The Nestlé Research & Development Centre in Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire on Thursday, November 28, 2013, opened its doors to a group of journalists from eight countries in Central and West Africa in furtherance of the company’s quest to communicate its science and technology capabilities to provide nutrition, health and wellness.
The maiden regional media tour of the multi-million state-of-the-art facility which opened in 2009 was also intended to showcase to the visiting journalists and editors strides the Centre has made since its commissioning.
Delegates included financial, economic and health editors and reporters from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
Role and Objective of the R&D Centre, Abidjan
Welcoming them, Head of R&D Abidjan, Serigne Diop, expressed satisfaction with the diversity of journalists participating in the programme, encouraging them to use their art to partner the private sector in order to promote the course of development in their respective countries.
“Nestlé’s research approach is focused on the benefits the products it develops have for the consumers, ensuring that regardless of a product’s commercial value, it ultimately must have a social essence. In other words, Nestlé R&D Centre Abidjan innovates to delight our African consumers beyond their expectations”, he added.
Opened on April 30, 2009, the R&D Centre in Abidjan is the first Nestlé R&D Centre of its kind in Africa, and the facility is focused on improving the quality of locally-sourced raw materials, including cocoa, coffee and cassava, and on adapting these products to the nutritional needs and tastes of West African consumers.
It does this by combining raw material with differentiating technologies to deliver innovative products beyond the African consumers’ expectation, while creating shared value for both Nestlé and the community.
Expertise and Science
The visiting journalists discovered how Nestlé utilizes its expertise in agricultural material development and bioscience to offer products with high nutritional value adapted to local tastes of local consumers. In particular, they had presentations on the use of plantlet propagation technology, better known as embryogenesis somatic, which addresses the problem of disease and ageing plantations of cocoa and coffee and helps to renew the orchard with high-yielding disease-resistant trees.
They toured several facilities at the Centre, among them the propagation lab, the nursery, the pilot and tasting units, and afterwards gave positive reviews about the role the Centre plays in shaping the development agenda of the continent.
Mamadou Lamine Diatta, Head of Health Desk of Le Soleil, Dakar, Senegal, stated: “I am amazed about the depth of Nestlé’s bio-fortification processes, which enable the company to work with farmers and communities to solve the micronutrient deficiencies in Africa”.
He was awed by the fact that Nestlé has its activities spread in the entire value chain, investing in the communities in which it operates. With this trip, he has become more familiar with the Nestlé Creating Shared Value approach which, he said, will impact more positively on Africa’s development.
The editor of Ghana’s largest business newspaper, the Business & Financial Times, Selassy Adjadogo, said the tour has exposed him to the fact that Africa’s growth hinge on its ability to innovate using science and technology as evident in the performance of the R&D Centre Abidjan.
They also received updates on Nestlé’s continuing commitment with regard to creating shared value through global initiatives such as the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, The NESCAFÉ Plan and the cassava project.
They ended the trip with a tour of our MAGGI Factory located in the Yopougon suburb of Abidjan.
Opportunity to Share Insights
Commenting on the tour, the Regional Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Peggy Diby stated:
“This media trip is a great opportunity to share with our stakeholders, Nestlé’s commitment to CSV in Africa. By engaging with the media, we can showcase to others how meaningful development could be brought to underserved communities in a positive partnership between the private sector, state actors and the people”.