Nigeria has been looking at ways to create public-private partnerships to increase growth in the West African country; one of those is the High Nutrient Density biscuits for primary school pupils.
The Nigerian government recently signed a memorandum of understanding with NASCO Foods on the production of these biscuits.
"The high nutrient density biscuit which any children between the age of five and 12, by eating a specified quantity of the biscuit will be able to meet at least one third of the nutrient requirements for a day, said Ogbonnaya Onu, Nigeria's Science & Technology Minister.
"It is to make sure that the biscuit is found in the market in very large quantities because it has tremendous potential - school children can use biscuits, the nation is planning to start feeding our students on a daily basis,” said Onu.
It’s a national policy that will be implemented soon said the minister and that the concept has good export potential.
"Our interaction with them revealed that there is a lot that we are doing in terms of research that can be properly channelled and we get the right private sector engagement and intervention can lead to a lot of job creation here and save us cash resources,” said Laoye Jaiyeola, CEO of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.
Jaiyeola added: “It is a tough time for all of us Nigerians - I know that the government is a major consumer in this market, they spend a lot of money and a lot of work that the private sector does.”
On that basis, the ministry looked for the number one confectionery company in the country and found NASCO to be the best option - a company which has been around since 1967.
"We felt that there needed to be an understanding between industries on one hand, research institute on the other hand and then government will be there to provide whatever support that is needed," said the minister.
According to Onu, the NASCO Foods managing director was present when the signing and announced that the company has the capacity and will roll out the product as soon as possible.
It’s very commendable because in these days where foreign exchange (FX) is getting very scarce anything we can do locally, works and so it should be encouraged.
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"Although it is a small step, it is a very important step - we expect that commercialisation of many of our findings will come on board, " said Onu – as he touched on a potential new drug that can reverse epilepsy as one of the things Nigerians can look forward to next.