Institute Advocates Food Safety Consciousness among Nigerians

Posted by Adaora Anozie

On April 20, 2016

The Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) has called on Nigerians to be conscious of what they eat to minimise the rising health challenges in the country.

The National President of the institute, Mr Chijioke Osuji, made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.

Osuji said that developing food safety consciousness would help the country to attain its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), increase its food exports and ensure food security.

He said it would also help to minimise the rising health challenges bedevilling citizens in the country and assist in boosting food safety.

According to him, the result of these in years to come, will make our food safer for homes, ensure improved export and increased foreign exchange.

“We want food professionals and post harvest specialists to have legal empowerment and backing to help actualise the safety,’’ Osuji said.

The NIFST president stressed the need for the country to accord priority to the job of post harvest officers to encourage and sensitise farmers to meet international standard.

Post harvest officials according to Osuji are agriculture specialists, who guide farmers on the crops to plant and the fertiliser or chemicals that will suit a particular crop.

“If the job of a post harvest agriculture specialist is given priority, it can boost job creation.

“Even if we ignore the safety of our people, we should be mindful of the safety of the food we export.

“The international community is watching, they will not take it likely if we export food that is not safe for their citizens.

“The safety aspect is where their eyes are all the time; the man that will make you achieve that safety perimeter must be a trained post harvest man and food specialist.

“Post harvest man has a say in every part of the value chain for example, before farmers can plant, they must have the right seed, there must be right breeder,’’ he said.

NAN reports that NIFST is the only registered non-profit making body representing food professionals drawn from the academia, industries, government and research Institutes in Nigeria.

Its mission is to harness the abundance of talents, knowledge and skills among food professionals in Nigeria toward food sufficiency and good nutrition for the masses.