The federal government, at the weekend, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NASCO Food limited, Jos, Plateau State, for commercial production of high nutrient density biscuits to feed about 30 million school children below the age of 13.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who spoke at the signing ceremony in Abuja, said the MoU was necessary in order to advance the implementation process of government desire to enhance a healthy development of children through the programme.
While the project will address the lack of vital vitamins in children’s food, the minister said it was also conceived out of the need to tackle the increasing food challenges facing children in primary school between the ages of five and 13 years.
“This is surely the best way to go as the nation is giving serious attention to utilisation of indigenous technologies as a potent strategy to diversify the economy to provide alternative revenue sources.
“In this process, jobs will be created, wealth will be generated and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), will be enhanced through the productive sector of the economy,” he said.
According to him, the high nutrient density biscuits were one of the products of Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos, which would meet at least one- third recommended dietary allowance of Pupils.
In a remark, the General Manager of NASCO Foods, Mr. Ibrahim Sani, thanked the ministry for counting the company worthy to partner with it in the commercial production of the biscuits.
Sani, said NASCO Foods limited is an indigenous company that has contributed immensely to the economic development of Nigeria in its 50 years of existence.
The wholly indigenous company, according to him, has capacity and experience to produce biscuit products to feed estimated 25 million children in public primary schools across the country.
Also in a brief remark, the Director General,, FIIRO, Mrs Gloria Elemo, said the mandate of the institute was to carry out research and development into food and agro-allied processing technologies.
She said: “The signing of MoU signifies the technical commencement of strategic partnership with NASCO Foods to fully commercialise the biscuits production technology.
“The biscuit is developed from indigenous crops which reflect the nation’s best in terms of foods security, safety and standard which will be commercially produced with this arrangement.”