Experts from the University of Greenwich and the Natural Resource Institute, United Kingdom have rated made-in-Nigeria flash dryers as a good tool for cassava processing that can be exported. The assessment was made by Dr Andrew Graffham, a food safety and quality expert and Dr Andrew Marchant, a consulting engineer also from the institute, when they visited Nobex Technical Industries in Lagos.
The experts were in the country to promote utilisation of cassava in other non-traditional products under the Cassava Adding Value to Africa programme (C: AVA), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. C: AVA involves Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi.
The programme works in collaboration with the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta.
Graffham said: “in connection with what is going on here today, we’ve been working with a range of fabricators here in Nigeria, particularly with Nobex Industries to try and improve the processing equipment that the company produces, to make it more cost efficient and to get a better output, lower cost per tonne and generally improve the quality.
“Nobex has exported one of its products to a commercial factory in Malawi and I believe that there will be a lot more export and i think this is very significant, because this is not Nigeria importing products now, but this is Nigerian made equipment being sold in another country and the people there are very happy with the product,” he said.
He also praised the Bank of Industry for partnering with the company under the Cassava Bread Fund Initiative which has procured about 20 flash dryers for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the country for the production of high quality cassava flour (HQCF).
“Under the programme, we are interested in working with the SMEs, of which there are many across the country, processing equipment and improving the efficiency of them is quite an important area for us. And that has been going on now for more than six years, what you see today and what has been done with the Bank of Industry has been a good collaborative effort.” He said.
According to Marchant, the impact of cassava development in Nigeria was encouraging and has also been felt by the fabricators of the equipment as there are now factories with more machineries and 10 times the number of people that used to work in them.
“Another good thing we see is that the scale and quality of machinery is increasing, it is bigger and better, it would be a nice thing to display imported machineries with what can be produced here and import only what cannot be made here in Nigeria.”
Culled from The Nation (page 39) of Friday, September 19, 2014