The Product development Programme (PDProg) is one of the ten (10) programmes of NRCRI, Umudike. The PDprog is involved in handling root/tuber crops after field or cultivation activities had ended. The perishability of agricultural produce cannot be over emphasized, hence the PDProg is involved with the activities that turn agricultural produce (particularly root/tuber crops) into products with improved shelf-life, new food forms and marketable forms that can help the farmer earn more income, meet home food needs and also serve commercial and industrial purposes. Consequent upon this, PDProg is involved in research and training activities into processing, preservation, storage and utilization of the Institute’s mandate crops. For effective performance of these duties the programme is partitioned into the following components:
The Women-In-Agriculture Unit
Here all value addition to root/tuber crops(various forms of processing/product development), preservation and some storage activities take place.
This unit also promotes the activities of NRCRI through trainings, exhibitions, participation in Field Days and income generation through the sales of value-added products of root/tuber crops. Other activities of this Unit are dissemination of the Institute’s activities to farmers through radio, T. V. and print media programmes in both national and local media activities and rural extension services.
Gari Processing Centre
This centre exhibits the modern technology in gari processing. It also serves a training point in gari processing technology. This centre generates income for the Institute through processing gari for the public for a fee.
Cassava Processing Centre
This centre is where High Quality Cassava Flour, cassava fufu flour and other flours from root/tuber crops are produced. In this centre, all research and training activities into various flour productions are carried out. The centre has been repositioned to serve as an income generating point for the Institute.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
Some of the notable achievements are:
- The programme pioneered the development of new food products from cassava in Nigeria (Oji, 1989) and cocoyam Mbanaso and Akomas (1986).
Development of 28 value-added food forms of sweetpotato (Aniedu and Oti 2007).
- Development of over 26 value-added products cassava (recipes) (Aniedu and Oti 2008).
- Development of over 22value-added products of cocoyams (Aniedu and Oti 2009).
- Development of over 24 value-added products of wateryam (Aniedu and Oti 2011).
- Production of various types of ginger blended fruit drinks and candies.
Development of numerous food forms of minor root crops such as hausa potato, turmeric, amora, etc.
- Development of different food forms of American Yam Bean roots.
Various fortification of root and tuber crop food with underutilized and less known crops eg African Yam bean, soybean, Bambara nuts, etc.
- Determination of physico-chemical properties and food uses of NRCRI mandate crops
- Production of drinks from orange fleshed sweetpotato and the utilization of sweetpotato leaves as vegetables.
- Training of women/youth/farmers on value addition innovations to farm produce in over 250 communities/Organizations across Southeast, South-south, North-central and other parts of Nigeria.
- Impact and adoption studies of trainings in value added innovations in root/tuber crops 5 states of Nigeria.
- The programme conducted training of Master Bakers in Nigeria in conjunction with Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development on 20% HQCF inclusion in bread making and in setting standards for the operations of HQCF production in the country.
- The programme in conjunction with the Extension Services Programme, promote the activities of the Institute through exhibition of innovations developed by NRCRI, Umudike during World Food Days (at Abuja and Abia State), Field Days, trade fairs, etc. It is important to note that in all the exhibitions, NRCRI, Umudike had taken the first position or adjudged one of the best food exhibitors.
- The programme is also involved in dissemination of the Institute’s activities to farmers through radio, print media and T. V. programme in international, national and local media activities.
- Determination of new food forms of D. dumentorum (an under-utilized yam)
The students/groups/individuals visit the programme on educational tours.
The programme generates revenue for the Institute through the sales of value-added products of root/tuber crops and processing activities open for public patronage.