The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olusola Oyewole (Middle), with the Research Team.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olusola Oyewole (Middle), with the Research Team.

As part of contributions to the Socio-economic development of the country through agricultural findings, the Management of Embrapa, Brazil and the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), are finalising arrangements to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Staff and Students exchange.

The collaborative projects between both institutions tagged Africa-Brazil Innovative Market Place, is expected to reduce the nation’s expense on wheat importation through the utilisation of millet in baking bread and the use of sourdough technique to improve the baking potential of non-wheat flour.

According to the researchers from Embrapa Brazil, Marcos Jose O. Fonseca and DSC Antonio Gomes Soares and FUNAAB Researchers, Adewale Obadina and Abdulrasaq Adebowale of the Department of Food Science Technology, the objectives of the Project titled “Nutritional Properties and Health Functionality of Wholegrain Millet Sourdough (Millet adding value)”, includes to “increase the utilisation of indigenous substrates like millets in baked products especially bread by up to 100 per cent for improved livelihoods among flour millers and bakers and increase in productivity and millet farmers’ income by up to 40 per cent as demand for millet increases”. Others are to improve the nutrition of average Nigerians at lower costs through the popularisation of whole grain bread and to transform the Nigerian baking industry from a wheat importation-dependent one to a self-sustaining industry, with up to 65 per cent increase in earnings for bakeries and improved livelihoods for millet farmers. Also on the Nigerian team is Mojisola Edema, an Associate Professor of Food Microbiology and former staff of the University, now at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA ).

The project, which is for a period of 24 months, would engage methodologies such as collection, processing and analysis of wholegrain millet flours; preparation of millet sourdough; sourdough characterization; sourdough bread making; detailed nutritional analysis of sourdough bread samples, amongst others.