Impacting Refugee Lives: A Focus on CEFTER’s Transformative Efforts in Food Technology Education in Nigeria

The global refugee population, reported by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at 36.4 million, primarily resides in low- and middle-income countries, including Africa. Despite their significant presence, access to higher education for refugee youth remains severely limited. UNHCR data indicates that only 7% of refugee youth globally are enrolled in higher education, with even lower enrollment rates in sub-Saharan Africa, while according to UNESCO’s findings, only 1% of refugee students worldwide have access to scholarships for higher education. These stark figures underscore the urgent need to address the systemic barriers hindering refugee education across the continent.

Against this background, the Center for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) emerges as the beacon of hope, implementing life-changing interventions to transform the lives of refugees.  Hosted by the Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria, under the Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) project, CEFTER is addressing the challenges associated with refugee education and making a substantial difference in the lives of refugee students.

Aligned with the ACE Impact project’s target of strengthening the capacity of the 53 participating centres to address regional challenges, and deliver quality training and applied research, CEFTER identified a key challenge based on its geographical location and proximity to Cameroon. This revolves around the lack of higher education access for Cameroonian refugees who seek asylum in Nigeria. Since 2016, CEFTER has been actively spearheading initiatives to tackle this obstacle and make a tangible difference in the lives of Cameroonian refugee students.

CEFTER’s Trailblazing Interventions in Supporting Refugee Education

Established in 2014 to address the challenges of post-harvest losses of food crops in the West and Central Africa sub-region, CEFTER has been promoting teaching, research, and extension in post-harvest sciences. This Centre of Excellence focuses on enhancing agricultural production and promoting the exposure of its students to industrial processing of food and food product development.   The primary thematic disciplines of CEFTER include the control of post-harvest food losses, physiology and management, food science, preservation and processing technologies and the socio-economic aspect of food research and technology.

With a huge influx of asylum seekers from Cameroon crossing over to Nigeria, issues around food access, food safety, nutrition safety and general health and safety were identified as critical by CEFTER as part of its needs assessment of the refugee population in Nigeria. The UNHCR’s registry of Asylum Seekers in Nigeria put the official figure of registered Asylum Seekers from Cameroon at 20,485 in 2018, with the 2023 data reporting an estimated figure of about 87, 000.

The Center for Food Technology and Research strategically intervened in the identified issues related to food, by taking its short-courses program, already being run across the country, to the refugee population to ensure their overall wellbeing.  Short courses related to food handling, food safety, food processing and packaging to promote the reduction of losses and safe handling of food were offered to this group.

Some certified participants of CEFTER’s short-term courses in food research and technology
Some certified participants of CEFTER’s short-term courses in food research and technology

Prof. Barnabas Achakpa Ikyo, the Centre leader for CEFTER reports that a total of 480 registered refugees have been trained by CEFTER and issued with certificates of competency in the respective capacity building areas. In certain instances, participants have been equipped with start-up machinery and essential raw materials to alleviate financial obstacles associated with start-up capital and to facilitate the launch of their food processing businesses immediately after the training.


Enhanced Refugee Employability through Skills Training

The skills training initiatives by CEFTER has significantly bolstered the employability of the refugees within the culinary industry and other food-focused sectors, making them economically independent, and empowering them to rebuild their lives. Moreover, several beneficiaries have successfully established their own enterprises, specializing in the processing and sale of various food products, thereby actively contributing to the local economy. Notably, the training programs on food processing have yielded remarkable outcomes in minimizing food losses and wastage, leveraging the abundant raw materials such as cassava and plantain available in farming communities, within which the refugee camps are located. These training sessions, led by a team of specialized experts and high-level delegates from CEFTER, including the center’s leadership team, continue to be tailored to address evolving needs. For instance, amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, the center swiftly responded by equipping a cohort of refugees with skills in producing high-demand products like hand sanitizers.


