Researchers from the Michigan State University, United States of America; the University of Ibadan; the Oyo State Government, and the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, have commenced research on modern ways of preserving perishable foods, especially fish, vegetable and other consumables. The project, which is aimed at providing food for Nigerians, is sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Speaking at the launch of the project at the University of Ibadan, a Professor of Agriculture, Food and Research from the Michigan State University, Dave Tschirley, said the project would involve all stakeholders in the food value chain.
On her part, the project coordinator, Dr. Saweda Liverpool-Tasie, said it would take five years, adding that the team had been meeting with stakeholders in Nigeria. “We have established our national advisory committee and chosen our candidate as a research team. We have constituted our research team for the few years of the project. We have been having meetings with stakeholders to understand the context we are in Nigeria, which will guide us for the three steps of the research. Tomatoes and vegetables are extremely important in Nigeria in terms of source of foods in the Nigerian diet. Looking at the people’s consumption pattern, vegetables are perishable and have a high risk of loss. From the national representative data collected by the NBS (National Bureau of Statistics) and the World Bank, over 70 per cent of Nigerians consume fish or fish products, but their consumption is low when compared with global standards, and is low in North compared to the South”, Liverpool-Tasie noted.