On Saturday, 13th June, 2015, the DG/CEO, Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria Elemo honored the invitation of the Ubulu-Uku Youths Association, Delta State (Lagos Branch) to chair its 2015 Ubulu-Uku Youths Assembly at Piccadilly Suites & Hotels, Lekki-Lagos. The DG/CEO in her opening remarks said youths are the bedrock of any national economic development. She was of the opinion that the way we handle this vibrant, energetic group of people can make or mar our nation.
She further said that the major problem confronting the youths today is that of unemployment with about 1.8 million youths entering the labor market every year.
The DG/CEO noted that in developing economies like Nigeria, government is the largest employer of labour but recent employment indices have indicated that government alone cannot carry all the burden of employment generation.
She therefore, suggested that the best way to go now is to encourage our youths to develop entrepreneurial culture with assertion that entrepreneurship has been well acknowledged all over the world as the surest way for massive job creation.
The Keynote Speaker at the occasion, Dr. Chris Ogbechie of Pan African University/Lagos Business School and the Chairman of Diamond Bank spoke extensively on “Investments Opportunities and Job Creation for the Youths”.
The DG/CEO in her closing remarks introduced the participants to “Investments Opportunities Available at FIIRO for Youths Enterprise Development”. She concluded by saying that the Institute is willing to admit 50 of the youths who participated at the programme into the Institute’s National Techno-entrepreneurship Development Programme with major objective of youths and women empowerment.
On Thursday September 17, 2015, BDCP, NNMDA and FIIRO held a joint press conference as a pre-event to the upcoming HerbFEST 2015. HerbFEST Nigeria is the one and only event and exhibition of its kind in Africa, taking place at the Raw Materials Research Development Council (RMRDC), 17, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria from 6th–8th October, 2015. The event aims at introducing traditional Nigerian Herbal Medicine and Natural Organic Products to the general public nationally and internationally and to arouse interest in the thriving natural and organic products market.
HerbFEST is an annual, regional, natural products expo with the mission to bring together a wide range of stakeholders actively involved in the use, research, promotion and development of herbal and natural products. Each expo is complemented by a workshop to enhance technical capacity in the industry, provide and elicit policy support, share experiences, promote ingenuity and stimulate investment/partnerships.
Now in its sixth edition, HerbFEST 2015 is set to attract varying investors and trade buyers from across the African region – as well as from the wider market of Middle East, Europe and US. Hosted by Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP) in collaboration with Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) and the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), HerbFEST is a not-to-be-missed trade and consumer show.
The focus of HerbFEST 2015 will be on Economic Exploitation of Medicinal Plants, Impact of African Medicinal Plants and Natural Products on Healthcare Delivery with special concentration on Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA), Traditional Bone Setters (TBS), Massage Therapists; Drug Development from Medicinal Plants with issues of Clinical Trials as Proof of Efficacy; Good Agricultural Practices from Farm to Markets from Cultivation to Packaging (Value Chains); Herbal Products in the Management of Metabolic Disorder (Diabetes, etc.); Products’ Profiles derived from African Medicinal Plants/Health Foods; and Panel Discussion on Natural products, Practice/Practitioners and Entrepreneurs;- Challenges in Integrating into National Healthcare Delivery System.
For three (3) days, HerbFEST will showcase vibrant herbs, health foods and natural products from across the region. In addition to the exhibition, there will be a packed programme of training workshops, meetings and seminars sandwiched with about thirty-two (32) abstracts of academic papers selected from numerous scientists in various higher institutions in Africa. This is an innovation over the previous event. The theme for this year’s Symposium is “Food as Medicine: Utilization and Sustainable Exploitation of African Medicinal Plants and Natural Products”. Attendance at this symposium is free as a way of our contribution to medicinal plants promotion and health and wellness promotion. A training on “Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for Herbal Medicinal Products” will be conducted on day-3 to educate trainees on key knowledge from farm/cultivation to research/standardization to production/market.
Products group expected at the exhibition include Natural & Organic Food and Beverages; Herbs & Spices; Cosmetics & Personal Care Items; Healthcare; Herbal, Traditional & Alternative Medicines; Functional Food & Supplements.
A number of distinguished speakers have been invited to make presentations during plenary and training sessions of the event. HerbFEST 2015 offers business development, networking and learning opportunities for participants. The event starts 9:00am daily and participants interested in the training sessions will register with N10,000.00 only.
The Group President/CEO, Dangote Group ably represented by two Principal Officers of the Group; namely, Ms Zouera Youssoufou, the President of Dangote Foundation and Mr. Tony Chiejina, the Head, Media and Communication visits the Institute on courtesy visit on Friday, 12th June, 2015.
The DG/CEO in her welcome address described the visit as one visit she has always looked forward to because Dangote Group is one partner that cannot be ignored because of the Group’s large investment in Food processing, a core mandate of the Institute.
The DG/CEO recalled that the Institute first official contact with the Dangote Group was on Tuesday, 5th November, 2013 when the Institute made a courtesy visit to Dangote Group; and econdly, on 8th April, 2015 when the Institute was invited to discuss Onion project with the Dansa Foods (a subsidiary of the Dangote Group).
The DG/CEO indentified the following as general possible areas of collaboration with Dangote Group:
- Corporate Social Responsibility Programme notably on Youth and Women Economic Empowerment Programme at Local, State and Federal Levels by leveraging on the Institute’s various Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship Development Training programmes for job creation which Dangote Group is noted for.
- New Product Development or Innovation based on indigenous agro-commodities of relative advantage in Nigeria.
- Contract Research on projects of strategic importance.