Alumni Impact: CEFTER Empowers Refugee Futures Through MSC and PHD Degrees

Mrs. Agbor Evelyn Agbor, an MSC (Food Processing) graduate of CEFTER is a shining example of the impact these capacity building initiatives have had on the pathway to refugee self-sufficiency.  Her food processing company, AKA FOODs, in Cameroon and Nigeria has not only offered her a job and a source of income, but employed other youths. “I also regularly hold seminars to train youth groups in the community on various issues – including food processing and packaging” – she said.  Mrs. Agbor is currently a PhD student at the Centre for Food Technology and Research, Nigeria.  Her trajectory underscores the profound impact of CEFTER’s degree programmes on refugee empowerment.

Mrs. Agbor Evelyn Agbor, an MSc Food Processing Graduate from CEFTER and Founder of AKA FOODs, a food processing company with presence in Cameroon and Nigeria
Mrs. Agbor Evelyn Agbor, an MSc Food Processing Graduate from CEFTER and Founder of AKA FOODs, a food processing company with presence in Cameroon and Nigeria


As one of several refugees excelling following their participation in degree programmes at CEFTER, Mrs. Agbor’s story reflects the broader commitment of the Centre to empower refugee youth through education. Talented youth from refugee communities were actively encouraged to pursue higher education opportunities offered by the Centre. Through competitive selection processes, 39 refugees from Cameroon have embarked on their academic journeys at CEFTER, with 34 pursuing MSC degrees (comprising 17 males and 17 females) and 5 undertaking PhD programs (including 3 males and 2 females). This commitment to empowering refugee youth through education underscores CEFTER’s dedication to fostering inclusive and impactful academic pathways.

Leveraging Strategic Partnerships in Empowering Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

CEFTER’s interventions in building the capacity of the refugees, have been possible through its continued engagement with various development partners to support its specialized interventions. Currently, its main sources of funding the refugee MSC and PhD students have been the ACE Impact Project – funded by the World Bank, AFD, and the Federal Government of Nigeria. The DAAD also acknowledged CEFTER’s unique model and offered scholarship to some students for a three-year duration.

Beyond the support to refugees from its neighboring country, CEFTER also partners to implement various strategic interventions to internally displaced persons, especially children.  Under this scheme, CEFTER offers products of its spin off factory, such as their soya milk yoghurt, cassava-based biscuits, and other nutrition dense foods to this group of people.

Overall Impact made by CEFTER on the Refugee Population in Nigeria

Through its targeted interventions and holistic approach to addressing the challenges faced by refugees, the Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) has had a profound impact on both the refugee population and the communities in which they reside. By leveraging its expertise in post-harvest sciences and food technology, CEFTER has not only provided essential training and educational opportunities but has also catalyzed economic empowerment and improved public health outcomes.

CEFTER’s commitment to capacity building is exemplified by its robust Masters and PhD programs, which have provided advanced training and education to refugee students from Cameroon. By offering opportunities for higher education, CEFTER has empowered these individuals to acquire specialized skills and knowledge in food processing and technology, positioning them as leaders in their respective fields. The successful graduation of 39 refugees, including Mrs. Agbor Evelyn Agbor, demonstrates the transformative impact of such capacity-building initiatives in fostering self-sufficiency and socio-economic development.

One of the most significant achievements of CEFTER’s intervention has been the marked reduction in food poisoning cases within refugee camps. Through targeted training programs on food handling, safety, and processing techniques, CEFTER has equipped refugees with the necessary knowledge and skills to mitigate foodborne illnesses and ensure the safety of food supplies. This has not only improved the overall health and well-being of the refugee population but has also alleviated the burden on healthcare facilities and resources.

