CEFTER’s 2023 FOOD WEEK AND EXHIBITION: SHOWCASING SCIENTIFIC INNOVATIONS FOR CONTROL OF POSTHARVEST FOOD LOSSES IN WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA
By Jacob Shagbaor Suemo
CEFTER recently assembled key stakeholders in the Nigerian agricultural value chain to her official complex to witness this year’s annual student activity – FOOD WEEK and Exhibition. The expectation was to have distinguished invited guests assess the food processing technologies invented by students using Centre facilities and laboratories.
Declaring the ceremony opened, the Vice Chancellor Benue State University, Prof. Joe-Tor Iorapuu who was represented by the Dean Faculty of Sciences Prof Bernard Atu expressed satisfaction at the quality of efforts that had gone into preparing and organizing the ceremony by the various groups describing it as a product of the commitment and visionary leadership of the Centre.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Centre Leader and Director CEFTER, Dr. Barnabas Ikyo explained that the student activity was aimed at exposing students to practical problem solving platforms targeting product development from common food crops.
The Centre Leader revealed that products exhibited by the students had been processed in quality laboratories with world class equipment and very healthy production environments. He assured that CEFTER would note the novelty displayed by the students and properly document and eventually develop same accordingly in the light of the postharvest control areas targeted by the innovations.
In her remarks before leading distinguished invited guests to the exhibition stand, the Deputy Centre Leader and Deputy Director Operations Prof. Gillian Ogbene Igbum said the students were divided into seven groups and assigned mentors respectively to guide them along the processing stages of their assigned food crops up to the exhibition of the finished products.
Prof. Igbum emphasized that the Centre takes the event seriously because the products developed were born out of carefully applied scientific research protocols and laboratory sessions.
The students had in the cause of the food week been exposed to various lecture sessions from hired professional consultants in various fields including, food processing, budgeting, patenting, royalties and food marketing.
In attendance at the event in representative capacities were the Hon Commissioners for Benue State Ministries of; Agriculture and Natural resources, Trade and Investment and the ministry of Education. All of the representatives appreciated CEFTER Leadership for the initiative and called for the greater participation of industry players to power the innovations into projects that would collectively enhance the agricultural value chain of the West African sub region.
Other CEFTER Partners in attendance were the Rector, Akperan Orshi Polytechnic Gboko, SERAPH Oil, Hule and sons and BERNADA respectively among others.
Highlights of the occasion were goodwill messages form invited guests, a tour of the exhibition tables and presentation from the seven group leaders and group pictures.