Sunday, March 5, 2017 9:40 pm
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has enjoined consumers to patronise Sympli, a range of locally farmed, processed and packed foods and vegetables that include ‘Yam Fries’, ‘Yam Cubes,’ Plantain ‘Dodo’ and Plantain Chips, which he described as an ‘innovative contribution’ to the challenge of feeding the nation.
He gave the charge in Lagos after his familiarisation visit to the production facilities of Sympli during which he experienced how the brand utilizes Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) technology to deliver farm-fresh local foods and vegetables in ready-to-cook state for frying, steaming or baking.
“I am very happy to see this type of innovative thinking in Nigeria; what Sympli is doing is revolutionary and this kind of value addition is exactly what we need at a time that government is working seriously at addressing the food issue in the country,” Ogbeh said.
The Minister sampled the Sympli products after seeing the process of peeling, chopping and fresh-freezing to retain all the flavour, texture and natural goodness of the foods, all of which reduced food preparation time by at least 40%, said:
“I like the taste of this, it’s still fresh; I’m sure all Nigerians will be excited about Sympli. The convenience is necessary as people get very busy. Keep working at it; we’ll give you our support and we’ll use the Diaspora Office to see how we can propagate this.”
Whilst acknowledging inadequate financing, high interest rates, constant power outages and double taxation as some of several challenges that beset food producers in Nigeria, Ogbeh commended the long-term commitment of the PRIMLAKS Group, producers of the Sympli brand, saying:
“We are very happy with what we have seen here and really congratulate PRIMLAKS Group for their many years of resilience and commitment to Nigeria’s growth. We pledge our support as a government because what they are doing is what we want to see,” adding, “We shall intensify efforts at supporting local food producers and we are hoping that we can keep the interest rates low in the Bank of Agriculture, which we are restructuring.”
Whilst conducting the Agric Minister round the Sympli plant, the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ravi Hemnani, said: “Our goal is to make it easier than ever to cook family favourites and we are getting very positive responses from our customers, both here in Nigeria and in the UK.”
Ogbeh is the second Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to commend the initiative of Sympli to promote the consumption of indigenous foods at home and in the Diaspora. At the 2014 AgrikExpo, his predecessor in office, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, had declared:
“I have always said that one of the reasons our yam production does not boom is because we eat yam in the same old ways as our forefathers; Sympli has shown that we can process yam, quick freeze it and prepare it with its freshness still intact,” adding, “Our people should be proud of our products and eat our products because we are the market for all our farmers’ products, and when we eat what we produce, we entrench inclusive growth.”
The Sympli line comprises a range of products, including yams, plantains, and chillies. Sympli is available at Shoprite, Spar, and The Fish Shop in Nigeria and at Tesco, ASDA and Morrison’s in the UK, along with independent stores in both countries.