Key Challenges Faced by CEFTER and Recommendations to Deepen Its Support to Refugee Students

One of the primary challenges CEFTER faces is the difficulty in managing the unexpected high turnout of participants during training sessions. While the center, for instance, could plan for only 50 attendees, they often end up accommodating over 100 individuals, straining the available limited resources.  A lack of proper documentation for refugee students is another challenge the centre faces. This includes issues related to verifying their academic credentials, residency status, and eligibility for scholarships or educational programs, inhibiting their access to higher education opportunities. Moreover, funding initiatives aimed at supporting start-ups established by refugee beneficiaries pose a challenge due to limited financial resources. While CEFTER strives to empower refugees to establish their own businesses, securing adequate funding to sustain and scale these initiatives remains a persistent challenge.

Some participants of CEFTER’s low-level capacity-building training in food handling
Some participants of CEFTER’s low-level capacity-building training in food handling


To address the challenge of limited resources and capacity, CEFTER continues to prioritize building strategic partnerships with other organizations, governments, and philanthropic entities, as collaborative efforts are key in helping to sustain and expand the academic support provided to refugees.  ‘Institutions with aligned vision and willing to collaborate with us to deepen our support to the refugee community, are encouraged to get in touch with us to support scale up CEFTER’s intervention to this critical group’ – appealed Prof. Barnabas Achakpa Ikyo, the Centre leader for CEFTER.

Looking ahead, CEFTER aims to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to organize safe return and settlement programs for refugees who wish to return to their home countries voluntarily. These programs will offer support in reintegrating into their communities, accessing education and employment opportunities, and rebuilding their lives.

Again, CEFTER remains available to be engaged by other stakeholders to enhance and diversify the CEFTER model to cater to a broader range of needs within refugee communities. This could involve expanding the scope of training programs to include additional skill sets and areas of expertise relevant to refugee livelihoods and economic empowerment.

Most importantly, increased funding is essential to enable CEFTER to reach more refugee beneficiaries and expand its impact. The center therefore invites international donors, government agencies, and private sector partners to support educational initiatives, start-up ventures, and capacity-building programs for refugees.

Overall, the Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) aims to continue to deepen its impact on the lives of refugee communities in Nigeria and beyond, through collaboration and sustained efforts.

World Bank, UNHCR, AAU deliberate to deepen support for refugee students through the ACE Impact project

In a joint effort to champion inclusivity, The World Bank Group, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Association of African Universities (AAU) have come together under the African Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) project, to create the platform for Africa’s higher education stakeholders to discuss the enhancement of the sector’s support to refugee students.

A cross section of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria
A cross section of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria


The ACE Impact project, being spearheaded by the World Bank since 2019, operates in collaboration with the governments of 11 African countries. Implemented by the AAU, the project aims to empower African higher education institutions to specialize and enhance capacities in key academic fields—STEM, agriculture, environment, health, and education—identified as pivotal drivers of Africa’s development.

ACE Impact-UNHCR Webinar Participants
ACE Impact-UNHCR Webinar Participants


A pivotal moment in this endeavor unfolded during a webinar jointly convened by The World Bank, UNHCR, and AAU on Wednesday, February 7, 2024. The event, attended by over 80 participants from the ACE Impact community, underscored the urgent need to prioritize refugee education and inclusion in Africa’s higher education landscape.

Dr. Sylvia Mkandawire, the Senior Programme Manager for the ACE Impact project, highlighted that this webinar aligns with the project’s proactive partnership drive, previously announced by The World Bank during the 10th ACE Impact stakeholders’ regional workshop in Cote d’Ivoire from October 30 to November 3, 2023. Guided by its objectives, the webinar provided the platform for: (1) Gaining insights into the distinctive capacity needs of refugee students (2) Exploring collaborative opportunities with the UNHCR (3) Learning from direct experiences of ACE Impact Centres that have hosted refugee students (4) Gaining insights from successful models and innovative practices to shape current and future initiatives and create a meaningful impact in the lives of refugee students.

In a compelling presentation, Frankie Randle, Higher Education Specialist at the UNHCR, provided a comprehensive global overview of higher education for refugees. Randle delved into the critical barriers impeding refugees’ access to higher education, shedding light on the perspectives and challenges faced by universities. Offering proactive solutions to address refugee challenges, the presentation also spotlighted inclusive practices implemented by several higher education institutions.

