As part of efforts aimed at promoting best practices in Food Safety, Quality and Operations Management, the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNNAB) and Increasing Performance of the Cassava Industry in West and Central Africa Region (IPCI) under the Cassava: Adding Value for Africa 2 Project have organized a training for cassava processors.
The training according to the Resource Person and Postharvest Specialist, Dr. Louise Abayomi of the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), University of Greenwich, United Kingdom is expected to increase efficiency, reduce variability in product quality and optimise potential profits.
The Postharvest Specialist who also noted that the training would put the University’s Integrated Cassava Processing Centre in the right position to be a Regional Cassava Training Centre for Cassava Processors, added that “it is hoped that other countries that are less developed in terms of cassava processing can come here and learn”.
According to her, “there is a number of equipment that has been put here from a number of fabricators in Nigeria and some of the equipment here are actually the best in the market at the moment”.
Enumerating the purpose the training Centre is supposed to serve, Dr Abayomi pointed out that, it is expected to serves as a Business Centre, a training Centre and a Research Centre.
As a Business Centre, she said, “it is supposed to be sustainable and supposed to churn out cassava products, such as Fufu, Garri and so on”.
Speaking on the Second purpose of the training Centre, the Resource person said “people even students within food science should be able to come here and train which enhances their skills before they go out there in the workplaces. So that when they enter the company they are already equipped with the working skills to do a good job”.
Speaking further, Dr Abayomi said “students can come here to process their samples for research. So what I am doing here today is basically trying to implement those best practices that will serve as a Centre of Excellence, so there is a roadmap towards implementation”.
Earlier in his remarks, the Country Manager, C:AVA 2 and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Development, Professor Lateef Sanni described the training as a right step in the right direction as it would enhance the implementation of quality management and ensure the production of safe and wholesome cassava products such as garri, fufu, plantain flour or poundo yam flour.
He revealed that participants would among other modules be trained on hazards associated with food and control measures, identification of Critical Process Parameters (CCPs) and critical limits, monitoring systems and corrective actions, verification and validation as well as documentation, maintenance and review of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans.
Professor Sanni disclosed that “once the staff are trained and they imbibe the culture of quality management system, the resultant effect or outcome is that consumers, staff, students, well-wishers and stakeholders in FUNAAB are assured of quality and safe cassava products and if we are able to do that it means the fufu factory will have more patronage and we will also make more money that will form part of our internally generated revenue”.