The Country Manager, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, GAIN - Dr Francis Aminu and the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN) Development Officer Ms Uduak Igbeka were received at the institute on Friday, 1st July, 2016 by the DG/ CEO, FIIRO Dr Mrs Gloria. N. Elemo
The DG/CEO while welcoming them highlighted the institute's mandate, research activities and achievements over the years. She reiterated that value addition to indigenous food produce will ensure food and nutrition security in the country. Also that the establishment of Rehabilitation Centres and IDP Camps are indicators of the nutritional status of the country which mostly have affected the Children and the Elderly. She further said that FIIRO is willing to collaborate with GAIN on improving nutritional status of children age 5-12 years particularly as they are often neglected during Nutrition planning.
Some of the recent FIIRO’s achievements highlighted especially in the area of Nutrition include: Development of a gruel that contains protein and micronutrients to make a more nutritionally adequate food product (Soy-Ogi). Currently, plans are under way for an American Company to collaborate with FIIRO in scaling-up its production to commercial level; The technology for the production of high Nutrient Density Biscuit together with a nutritional drink for children 5 - 12 years old. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with NASCO Biscuit, Jos for the commercial production of this biscuit known as CHAMP as the Federal Government is considering its incorporation into the National School Feeding Programme. The technology for the production of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in children; Micronutrient Sprinkles for the prevention of hidden hunger (micronutrient deficiency); A Nutraceutical drug, made from the combination of two indigenous legumes, for the management of Sickle-cell Anaemia has been developed. In all, over 250 technologies have been developed and ready for commercialization at FIIRO, while about 70% of these are food-based.
In his response, Dr Aminu thanked the DG for the opportunity given to them to interact with FIIRO. He went further to highlight areas of immediate needs from FIIRO to include commercializing all the afore-mentioned technologies; Product and Recipe formulation. Quality analyses of foods before being put in the market so as to ensure the label claims are right and the need for FIIRO to immediately join the Scaling-up Nutrition Business Network and become a Technical partner. Furthermore, the Country Manager highlighted that GAIN is looking at improving malnutrition not only through the use of RUTF, but is also ready to use supplementary and complementary foods. GAIN is also looking at organising an annual Nutrition - themed fairs where stakeholders in Nutrition and Food producers can meet to interact and exhibit their products.
On her part, Ms Uduak Igbeka stated that SBN is the private sector alliance of the SUN Movement and was established to mobilize and galvanize the global business community to commit to scaling up nutrition; and support SUN countries to engage with business within a multi-stakeholder, country-owned, approach to scaling up nutrition. The SBN is convened by GAIN and the UN World Food Programme (WFP). She stated that SBN seeks to sign in companies across all sectors to improve nutrition in Nigeria. She stressed the need for FIIRO to come on board the network by becoming a technical partner, since according to her, institutes like FIIRO are needed in guiding food production industries in recipe formulations. Moreover, the SBN platform will provide an opportunity to showcase FIIRO as the institute and centre of excellence for nutrition education. There is therefore immediate need to have a FIIRO – GAIN (SBN) partnership with the signing of an MoU between the two organisations.