The Vice Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Professor Maduebibisi Iwe has advised governments at all levels to provide incentives for food processing industry.
Iwe who doubled as President of Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST), noted that this is necessary in order to avert hunger and ensure food security in the country.
The VC spoke on Monday during the opening of NIFST 8th regional food science and technology summit themed “Processing and preservation: A panacea to food security and wealth creation in 21st century” held at the University of Ibadan.
The summit was attended by Professor Abiodun Olapade, Barrister Adepeju Jaiyeoba, Professor Folake Olayinka Henshaw and Mogaji Akin Fagbemi among others.
Iwe who was represented by the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ilorin, Professor Ramat Olayinka, insisted that the federal and and state governments should invest in food processing industry in order to tackle hunger in the country.
He said that food processing industry has a crucial role to play in development of Nigeria’s economy and it needed to be integrated into the country’s strategy for inclusive growth.
He said that governments must provide incentives and create enabling environment that would encourage investments in infrastructure, research, innovation and technology upgrade.
“Government should provide incentives for developing the industry and create 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”.
Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Professor Kayode Adebowale who was represented by Professor Olatunji Oyesile, called on NIFST to address acceptability challenges facing Nigeria local processed foods at the international communities.
Adebowale said most Nigeria processed food don’t passed international standard,adding that most Nigeria processed food got spoiled before getting into other International countries of the world.
He said urgent steps must be taking by all stakeholders in the sector to address the challenges facing the processing industry sector.
The Chairperson of NIFST, Western Chapter, Dr Ganiyat Olayinka Olatunde, said the challenges faced by the food processing and development industry includes inadequate infrastructure,inadequate access to finance, raw materials and lack of proper storage facilities.
Olatunde said that the conference was organised to address these challenges and prefer solutions to surmount the challenges.
She said that NIFST was trying to draw a lot of initiatives in order to meet the farmers and other stakeholders so as to address the issue of food security in Nigeria.
Olatunde assured Nigerians that they would seen the positive effects of their initiatives.
In his keynote address, Mrs Adepeju Jaiyeoba, who described food as centre for human existence that could not be avoided, said Nigeria needed to develop locally made nutritional food for children and stop over dependent on foreign foods that are so expensive.
Other speakers at the occasion includes Prof Abiodun Olapade, Professor Folake Hanshaw and Mogaji Akin Fagbemi.
Highlight of the occasion was representation of award and cutting of founder’s cake.