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Innovation in Food Value Chains in Nigeria

Siraj Muhammad Funtua



According to a number of dictionaries, innovation is viewed as an act or process of introducing something new as an addition or complete replacement of a common idea, device or method with an unusual solution that meets new requirements or societal needs in a new way. In a dynamic society such as Nigeria, the need to constantly inject an innovative food distribution chain that delivers new or at least improved food products, offering varieties and opportunities of informed choices among the consumers, cannot be over emphasised. In order to achieve a sustainable FDC, there is an absolute need for diversification of Nigeria’s economy from a mono- economy to a multi-economy. One of the most viable value additions to our mismanaged economy is the reactivation of a functional agricultural system.

What is the Status-quo of the Nigerian Food Chain?

Our food distribution chain since the ‘’oil boom’’ and decades ago has been under the control of imported food products from various countries that are in a business deal with Nigerian businesses directly or indirectly. This trend of inflow of imported food products into our nation is destructive to our mono-economy that relies virtually on crude oil. Nigeria has many earthly resources and opportunities in agriculture, as all the states in Nigeria can be used to cultivate one agricultural product, and these can be used in the production of several food products. If the values of these food products are improved by experienced food scientists and food technologists, innovation in food value chains in Nigeria will be achieved and also this will boost the economy of our nation. In this era of advocacy for change by President Muhammadu Buhari, a robust consultation for the professional inputs of the Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) in achieving a sustainable and innovative food distribution chain via a functioning agricultural system is the way to go.

What is the Expectation of Nigeria’s Food Chain?

The Nigerian food distribution chain is supposed to be a reflection of more local food products than imported food products. However, of the numerous local food products in Nigeria, the only 100% local food product that is active in the food distribution chain of Nigeria is cassava flour. The Government should encourage food scientists and technologists to ensure that our food distribution chain is showcasing and distributing made-in-Nigeria food products to a high degree. This is achievable, but requires a bold step. The Bill for the establishment of a Nigerian Council of Food Science and Technology (NCFST) is long over-due for passage into law by the National Assembly. The Presidency, in full understanding of the importance of this Bill to our nation, should expedite action to ensure that this Bill is passed into law as soon as possible.

How Can Nigeria’s Food Value Chain be Improved?

Food scientists and technologists from NIFST should be mandated to drive the affairs of the food sector from farm-to-fork or from plough-to-plate in conjunction with agricultural scientists and technologists. An agency, such as the Food Safety Agency of Nigeria (FSAN), should be established by the Government at three levels (i.e. local, state and Federal) of governance to run and monitor the activities of food plants in Nigeria. Also, regulated food plants, water-based beverages, and potable water production should be under the supervision of professional food scientists and technologists as practiced by some developed nations of the world, including Canada, the UK, USA and Japan. Also, existing relevant government agencies, such as the Nigeria Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control and Consumer Protection Commission should be encouraged by the government to include experienced food scientists and technologists to assist in effective monitoring and periodic assessment of factories involved in the production of regulated food products.

In addition to the establishment of relevant agencies, additional Food Research Centres (FRCs) should be established and equipped with modern equipment by the government and non-governmental agencies so that the local food products can be improved to compete with the imported food products. Also, higher Institutions of learning should be linked directly to production industries. Ideally there should be research links between the higher education institutes and the agrofood industries for effective and reliable innovation in food value chains in Nigeria.


In summary, sustainable innovative food distribution chains are economically desirable for Nigeria’s ailing economy. Therefore an alliance of technical expertise, Government intervention, legislative support, executive assent and judicial monitoring of implementation by competent government agencies are essential for ensuring successful achievement.


Siraj Muhammad Funtua MNIFST is with the Department of Food Science and Technology, Federal Polytechnic, PMB 1012, Kaura-Namoda, Zamfara State, Nigeria; Email:

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IUFoST Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB)



John Spink, PhD
Food Fraud – and the focus on prevention – is an important and evolving food industry focus. Even though the vast majority of these incidents do not have a health hazard in some ways they are more dangerous because the substances and actions are unknown and untraceable.  The types of food fraud stretch the traditional role of food science and technology to include criminology, supply chain traceability and other control systems. The food authenticity and integrity testing will be the most complex actions and their value should be assessed in terms of the contribution to prevention. This Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB) presents an introduction, review of incidents, the fundamentals of prevention which then provide insight on the optimal role of Food Science and Technology.
See IUFoST SIBS below for the complete Food Fraud Prevention Scientific Information Bulletin.






Congratulations Prof. Dr. Purwiyatno Hariyadi

Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Puwiyatno Hariyadi who has been elected to the position of Vice-Chair of the  CODEX Alimentarius Commission.

Dr. Hariyadi is a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST) and Senior scientist, SEAFAST Center; Professor, Dept. Food Science and Technology, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.

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