Mr. Randle’s statistics revealed a staggering 36.4 million individuals are currently displaced globally – surpassing the population of Ghana, the second most populous country in West Africa. Highlighting a critical demographic, he pointed out that approximately 13.31% of these refugees, totaling around 4.8 million, fall within the typical age range for university students, which is 18 to 24 years old. Furthermore, Mr. Randle underscored the significant burden on low- and middle-income countries, as a staggering 75% of the 36.4 million refugees, totaling 27.3 million, find refuge in these nations.

Mr. Frankie Randle, UNHCR’s Higher Education Specialist, addressing the webinar
Mr. Frankie Randle, UNHCR’s Higher Education Specialist, addressing the webinar


For the UNHCR, even though refugee higher education enrolment rate has since 2019 increased from 1% to 7%, it is still way below even the 42% average higher education enrolment of all youth globally. And thus, more needs to be done to raise the figures much higher. The UNHCR, supported by its research-based data, also presented about a dozen unfavorable factors that, according to it, come together to contribute to these low numbers of refugee enrolment.

Some of the barriers the UNHCR reported are: (1) Pressure on the youth refugees to contribute to household finances (2) Limited scholarship opportunities for refugees (3) Long distance to higher education institutions, compounded by refugees’ movement restrictions, in some cases (4) Limited financial stability for refugee families to fund higher education and (5) Higher international students’ fees. Others included (6) Refugees’ lack of academic certification required for admission in host countries (7) Lack of reliable power and connectivity for connected higher education programs (8) Low numbers of graduating secondary school refugee students, particularly girls and (9) Barriers that disproportionately affect female refugee enrolment.

Expanding on his insights, Mr. Randle clarified that the challenges mentioned earlier are just a fraction of the numerous obstacles that individuals, refugees and non-refugees alike, encounter while striving for higher education, whether within their home countries or abroad. Under a strategy dubbed “15 by 30,” participants were informed that the UNHCR is targeting to achieve a 15% refugee enrolment in global higher education by the year 2030. To achieve this, the refugee agency outlined its five-point strategy – “The 5 Pillars of Refugee Access to Higher Education –, namely (1) assisting refugee enrolment into national universities, (2) giving them relevant technical and vocational education and training, (3) giving them scholarships to study in third-party countries, (4) Working with many partners in many countries to bring higher education to refugees where ever they are hosted, through a Connected Higher Education program, and (5) providing bachelor-level scholarships to refugees, through the UNHCR Tertiary Scholarship program (DAFI), which has been running for over 30 years now.

To enhance its effort even further, the UNHCR highlighted that it will soon launch what it calls, Each One Take One. Under this initiative, the refugee agency has designed a plan to inspire, motivate, and incentivize tertiary education institutions to create at least one scholarship for one refugee.

During the webinar, the ACE Impact project took center stage with the dynamic representation of two pivotal centers among the 53 actively participating centres of the project. The Center for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER), based at Benue State University in Makurdi, Nigeria, and the African Center of Excellence for Innovative Teaching/Learning of Mathematics and the Sciences for sub-Saharan Africa (CEA-IEA-MS4SSA), hosted by Université Abdou Moumouni in Niger, showcased their approaches and significant contribution in supporting the refugees’ trainings.

The CEA-IEA-MS4SSA, as submitted by its leader, Prof. Saidou Madougou, hosts Nigerian refugees, following the disturbing activities of the Boko Haram insurgent group in Nigeria. According to Prof Madougou, the center has despite several challenges been deliberate about serving the interest of these Nigerian refugees to enable them to complete their programs of study, rather than indulge in nefarious activities now or in the future.

A practical laboratory session of the CEA MS4SSA-UNHCR training
A practical laboratory session of the CEA MS4SSA-UNHCR training


He disclosed the center also trains pre-tertiary refugees to use digital and analogical tools, for example, for measuring electrical current of bulbs. Prof Madougou said trainers from the center have been helping trainees in the refugee camps to use both conventional and non-conventional ways to undertake their experiments and organizes several training sessions per year to help the students prepare for various examinations, resulting in a 73.29% pass rate in their Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE), for example.

