Federal Ministry of Science & Technology, FIIRO and NASCO Foods Ltd. Sign MoU on Commercial Production of High Nutrient Density Biscuit for School Feeding Programme
The event started about 11.45am at the Minister’s Conference room with the Hon. Minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu as the Chairman. The event was anchored by the Deputy Director Press, Mr. Akinyemi who introduced the Hon. Minister, the Permanent Secretary, the DG/CEO FIIRO, Directors and Principal Officers of the Ministry who were present at the occasion. He also took time to introduce the DG/CEO, National Office Technology Acquisition and Patenting (NOTAP), Dr. Ibrahim and the DG/CEO, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof. Haruna who were also present at the occasion.
After the introduction of men of the press (which include NTA, AIT, Channels TV, TVC, Guardian, The Nation, Sun, Tribune, Leadership, Aljazeera, VOA, VON, FRCN, Nigerian Pilot, Daily Trust, BBC, and so on), he politely asked the FIIRO team and the Nasco team to do self introduction. On the Nasco’s team were: Alh. Sani Ibrahim, the Representative of Chairman; Mr. Idris Nasreddin, the Managing Director; Mr. Shehu Nyelong, the Admin. Manager and Mr. James Nwunze, the Marketing Manager. On the FIIRO team were: Dr. Dele Oyeku – Director, Extension & Linkage; Dr. O. Oluwole – Director, Food Technology; Mr. J.O Oderinde – Director – Finance & Accounts; Mr. T.O Ajayi, Deputy Director – Planning, Research & Statistics; Mrs. I.O Layode – Deputy Director and Head, Abuja Liaison Office and Mr. Patrick Usen, CEO, Inter-Heritage Promotion (a Consultant to FIIRO).
The Permanent Secretary, FMST, Dr. (Mrs.) Habiba Lawal delivered the welcome address and stated the purpose of the gathering which was to sign the MoU between FMST/FIIRO and Nasco Foods Limited on Commercial production of High Nutrient Density (HND) biscuit intended for the National School Feeding Programme.
After the welcome address by the Permanent Secretary, the Director-General/CEO, FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) G.N Elemo spoke about the product. Dr. (Mrs.) Elemo said the journey towards development of the High Nutrient Density (HND) biscuit started way back in 2007. She said the project was a key project under the Institute’s Food and Nutrition Security Programme conceived out of the need to address the increasing food and nutrition insecurity which have become a major concern especially for children between the ages 5 and 13 who are mainly primary school pupils.
The DG/CEO FIIRO said the product has obvious advantage at addressing food and nutrition insecurity of school age children because the product can meet one third of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for both macro and micro nutrients for school age children (ages 5 – 13years). In concluding her remarks about the product, the DG/CEO FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) G.N Elemo expressed sincere appreciation to the Hon. Minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu for championing the course of the project and for believing in FIIRO and its ability as an agent of change for job creation, wealth creation, and national prosperity. She assured the Hon. Minister that with Nasco Foods Limited and Inter-Heritage Promotion Limited in the partnership nothing will go wrong with the National School Feeding Programme. She also commended the entire leadership of the Federal Ministry of Science & Technology most especially to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. (Mrs.) Habiba Lawal for providing the driving force for the project.
On partnership that works, the Chairman, Nasco Group represented by Alh. Sani Ibrahim tendered the apology of the Chairman, Nasco Group for not being able to attend the ceremony. The Chairman said NASCO Foods Limited is an indigenous company that has been in existence for about 50years with adequate capacity and experience to produce biscuit products to feed estimated 25million children in public primary schools under the National School Feeding Programme on daily basis. He further said that Nasco Group has a lot of experience working with government to deliver effectively on government projects as was done especially during the PTF programme on production and supply of quality rugs in Federal government teaching hospitals all over Nigeria. The Managing Director, Nasco Group, Mr. Idris Nasreddin corroborated the Chairman’s remarks; he said that Nasco has the wherewithal to produce the HND biscuit with all safety consideration to ensure product safety. He further said that the company is ISO compliant with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) put in place to ensure product standardization and safety.
Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, the Hon. Minister of Science and Technology, during his keynote address at the occasion, said the signing of MoU between the Federal Ministry of Science & Technology and Nasco Foods Limited to commercially produce the HND biscuit is a boost to the National School Feeding Programme of the Federal government.
He said the MoU signing was necessary to begin the implementation process of HND biscuit for the National School Feeding Programme targeting about 25million pupils in public primary schools in Nigeria. The Hon. Minister said the HND biscuit is one of the 250 products of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, Lagos, which will meet, at least one third recommended dietary allowance to address the challenge of nutrition insecurity, enhance school enrolment, increase retention ability of pupils as well as enhance cognitive ability of the children who are future leaders. The Hon. Minister expressed his satisfaction with the activities of FIIRO and said the leadership of the Institute under the DG/CEO, Dr. (Mrs.) G.N Elemo deserves commendation of the Federal government for coming to the rescue by providing indigenous product suitable for the National School Feeding Programme at this moment of our national history.