…says the institute also trains entrepreneurs on food safety
The management of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) has restated its commitment to actualize the mandate upon which the institute was set up 66 years ago to accelerate the pace of industrial development of the country through research.
The institute was established to assist in accelerating the industrialization of the Nigerian economy through the utilization of the country’s raw materials and upgrading indigenous production technologies and to conduct and promote market-driven research and development for the industrialization and socio-economic development of the country.
The Acting Director General of FIIRO, Dr (Mrs.), Agnes Yemisi Asagbra, in an exclusive interview with the Oracle News in Lagos, recently, said the institute was established to conduct and promote market-driven research and development for the industrialization and socio-economic development of the country.
The institute, she said, was also established to be the foremost centre for Science and Technology-based research and development for the industrialization and socio-economic advancement of the Nation.
Answering question on the menace of cholera and related ailments resulting from food poisoning and pollution , the FIIRO DG said “you should know that FIIRO is the research institution in the country that conducts research on food and agro-allied products . So, here in FIIRO, to show the importance of these, there is a division in FIIRO that is in-charge of food safety and quality management.
“And in this area, there is a division of biotechnology where we have the majority of microbiologists who are into this kind of work, project and analysis. And because of that ,we have projects which are based on food safety.
So, we are aware of this and we make sure that when we have participants who want to learn about our research projects and want to acquire this technology, to set up their own, we put a very critical component into it. So, with this we are able to teach up-coming entrepreneurs how to prepare and have food that is safe.”
Speaking on the area of entrepreneurship development, the eminent scientist said in FIIRO, “our mandate is to industrialise the nation. So, after we have done research in the laboratory, we ascertain that this project is able to be taken up by the entrepreneurs.
“ Because if we do all the researches and they are left in the bench we are not helping the country. In fluffing our mandate and mission we are very passionate in transferring knowledge to the would-be entrepreneurs. We have about 250 technologists.”
Answering question on what FIIRO has been doing to promote the academic and career wellbeing young scientists when viewed from the angle of mentoring and internship activities, she said that the institute has done quite a lot.
“ If you observe, you will find a lot of intakes into the institute; we make sure they are allowed to go for their Masters and subsequently go for their PhD programmes. The institute does partial sponsorship of the students. Usually, the kind of research they go for, is related to what they are doing in the institute; the kind of research that is present in the institute.
‘The institute is able to able help them and support them when the need arises. We also send them outside the country where they can carry out their research ,” she said.
Current areas of focus in FIIRO include: Research and Development of Food and Agro – Allied Processing Technologies, Research and Development into Pulp and Paper Processing, Research and Development into Packaging and Product Design and Design and Fabrication of Equipment Prototype.
Dr Asagbra said FIIRO has the broad mandate of accelerating industrialization in Nigeria and has over the years developed technologies that have promoted the ideals of entrepreneurship development.
Among the functions of FIIRO are : to assist in accelerating the industrialization of the Nigerian economy through finding utilization for the country’s raw materials and upgrading indigenous production technologies specifically to identifying and characterizing local raw materials for use in industries, develop appropriate technologies.
Others include upgrading indigenous technologies in the area of food and agro-allied processing and in various non-food us, develop pilot scale operations ,assists in the transfer, adaptation and utilization of these technologies by local enterprises and Undertake economic evaluation of projects and consultancy services.
FIIRO is the idea of an economic mission sent to Nigeria in 1953 by the World Bank. The mission’s observation was that industrial research activities in Nigeria were diffused and uncoordinated with no definite direction. Consequently, a decision was reached to establish the Institute in 1956.
With a broad mandate of accelerating industrialization in Nigeria, FIIRO has over the years developed technologies that promote entrepreneurship development.
The institute sources alternative raw materials for local industries, thereby conserving foreign exchange. Through adequate food processing techniques, we have added value to our indigenous agricultural products, equipment, and many more.
The Institute employs a diversity of staff which includes: food scientists, microbiologists/biotechnologists, industrial chemists, analysts, metallurgists, scientists; mechanical, agricultural, electrical and chemical engineers, agricultural economists, complemented by administrative and accounting staff, operation researchers, economists, information scientists, computer scientists, and librarians.