Again, in a cost-sharing approach, according to Prof Madougou, the center collaborated with the UNHCR to provide trainers to train refugees from Nigeria, achieving a number of results.

On his part, CEFTER leader, Prof. Barnabas Achakpa Ikyo, who described the engagement and possible partnership with the UNHCR as welcome news, shared key experiences in hosting refugee students and some of the centre’s outreach activities to the refugee camps. CEFTER is hosted by Benue State University in Benue State, Nigeria. According to 2023 UNHCR data presented by Prof. Ikyo, Benue State alone hosts about 10% (8,797) of the 87,000 refugees in Nigeria, owing to the State’s closeness to Cameroon, from where most of these refugees have fled.

Prof. Barnabas Achakpa Ikyo, Center Leader, Center for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER)
Prof. Barnabas Achakpa Ikyo, Center Leader, Center for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER)


As part of its activities geared towards refugees, the center has, since the beginning of its engagement in 2016, trained hundreds of refugees in their camps and certified some on basic nutrition, food safety, food processing, packaging, and value addition. CEFTER has even gone ahead to provide start-up capital and logistics to some entrepreneur refugees. Through this, not only has the center helped protect the raw food materials from going waste, but it has also helped improve the hygienic conditions of refugees’ setting and empowered them to obtain jobs in restaurants and set up businesses within the food value chain.

CEFTER’s achievements have not gone unnoticed, as the DAAD has acknowledged the center’s effective model and offered yearly funding for more beneficiaries in Africa for three years to study master’s and PhD programmes. So far, 39 refugees from Cameroon are enrolled in the center’s post graduate programmes. Out of the number, 34 of them (17 females and 17 males) are pursuing MSc programs, while 5 of them (2 females and 3 males) are pursuing PhD programs. The center has also trained 65 Cameroonians in short-term courses. A total of 489 refugees, comprising 339 females and 150 males, have undertaken CEFTER’s short courses.

Indeed, these results have been achieved not without challenges. One biggest challenge projected by the two centers during their presentations at the webinar is the lack of sufficient funding to sustain the great capacity building and academic support initiatives and the start-up funding for refugees to consolidate the gains made so far. It was thus suggested that centers foster sustainable partnerships that will ensure sustainable cashflows, expand the academic support to refugees, organize effective return programmes for refugees, and improve on the ACE model in general.

In the next phase of the initiative, Dr. Ekua Bentil, Senior Education Specialist and task team leader for ACE Impact at the World Bank, made a compelling appeal to the two centers. She urged them to contemplate expanding their support for refugees within their existing funding or to explore alternative avenues to bolster this commendable initiative.

Dr. Bentil shared with the audience that her team was actively looking into potential funding opportunities within The World Bank’s refugee window. This strategic move forms part of a dedicated effort to elevate the inclusion of refugees in Africa’s higher education landscape.


CEFTER and NRI Deepen Academic Partnership 

The Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) and the Natural Resources Institute have launched a partnership scheme to enhance scientific research. This partnership comes on the back of a successful teaching collaboration that has existed between the two parties for five years.

Under the new research partnership aiming to fund at least five projects, each party will contribute £50,000 in research revenue for the 2023/2024 academic year to grow research excellence.  

The funds generated through the partnership will support innovative research discretions, generating data, and producing outputs that will lead to even expanded collaborative research opportunities. 

The Natural Research Institute (NRI) is a specialized research, development, and education organization of the University of Greenwich, UK, with a focus on food, agriculture, environment, and sustainable livelihoods, which also align with the mandate of the World Bank-funded ACE Impact project. 

In line with the core objectives of its mother ACE Impact project, CEFTER, through this partnership with international academics, will produce rigorous research that will identify innovations and technologies to reduce post-harvest losses in Nigeria and undertake sector-based knowledge exchange to address local, national, and international challenges. 