- Enrichment of the Dangote Group’s Training School Programme - Foundry, Welding, Electroplating, Machining skills etc.
- Development of Tripartite Partnership arrangement with the Institute’s national, regional and international partners on specific projects of interest (e.g. Waste management programme with Lancaster University, Food and Environment Safety with the University of Central Lancashire).
- Staff Retirement Planning through Pre-retirement Entrepreneurship Training Programme.
Upon enumerating the general areas of collaboration, the DG/CEO then zeroed into specific projects by inviting Dangote Group to partner with the Institute on the following projects:
- Industrial Enzyme programme bearing in mind that there is no local enterprise for industrial enzymes production despite the huge potential of this project in Nigeria in terms of raw materials and market potentials.
- High Nutrient Density Biscuits and Drinks for School Feeding Programme.
- Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for management of acute malnutrition.
- Building of Entrepreneurship Complex to be branded “Dangote Entrepreneurship Complex”.
After the opening/welcome speech, the DG/CEO made a detailed presentation on the activities of the Institute since inception enumerating the Institute’s achievements on its R&D projects and job creation through its over 250 technologies that are relevant in all the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.
The President of Dangote Foundation, Ms. Zouera Youssoufou in her response commended the Institute on its many breakthroughs in its areas of R&D focus. She said projects on High Nutrient Density Biscuits and Drinks for School Feeding Programme and Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for management of acute malnutrition readily cut her attention and she will like to get Dangote Group involved on those projects through the Dangote Foundation. She however, promised to come back for further technical meeting with the technical group on how best the projects could be handled.
Mr. Tony Chiejina welcomed the idea of having a branded Entrepreneurship Centre at the Institute by the Dangote Group and promised that the duo shall make appropriate recommendations to the relevant authority at Dangote Group to ensure a working and beneficial partnership.
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.
On Wednesday, 5th August, 2015, the Director-General/CEO and the management of the Institute received the Technical Reform Committee of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN). The Committee was led by Prof. E.O Oyedipe with Prof. O.D Ajakaiye (former Director-General/CEO of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, NISER) and Mrs. Kehinde Ajoni (Former Federal Permanent Secretary) as members.
The DG/CEO in her opening remarks said the Institute is well informed about the purpose of the visit which was to get input of stakeholders towards repositioning and reforming the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria to ensure efficient and effective National Agricultural Research System (NARS).
Furthermore, she expressed delight that FIIRO was selected as one of the stakeholders to make input in achieving the desired transformation. She assured the team that the Institute has given a close attention to the various indicators highlighted in the interview guide sent by the Committee as input for consideration in achieving the desired transformation.
The DG/CEO opined that the NARS is working especially providing research input to enhance agricultural output but admitted that a lot still need to be done in the area of strategic partnership with relevant organizations such as the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi which has express mandate in food and agro-allied processing technologies to convert efficiently agro outputs to shelve stable products with a view to reducing postharvest losses estimated at about 40% for agro outputs in Nigeria.
Prof. E.O Oyedipe in his contribution asserted that FIIRO is a critical Institute for product development and agro-processing without which much cannot be achieved in agro-value chain development. He observed that the major challenge facing agricultural growth in Nigeria is lack of coordination of National Research Institutes (NARIs) across the country and that he believes that the current effort being championed by the Technical Reform Committee of ARCN will address this challenge.
A critical issue that was raised and discussed during the meeting to ensure genuine reform is sustainable policy that will outlive any government or individual Director-General or Executive Director and this requires developing a system that is collaborative where the policy-making process is democratized to ensure full participation.
On a final note, the visiting team commended the leadership of the Institute with a comment that “FIIRO operates professionally”.
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.
On Tuesday 1st September, 2015, the Institute received the Founder/CEO of Motive International and representative of Global Food Exchange (GFE), Ms. Morgan Keay and her team on collaboration drive to pursue an emergency food security initiative for Nigeria that generates revenue for the parties involved while addressing the problem of food and nutrition security.
The multi-party collaboration involves the following parties:
- Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Nigeria;
- Inter-Heritage Promotions Ltd (IHPL), Nigeria;
- Global Food Exchange (GFE) (USA);
- Motive International (USA); and
- PacMoore (USA).
The specific objectives of the collaboration are:
- To create a suite of high-quality, cost-effective food products that can be stored over long periods and deployed during food crises in Nigeria and beyond.
- To identify and market these food products to primary customer segments (i.e. federal government agencies, donor agencies, major relief organizations).
- To identify and enable spin-off business opportunities for customer segments at the household or business-to-business level.
Soy-ogi, a patented technology developed at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research has been identified as an immediate product that meets the objective of the collaboration.
The approach is to take off with contract production of Soy-ogi with Pacmoore, USA to meet initial order from Federal Government Agencies like NEMA and the general public before Pacmoore begins process of technology transfer to establish processing facility with entire life cycle from sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution taking place in Nigeria. The final stage will be to pursue export opportunities for emergency food products produced in Nigeria to other regional markets and customers (i.e. World Food Program, USAID, etc.)
Earlier in her opening remark, the Director-General/CEO FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria Elemo, appreciated the representative of GFE and CEO Motive International and her team for the giant strides taken to curb the challenges of global food crisis most especially provision of emergency food in crisis ridden areas across the world.
Dr. Elemo also reiterated FIIRO management’s commitment to put in place effective synergy and linkage between FIIRO and all the partners involved to ensure huge success of the collaboration. She assured that the outcome of the collaboration shall be win-win for all the parties and a big plus for the Global Emergency Food Programme.
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.
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