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How Acholonu is driving fortification of Nigerian foods with micronutrients

The importance of eating well fortified foods in Nigeria has been stressed over the years, but the presence of such foods has been an issue of national nutritional importance.

However, one indigenous industrialist, Dr Kenny Uzoma Acholonu has championed the cause of good feeding system for Nigerian families as he drives growth in access with his firm, the Bio-Organics Nutrient Systems Limited.

Dr Kenny Uzoma Acholonu who marked his birth today last week, built upon decades of outstanding service to the country in delicate areas including science and manufacturing.

Acholonu is Chief Executive of Bio-Organics Nutrient Systems Limited, located at Ibafo on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

The firm is one of a rare kind as is the founder and motivator. Their work is in the core sciences, and indeed in one of the rarefied fields of the sciences.

In an interview with Chudo Nwakanma on the performance of Dr. Acholonu, he said “Successful industrialisation involves many linkages. Bio Organics Nutrient Systems Limited has earned the distinction in Nigeria for the scientific enterprise of vitamin and mineral fortification (premix) for the food, beverage and livestock industry”.

“Bio Organics is the only Nigerian firm with the capability to produce vitamin and mineral premixes. It adds value to the economy by domesticating the technology for this industrial chemical process.  The Ibafo factory is an ISO-22000:2005 certified premix blending plant. “Amongst its many honours, BioOrganics is on the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) approved premix facility blenders list as well as the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund Gerald Clark Blue Ribbon Award for food fortification.

Continuing, Nwakanma recalled that Kenny Acholonu holds four US patents for developments in chemistry, saying “He has specialised over the years in the niche area of micro-nutrient fortification for human and animal nutrition. It is a billion-dollar industry wherein Nigeria, unfortunately, is only a bit player and Nigerians even work to frustrate their own from playing a bigger part”.

Acholonu, being a renowned research chemist who graduated Cum Laude from Howard University, obtained a Ph.D. from the University of the Pacific and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from The Johns Hopkins University.  He was in the Chief Executives Programme (CEP-6) of the Lagos Business School.

“At American Cynamid Company in the US, he worked in a team of industrial chemists to produce a patent for the development of a novel monomer used for polymer production. On return to Nigeria, he worked for about 14 years with Hoffman La Roche, the Swiss multinational, leaving as Executive Director, Agro/Vitamins and Fine Chemicals Division.

“Acholonu has over the years developed various micronutrient formulations for malt drinks, flour, cornflakes, and beverages. He has done the same for animal feeds.

His academic and professional background in one of the fundamental life sciences has deepened his knowledge and experience in various fields of human nutrition, animal nutrition and medicinal as well as pharmaceutical formulations. He has significant experience in developing and implementing high-impact strategies that translate science and technology concepts into commercial products.

He is cited in the epochal book by Keith Holmes (2008), Black Inventors: Crafting over 200 Years of Success.