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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Driving Change: Summit University, Offa and NSPRI Unite to Combat Post-Harvest Loss and Revolutionize Sweet Potato Preservation


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Summit University, Offa (SUN, Offa) has steadily positioned itself as a research-driven and innovation-promoting institution, fostering a culture of academic excellence and cutting-edge discoveries. This recent visit to the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) marked yet another significant milestone in their pursuit of knowledge, innovation, and collaboration.

Under the competent guidance of Mrs. Muhammed, M.O., the Acting Coordinator of the Research and Innovation Unit, the team from SUN, Offa consisted of esteemed researchers and scholars, including Dr. Akinfenwa, A.O., Dr. Okeme, U., Mr. Faruk, U., and Mrs. Ganiyat Kemi Afolabi-Yusuf. They were joined by enthusiastic members such as Afolabi Rofiat, Ibrahim-Ola Williams, Nafisat Lawal, and Mrs. Aminat Salaudeen from the Innovation and Advanced Science Research Group (IASRG), each contributing their unique expertise to the endeavor.

The team received a warm welcome from Prof. Sanni Oladimeji Lateef, the Executive Director of NSPRI, and his dedicated team. Prof. Lateef expressed his admiration for the efforts of Prof. Abiodun Musa Aibinu, the visionary Vice-Chancellor of Summit University, in repositioning the institution as a center for research and innovation. He commended the fruitful discussions held during a previous visit by Prof. Aibinu and the acting Registrar, Mallam Mustapha, M.A., which explored the possibilities of collaboration and the commercialization of research products.

Prof. Lateef took the opportunity to shed light on the pivotal role NSPRI plays in addressing significant agricultural challenges in Nigeria, particularly in the preservation of farm produce. He shared the Institute’s strategic initiatives and emphasized their commitment to preventing post-harvest losses through the utilization of both traditional and modern approaches. With enthusiasm, he assured the team from SUN, Offa of their readiness to share their expertise, collaborate and familiarize them with the innovative preservation techniques employed by NSPRI.

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Eng. Dr. Omodara, M.A., the Head of Postharvest Engineering Research, then guided the team from Summit University through the impressive array of facilities and research outputs at NSPRI. Notable among them were the advanced post-harvest storage systems, including the Evaporating Cooling System (ECS). Harnessing the power of sunlight to evaporate water and lower air temperature, this cutting-edge technology demonstrated the Institute’s commitment to sustainable and efficient practices. The self-chime solar storage system, a critical component in ensuring uninterrupted essential services, and the inert atmosphere silo, which modified air content using nitrogen to preserve food grains and seeds, also left the team in awe.

In addition to their collaborative efforts, the esteemed team from Summit University and NSPRI will channel their expertise towards the development of groundbreaking products and cutting-edge technologies aimed at preserving the renowned Offa sweet potato. Recognizing the immense value of this local agricultural treasure, the team will embark on extensive research and innovation, employing artificial intelligence-based approaches to combat post-harvest losses and extend the shelf life of sweet potatoes.

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