A team of highly experienced technical staff of NASCO Foods Limited, Jos visited the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi on Wednesday, 13th January, 2016 at the instance of the Hon. Minister, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu for further discussion on the collaborative effort on the National School Feeding Programme. The team was received on arrival by the DG/CEO of FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria N. Elemo and some other top management staff of the Institute including: Director, Chemical, Fibre and Environmental Technology - Dr. Chima Igwe; Director, Food Technology - Dr. (Mrs.) Toyin Oluwole and Director, Extension & Linkage -Dr. Dele Oyeku. On NASCO team were: Technical Director -Alh. Bala Saleh; Supply Chain Director - Alh. Mohammed Shakir; Marketing Manager - Mr. James Iwunze; Category Brand Manager- Mr. Gbolahan Oyenuga and Mr. Haruna Harry Audu – Legal Adviser.
The visit was in respect of the collaborative effort of FMST/FIIRO – NASCO for commercial production of High Nutrient Density (HND) Biscuit developed by FMST through FIIRO for the School Feeding Programme of the Federal Government. The HND biscuit is developed to meet one third Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) requirements of school age children to be produced on commercial basis by NASCO Foods Limited. According to the DG/CEO, FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) G.N Elemo, the collaboration is going to be win- win for all the parties involved and the benefit is enormous from the angle of utilization of indigenous raw materials in the formulation of the biscuits; conservation of foreign exchange; creation of jobs and improvement in enrolments of school children as well as enhancement of mental capacity of the children.
For NASCO team, the decision to partner with FIIRO in the commercial production of the HND Biscuit for the school feeding program was based on FIIRO’s integrity and achievements over the years. The team mentioned that NASCO as an indigenous company has been in existence for about 50years and has the capacity and experience to produce biscuit products to feed estimated 25million children under the National School Feeding Programme on daily basis.
Mr. Patrick Usen of InterHeritage Promotions, another partner in the collaboration, highlighted the negative implications of food being cooked directly by local caterers as a method of home grown school feeding as being embraced by some states in Nigeria. He said that the world best practices should be embraced as being championed by the FMST/FIIRO-NASCO-InterHeritage collaboration.
At the end of the technical session, timelines were drawn for some of the major activities including MoU signing (Wednesday, 20th January, 2016); Commencement of pilot trial runs on NASCO Biscuit production lines (Wednesday, 27th January, 2016); Stakeholders’/Consultative Forum (Thursday, 25th February, 2016) and Product Launch on Thursday, 28th April, 2016.