Expert advises food industries to embrace technology

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Akinwumi-AdesinaFood industries in Nigeria have been urged to seek knowledge in the latest sustainable packaging and processing technology in order to prevent wastages and losses.

A representative of Messe Düsseldorf, a German company, Mr. Akhigbe Itua, stressed this at an interactive session with stakeholders in the food industry in Lagos on Wednesday.

He said entrepreneurs in the subsector should be aware of new concepts, which contribute to efficient use of food resources, noting that processing and packaging problems usually resulted in food losses and wastages, hence affecting the productivity of the subsector.

At the session, which was to create awareness for the Interpack Trade Fair, Itua said the fair would provide a unique forum for exchange of latest ideas, innovative concepts and technological visions.

He said the 2014 ‘innovationparc’ packaging would be dedicated explicitly to reducing food losses around the world and Nigeria in particular in order to fight hunger.

He said, “Interpack Trade Fair will provide a platform for learning about machine manufacturing and efficient ways of processing and packaging of consumables. People will learn the trends in packaging and processing to give a clearer picture of the direction in which the industry is moving.

“It is also an avenue for exhibitors to present their innovations in the packaging and processing technology, find solutions to processing problems for the entire supply chain from storage to hygiene, transport, recycling and complete traceability.”

He explained that virtually one-third of food worldwide gets wasted, which means 1.3 billion tons is rendered useless because of inappropriate storage, poor transportation conditions and underdeveloped conservation and packaging methods.

Itua said the prospects for the international packaging market were closely linked to the growth of the economy.

He said, “The target groups that will benefit from the trade fair are from the food and beverages, confectionery and bakery, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, consumer goods, services and industrial goods sector.”

He said the Interpack trade fair, which would bring together 2,700 exhibitors from 60 countries, was scheduled to take place in Messe Dusseldorf, Germany in May.

The Managing Director of the Institute of Packaging, Mrs. Kofo Ajelabi, explained the importance of acquiring skills in the packaging of food, especially for small and medium scale enterprises.

She said, “Food packaging for any food producing company is integral to the food sector now and in the future. Small and medium scale enterprises especially, need to be trained to improve their productivity, combat unemployment and poverty in the country.”

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