For their individual contributions to this joint research scheme, CEFTER, which is hosted by Benue State University in Nigeria, will draw funds from its share of the ACE Impact project while NRI will draw from its Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (FaNSI). Together, the funding from the two partners will be used to cover their associated staff time and research costs. 

The research will support applications low-cost potential for success in the following research areas: termite control, innovations in low-cost, post-harvest technologies for smallholder farmers and food processors, nutritional profiling of indigenous foods recommended for diabetic patients, packaging, and transportation of tropical fruits and national food supply forecasting, including import and expert deficits for rice and cassava and quantification of citrus and cassava produce in Benue State, Nigeria. 

Pushing the Frontiers of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Africa’s Higher Education Eco-System

Globalization and internationalization, amongst other factors, have modified the role African universities play in society. Universities are now expected to be highly innovative and entrepreneurial; commercializing their research outcomes and spinning-out new knowledge-based enterprises, collaborating closely with the private sector, and offering advisory services, among a host of other key actions.  The reduction in countries public funds, coupled with the lean government budgets for higher education, demand that higher education innovate and generates external funding to supplement its budget and facilitate meeting overall goals.   

In response to this need, the ACE Impact project is strengthening innovation and entrepreneurship activities in  35 participating universities, while actively contributing to the creation of a pool of highly innovative universities, a crucial group needed to champion Africa’s economic transformation agenda.  Since its inception in 2019, the project has supported the 53 ACE Impact centres to develop robust implementation plans in three core areas – 1) strengthening of technology transfer 2) development of institutional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and 3) innovation-oriented cooperation of research infrastructures.  The prioritization of these key areas is congruous with the Disbursement Linked Indicator 5.3 (DLI 5.3), included in the project to track the successes and results of participating centres in meeting pre-agreed milestones under the critical themes of innovation and entrepreneurship.   

Under this DLI (DLI 5.3), the project, working alongside experts, supported the centres to develop plans and implement activities related to innovation and entrepreneurship.  A thorough review process of centres implementation plans revealed they were at different levels in terms of their institutional innovation ecosystem. centres were advised and empowered to measure their technological institutional readiness for innovation and entrepreneurship.  The centres have been equipped with the requisite tools and information to facilitate the engagement of authorities in their institutions and at the country levels to prioritize innovation.  

The senior consultant and expert in entrepreneurship and innovation at the World Bank, Dr. Danica Ramljakan, provided very pertinent feedback to the centres following the review process, including the recommendation that the centres need to have appropriate Science Technology Innovation (STI) policies in place and ensure its effective implementation. Centres were charged by her to ensure that institutional capacity building for STI management and governance were in place, in addition to establishing efficient models for knowledge transfer to prioritize capacity building.  

The ACE Impact project also charged the centres to define their research and development priorities, develop a roadmap for research infrastructure, and provide sustainable support for innovation development.  Equally important to fostering innovation and entrepreneurial activities were the recommendations to attract the private sector to collaborate and invest in higher education Institutions’’ research and development (R&D), strengthen international collaborations, and inform the general public about the importance of the Centres’ work. 

Centres have already begun to implement key interventions and have recorded significant improvements.   

The Centre of Excellence for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) at the Benue State University, Nigeria, for instance, has established a new Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and appointed a Technology Transfer Officer, as part of its intervention to strengthen the management of innovation and promote entrepreneurship/commercialisation. CEFTER has also instituted a startup grant scheme, to accelerate good business ideas and drive innovation forward. Already, 10 startups with commercialisable ideas have been selected to benefit from this scheme, following a competitive process involving 1,080 applicants. They are set to undergo a three (3) months incubation (booth camp) during which they will interact with experts in different fields for technical support, as well as undergo training on important subjects, including market research, product development, testing and validation, financial modelling, innovator business branding among others.  

