment that would encourage investments in infrastructure, research, innovation and technology upgrade.

According to Iwe, “The government should provide incentives for developing the industry and creating awareness about the importance of processed foods.

“We can only hope to see the sector multiply and contribute to our economic development if governments contribute its quota to the sector.”

The Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, represented by Prof. Olatunji Oyesile also called on NIFST to address acceptability challenges facing the country’s local processed foods at the international communities.

He said most processed food in the country don’t passed international standard, as they get spoilt before getting into other countries, noting that urgent steps must be taken by all stakeholders in the sector to address the challenges facing the processing industry sector.

The Chairperson of NIFST, Western Chapter, Dr. Ganiyat Olatunji, said the challenges faced by the food processing and development industry include inadequate infrastructure, inadequate access to finance, raw materials and lack of proper storage facilities, stating that the conference was organised to address the challenges and prefer solutions to surmount them.

She stated further that NIFST was trying to draw a lot of initiatives in order to meet the farmers and other stakeholders to address the issue of food security in Nigeria, assuring Nigerians that they would see the positive effects of their initiatives.

In his keynote address, Mrs. Adepeju Jaiyeoba, who described food as the centre for human existence that could not be avoided, said Nigeria needed to develop locally made nutritional food for children, and should stop over dependence on foreign foods that are so expensive.

Related Articles