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The Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST), Western Chapter, has raised concern over the indulgence of Nigerians in imported foreign foods instead of indigenous and organic options.

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the 2023 Regional Food Science and Technology Summit (ReFoSTS) held in Abeokuta, Ogun State, and made available to DAILY POST on Monday.

Experts at the summit, themed ‘Indigenous Foods for Global Markets: Innovation, Safety and Entrepreneurship’, held that there are prospects for Nigeria’s indigenous foods to achieve global recognition, stating, however, that innovation is important to the survival of these indigenous foods.

According to the communique signed by the Chairman, NIFST Western Chapter, Dr. Ganiyat Olatunde and the Secretary, Michael Oyelakin, there are certain observed challenges preventing indigenous foods from attaining global recognition, which must be surmounted.

In the communique, the experts regretted that “there has been a shift in the eating pattern of people over the years, particularly, from indigenous food consumption to imported ones.”

As a result, “the Summit recommended that the consumption of indigenous food commodities be encouraged in various household levels.”

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The communique emphasised that there are many indigenous foods peculiar to diverse tribes and regions in Nigeria but the foods have not been formally documented for people to know the processing procedures and other information related to them.

The Summit then recommended that efforts be made to develop an inventory of all indigenous foods in the country.

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The experts frowned at the nonavailability of adequate modern tools in various Institutions and Research Institutes, calling on the government to provide adequate funding to assist “our researchers in the generation of reliable data on quality characteristics and safety of indigenous foods.”

The communique partly read further: “The Summit recommended that our various indigenous foods be standardized in terms of processing procedures, quality characteristics, and safety indices.

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“The current status of sales/hawking of our indigenous foods, as well as the marketing environment, is below acceptable standard as our local markets lack basic infrastructural facilities/amenities such as public toilets, pipe-borne water, and good storage structures.

“The Summit, therefore, suggests that all tiers of government (federal, state and local), Agricultural and Health Ministries be involved in the strengthening of indigenous food production, promotion, safety, and marketing.

Source: DAILY POST

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