Unilever Plc and the Federal Institute for Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) are poised to seal an agreement on the commercialisation of some research products.
This was disclosed when a technical team from Unilever Plc visited FIIRO in Lagos, during the week.
FIRRO Director-General Prof Gloria Elemo displayed some research work to the delegation, saying the institute was well endowed to deliver any time, and that it was open to collaborations in various areas.
She called for collaboration with Unilever on product development and commercialisation, adding that the raw materials, crops and technical back-up for exploitation of research results were available in the country and in the right quantity and quality.
Elemo stressed that FIIRO was well positioned to effectively see to the transfer of appropriate technologies that could catalyse industrialisation.
She said this could only be meaningful if organisations like Unilever and individuals looked inwards and invested heavily in the various areas of Research & Development (R&D) products that the Institute hadperfected on.
“Many companies come and pick the technologies we have here and we work with them. You can come and do same. We have a lot of evidence to show our competence in the areas enumerated.
“Today, all the breweries in Nigeria use our technology since sorghum malt replaced barley malt in the brewing industry (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink) and this has saved the country several millions of dollars,” Elemo stressed.
Some of the areas FIIRO boss said Unilever could leverage include food spread (jam and marmalade), cashew nut processing, fruit processing technologies (for fruit juice extraction and bottling ), industrial enzymes production, essential oil extraction, adhesives production, soaps ,cosmetics, and antiseptics.
Responding, the leader of the Unilever delegation, Bridget Mayor, was amazed at the level of activities going on at the institute. She said the visit was an eye-opener to what FIIRO could do, and expressed the company’s readiness to tap into some of the research results.
Mayor, who is the Head, R&D in Food Development Homecare at Unilever, stated that with what the team saw, their only worry would be FIIRO’s readiness in terms of guaranteeing quantity and quality of raw materials, compliance with international standards and technology transfer that could sustain commercialisation.
She specially noted that Unilever was interested in corn and cassava starch production and spices, such as onions and garlic.
“We are ready to partner FIRRO. FIIRRO needs to allay these fears in the above areas for immediate partnership agreement. Design and fabrication, are they world-class? Claim performance test, is it available in terms of infrastructure?” she asked.
The FIIRO chief while assuring the team of world-class standard in its products, however, observed that organisations such as Unilever should ensure effective technology transfer to aid the commercialisation of available raw materials.