Consequently, its Research and Development (R & D) Centre of the company in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, has been expanded by constructing a 7 million-dollar state-of-the-art laboratory to thoroughly examine every product before bringing it to the doorstep of the consumers.
The centre was established in 1991 and closed down in 2002, following the political upheaval in Cote d’Ivoire, but re-opened in 2009. It has fully bounced back with more innovative measures including the inauguration of the Nestle Quality Assurance Centre, first of its kind in the West Africa sub-region and second in Africa after South Africa.
Conducting 14 selected journalists from West and Central Africa round the Quality Assurance Centre which was inaugurated in April this year, Dr, Owen Fraser, Head of the Centre, said that the laboratory would solely deal with the analysis of chemical contaminants such as mycotoxins, pesticides, heavy metals and other minerals which are dangerous to human health.
“You know in Nestle, safety of our products and the well-being of our customers or clients are our topmost priority. We will forever do what it takes to ensure that safety is not compromised,” Dr. Fraser told the journalists.
The Ghanaian Times’ investigations revealed that the company decided to set up the centre in Cote d’Ivoire and not Ghana or Nigeria, which also produce cocoa and other raw materials used by the company, because of the reliability of power and water supply.
The Journalists also visited the Nursery, Sensory and Consumer Insight Department as well as the product development and culinary departments.
Mr. Oliver Chmiel, Head of the Research and Development Centre, Abidjan, said the centre’s vision was to become a centre of excellence by developing five key areas — plant science, tropical agronomy and biofortification, packaging design development adapted to local needs, extrusion and roller drying technology, African consumer understanding, and nutritional products and ingredients development for African consumers.
According to him, the centre presently focused on two of the areas, namely plant science, tropical agro-nomy and biofortification, as well as extrusion and roller drying technology.
He commended the journalists for visiting the area to acquaint themselves with the operations of Nestle, and told them that as partners in development, they should not hesitate to draw the attention of the company (Nestle) should they (journalists) come across any of their products consumers complained about.
“We see you as one of our major stakeholders whose contribution is key for the progress of the company and safety of the people,” Mr. Chmiel said.
By Castro Zangina-Tong (Back from Abidjan Courtesy: Nestle Ghana)