AN ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (NIFST) DR. CHIJIOKE OSUJI TO THE 39TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND GENERAL MEETING ON 14TH OCTOBER, 2015.

Posted by Adaora Anozie

On November 5, 2015

Protocol

 

It is always exciting to meet once again at yet another NIFST Conference. This conference is even more exciting when considering that the 2015 NIFST Conference is one of those rare Conferences that is hosted by the home city of the NIFST National President. It is a pleasure to note that by hosting this Conference Owerri has proudly enlisted among the cities of Nigeria that has hosted NIFST for a record 3 times. The last time we attended the NIFST annual conference in Owerri was in 2002. During this space of 13 years there has been a considerable growth and change in NIFST. Since then we have become the largest resource base of food expertise in Africa. We have become one of the most important contributors to food policy issues in Nigeria. We hold the bulk of hope for the diversification of the Nigeria economy through agriculture.  NIFSTers by virtue of their strategic position along the food supply chain is the most influential group of professionals needed for the development of the Nigeria food commodity value chains. We have a large share of resource persons, experts and consultants serving the government, industry, academia and research.

The theme for this year’s conference “Food Industrialization; A Pathway to Agribusiness Transformation” is indeed very appropriate at this time due to the pressing need to exploit the country’s huge agricultural potential for the diversification of the economy. Promoting value addition in the downstream end of the agriculture sector with all the industries is the key to optimizing the benefits of agricultural sector development. It is only when we begin to convert agricultural commodities into value added products that the value chain begins to move. All the talk about the development of the agriculture sector must practically end in the production of food products especially pre-packaged food products before it can be fully realized. Therefore we must always support our Food Scientists and Technologists to lead in the Food Industrialization process.

I wish to congratulate the Imo State Government for the initiative to revive Agribusiness especially the efforts to fully rehabilitate the Avutu Poultry Project which is reputed to be the largest such poultry project complete with modern poultry processing and packaging equipment facilities in sub-Sahara. NIFST is ready to partner with Imo State to develop viable value addition businesses and to ensure that the cargo international airport becomes functional for export of value added food products.  I call on the federal government to initiate a programme that will support youths to start small scale food processing, packaging and marketing enterprises in clusters for intensified value addition businesses. They will be supported with relevant technical and management training, provision of efficient processing equipment as well as market development. I also want to call on the National Assembly to pass the bill for the establishment of the Nigerian Council of Food Science and Technology (NCFST). The food supply chain is not only a national development issue it is also major global trade and business concern. I call on the government at all levels to give Food Scientists and Technologists a chance to apply their knowledge and expertise towards ending the embarrassment of imposition of ban on agricultural export products.

Food Security is our calling adding value to food is our duty.

Long live NIFST!

Long Live Imo State!!

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!