By Florence Ugbem
Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) has launched five-in-one products to boost agriculture, address post harvest losses and add value to food security in the state and beyond.
The public presentation and launch of fish hatchery, e-commerce, agric exnet, reusable fresh food bags and newly developed food products, CEFTER’s five-in-one products was held Friday at CEFTER Conference Hall, New GRA Makurdi.
In his remark, The Vice Chancellor, Benue State University (BSU), Makurdi, Prof. Tor Joe Iorapuu, expressed delight over the launch of the products, stating that the university will continue to add value to the state in the area of food security and other areas, as they continue to make progress as an institution.
“We want to do something different to add value to the name The Food Basket of the Nation,” he said.
He described the products as innovative, and enjoined the university to popularise the use of the reusable bags, which he noted will help eliminate polythene bags.
Prof. Iorapuu maintained that the university will work towards expansion of the products. He also challenged the university community to be innovative and come up with more ideas that will grow the economy of the institution, and enjoined all to put the knowledge to use and not allow it to waste.
Earlier, in his welcome address, The Centre Leader, Dr Barnabas Ikyo, thanked BSU and Association of Nigerian Universities for their support and the World Bank for funding of the products. He revealed that the five-in-one products presented which include Benue Agricultural Extension Network was in partnership with Benue Agricultural and Rural Development Agency (BNARDA) which has so far trained volunteer agric extension workers across the state.
He further explained that the programme aims to share well researched and published information from BNARDA to farmers via online platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and also to print and distribute to farmers in local communities across the state.
“Extension service in the state will be boosted, and farmers will get the right information at the right time. The programme will enhance more value for farmers, who are in farming businesses, and more value to our crops there will be reduced post harvest losses, including easy way of marketing,” he stressed.
In his remark, Team Leader, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Mr Abioye Oyewale commended the university for providing a platform for CEFTER, and assured the centre of greater partnership.
The five-in-one products launched include: Benue Agric Exnet – Digital agricultural extension network; Four newly developed food products which include salad cream, zoboghurt, cassava flour fermented and cassava flour unfermented, which are targeted at people with special dietary needs and nutritional value.
Others are: New fish hatchery at the BSU where people can go and purchase fingerlings instead of buying from outside the state; Modified and adaptable fresh foods bag that can be used instead of polythene bags used in the market. Bags made from reusable materials; and e-commerce platform that is going to connect farmers, food marketers and consumers, who can stay anywhere in the world and upload their food products and they will be delivered to their doorsteps.