Researcher of the week: Professor Sanni Lateef Oladimeji

Posted by Olutaller Akinwole

On August 30, 2014

DSC_0313Professor SANNI Lateef Oladimeji, born May 21, 1965 is the incumbent Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology, and a serving member, Governing Council of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Nigeria. He graduated from FUNAAB with Second Class Upper Division in the Department of Food Science and Technology in 1990.  He obtained Master and PhD degrees at the Department of Food Technology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 1993 and 1999 respectively. He joined FUNAAB in 1993 as Assistant Lecturer and became Professor (Food Science and Technology) in 2008. Sanni became the First Alumnus to bag PhD, Professor and now Dean. He has similarly served as Head of Department of Food Science and Technology, Director of A.G. Leventis Memorial Centre for Learning (LEMCEL), and Deputy Director, Institute for Human Resources Development (INHURD) (formerly CENHURD), FUNAAB.

He is in the editorial board of the International Journal of Food Science and Technology since 2005. He is a Scientific and Technical Committee member of the Council of Agricultural Forum in West Africa (CORAF/WECARD). Sanni is the President, Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology; President, International Society of Tropical Root Crops, African Branch, Secretary/Treasurer, World body of ISTRC and President, FUNAAB Alumni Association.

He had received academic awards and research grants (either singly or as partner) from International donors such as World Bank, International Foundation for Science, Sweden, Department for International Development, European Union and Gates Foundation. Sanni won the 2008 Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Award Regional Technology Development in Sub Saharan Africa (; Research Productivity Award (Senior Academic Category) in January 2011 and Most Outstanding International Ambassador in January 2012 of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.  He contributed to the emergence of World Bank Centre of Excellence in Agriculture and sustainable environment in 2013 for the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta as the Leader (Food Processing and Value Addition); World Bank Sponsored Project titled “Upscaling the Nigerian Flash Drying Experience for Sustainable Regional Trade and Income generation in West Africa” (Ghana, Benin Republic, Sierra-Leone, Nigeria) (2013-2016).

He is the Country Manager for Nigeria in a five-Country project; Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (C: AVA1, & II) sponsored by Gates Foundation, from May 2008 to date. Country Coordinator, EU- Improving the livelihoods of smallholder cassava farmers through better access to growth markets (CassavaGmarkets); EU- Grants from Losses of Root and Tuber Crops (GRATITUDE); European union-African Caribbean Pacific (EU-ACP) Science Technology Capacity Building Project, Nov 2009 – October, 2012 in collaboration with the Greenwich University/Natural Resources Institute, Chatham

He was the Project Coordinator, IITA-Cassava Value Chain Development project in West Africa, covering Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin Republic; a three-year project, sponsored by the Common Fund for Commodities from August 2008 – March, 2012. He was also the principal Investigator, Food Developers Initiative in Nigeria, Benin and Sierra Leone (2008-2010) and Food Science and Nutrition Network in West Africa (2010- 2011) under the sponsorship of Association of African Universities/UK DFID.

He started his research career with the design, fabrication and test performance of flat bed solar dryer using okra and yam chips, later tested cassava chips with forced cabinet dryer and optimizing quality properties in cassava fufu. He later successfully established the effectiveness of solar dryers for locust bean and cat fish and proceeded to ascertain effectiveness of the use of foam-mat techniques for drying of tomato. Prediction of absorption of soybean was also investigated.  Production and quality of yoghurt from melon seeds was very successful. One major research achievement of the researcher is on the upgrading of traditional wet fufu into convenience and shelf stable and acceptable instant flour for urban markets. This was achieved system design and optimization, various equations for predicting quality properties of cassava fufu at different temperatures, relative humidity and air flow have been reported.  Prediction of storage properties of cassava products have been reported by the researcher. Moisture sorption characteristics at different temperatures and water activities have been used to predict best fit for cassava and fortified cassava products with the use of different statistical packages. A tool that is handy for the training of undergraduate and graduate students.  Sanni also engaged in product development looking into fermentation, milling systems, texture improvers, acid modifiers, inclusion of food grade palm oil, and economic feasibility of the cassava instant fufu flour. Soy-fortification of cassava products at different levels have been investigated and reported in various publications. Microbial and nutritional qualities of street foods including fufu and gari from cassava in Abeokuta, Ogun State have been investigated and reported in reputable journals. Food safety and environmental issues especially in cassava as it affects commercialization of dried products were investigated.

He had experience in teaching, research and extension activities on processing, storage and quality handling of foods.  He had published a personal book (Quality Assurance System in the Food Industry), edited a book (Research Methodology for Young Scientists), co-authored 27 Books and contributed 83 Journal articles, 8 Technical reports, and 26 conference proceedings to various National and International Journals, conferences and workshops.  Prof Sanni Lateef had produced either singly or as co-supervisor over 14 PhD and 18 MSc graduates.  The highlighted sponsored projects are currently supporting over 20 postgraduate students in FUNAAB.

Sanni’ stint at IITA as a Post Harvest Specialist for the Integrated Cassava project and NRI UK value added projects launched him as a major postharvest technical hub of the Presidential Initiative and Transformation Agenda on cassava in Nigeria since 2004 to date.  He is a star mentor to African Women in Agricultural Research and Development [ He is surely an erudite scholar, passionate innovator, a team player, dedicated researcher and role model in sustainable development.

Source: UNAB