The ICT-Driven Knowledge Park (OAK-PARK) at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria developed a non-credit unit course ETR 700 (Engineering Entrepreneurship Process) and offered this course to its postgraduate students, dentistry students and faculty members of the Centre. The centre’s recently established Incubation Centre and ICT Garden were commissioned in December 2022 by Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim, who also gave a lecture on the topic ‘Research, Innovation and Sustainable Development’, as part of a lecture and commissioning event organised by the centre to bring its stakeholders together to engage with the topic of innovation.   

Centres under the ACE Impact project have also been creating important platforms to engage key stakeholders from industry, government and the general public through the organisation of innovation weeks and research fares. In November, 2022, CEFTER hosted the West and Central Africa Post Harvest Congress and exhibition in Abuja, where most of its innovations were exhibited and in February 2023, it hosted its annual food week (innovation week) during which Masters and PhD students showcased different food processing and packaging technologies they had innovated.  The Centre Leader, Dr Barnabas Ikyo, concludes that the project has positively impacted the University in various areas, citing an example that its company – CEFTER Foods Nigeria Ltd, established in line with the centre’s entrepreneurial activities, produces water, cassava-based cookies and bread in commercial quantities to serve both the university and external community members. He adds that as result of ongoing research by the Centre, the State Government released seventy (70) hectares of land to the university to build a College of agriculture, cultivate model farms and to carry out other innovative research activities. 

Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) to support entrepreneurship and innovation, and commercialization of research have also been entered into by some centre’s of excellence and various strategic partners to facilitate implementation and engagement on various fronts.  

Looking ahead, the Centres of Excellence are optimistic about pushing the frontiers of innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa’s higher education eco-system and deepening their engagement and impact in this topical focus area.  From viable businesses, the take-off of spin off companies, the registration of patents, introduction of resourceful products and technologies, and strengthening of appropriate systems, partnerships and the entire innovation eco-system, the Centres current efforts are soon to reach maturity for Africa’s benefit. 

ACE in Focus- Profiling CEFTER

ACE in Focus- Profiling CEFTER

The Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER), hosted by the Benue State University, Nigeria is one of the seven (7) centres of excellence dedicated to addressing agriculture related challenges within the region. CEFTER aims to address the challenge of post-harvest losses in the West Africa sub region through quality higher education and innovative and applied research. 

The centre seeks to develop a critical mass of well-trained future African agricultural scientists in the control of post-harvest losses, empower African researchers to identify technologies through applied research for reducing pot-harvest losses and engage farmers, communities, and industries in training and dissemination of technologies in post-harvest food losses across the sub-region. 

Programmes offered include Post-harvest Management and Physiology of Crops; Food Chemistry; Analytical Chemistry; Organic/ Natural Products Chemistry; Food Science and Technology; Food Processing Technology; Rural Sociology and Agricultural Extension; Radiation and Medical Physics. Three programmes are internationally accredited by the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES).  

CEFTER is well positioned to offer quality postgraduate education with its state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories, ultramodern library and fully furnished hostels.  The centre also has a food processing factory facilitating the Government of Nigeria’s School Feeding Program which caters for 1.8 million pupils monthly. 

For more information, visit 

Call for Abstract and Participation

The Africa Center of Excellence for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) hosted by Benue State University, Nigeria calls for Abstract and participation in its West and Central Africa Post- Harvest Congress and Exhibition (WCAPHCE 2018) themed “Upscaling of Post Harvest activities in West and Central Africa” from September 17- 21, 2018 at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, Nigeria.

This Congress seeks to enumerate constrains and proffer solutions to post harvest challenges along the value chain for various crops and also promote knowledge in addressing the food system for healthy and sustainable diets.

All individuals and industries in the Agriculture and Food Technology sector are warmly invited to participate. For Registration and other details please contact Dr. Sylvester Adejo via email or  +234(0)80545557652

Others who are interested in exhibiting their products should also contact the number below by 31st August, 2018.

Peter Dawa
+234(0)706 796 7665

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