The role of VAD is for the purpose of product development, increment of shelf-life, revenue generation, bargaining power and brand creation. This agro-processing activities is to allow the producer to focus on the consumer preference and also respond to consumer fragmentation by offering more uniquely targeted lines of products, while experimenting/researching with novel forms of advertising and promotion to reach the intended segments more efficiently. Some technologies to be developed by the Division is to digitize the spectrophotometric determination of Free Fatty Acids in oils.
Other activities of the Division is to increase the quality and the economic value of Oil palm raw materials into edible (cooking palm oil, cooking kernel oil, biscuits, margarines, confectionaries) and non-edible (crude palm oil, oleo-chemicals, bio-diesel, cosmetics, candles, lubricants, soaps and detergents). Also, coconut raw materials could be converted into coconut husk-based fibre (coco-fibre) and coir (coco-coir) from which coir yarn, mats, twines, carpets, bristle fibre, rubberized coir, mattress fibre, filter pads, carpets, erosion nets and insulation materials; coconut shell from which activated charcoal/ carbon, bio char, shell powder, charcoal briquettes and novelty items are to be produced; coconut meat from which desiccated coconut products, copra, coconut oil and coconut virgin oil, coconut milk powder, coconut flour, coconut confectionaries, liquid coconut creams and milk are to be produced and coconut water from which bottled coconut water, vinegar, intravenous fluid, electrolyte, wine and alcohol are to be produced.
The new research division is focused on three thematic areas: product formulation and development, technology advancement and environmental protection.
Product formulation and development: The research direction will conduct research into the rich collection of oil palm and coconut lines/ varieties to formulate and develop CSIR-brand of products for the market. It will also conduct post-launch studies on its developed products towards ensuring market acceptability, quality branding, among others.
Technological advancement: The research interest will look into current scientific principles governing methodologies used in value addition to oil palm and coconut to improve on existing approaches and basic operations. Research will also address quality control issues in the processing of oil palm and coconut to improve on longevity and organoleptic properties of products generated.
Environmental protection: It is on record that 65-70% of oil palm fresh fruit bunches and 40-60% of coconut fruit go waste during processing and utilization. The research interest will focus on amelioration of environmental pollutions from wastes that are generated from coconut and palm oil processing and utilization. Value addition technologies will be applied to these wastes for additional income generation.
The new division at its rudimentary stage; internally, collaborates with Crop Improvement, Agronomy and Crop Protection Divisions as and when needed to discharge it mandate. The Division also collaborates with Sister-CSIR institute such as Food Research and Water Research Institute to discharge it mandate. The division also collaborates with external organizations and is also willing to collaborate with any institution, NGO and government agencies on value addition activities.
The division has a divisional head who supervise activities of the three unit/ section. At its rudimentary stage, the VAD can boast of two Research Scientists, one Principal Technologist and one Technologist. Field and laboratory staff are drawn from Crop Improvement, Agronomy and Crop Protection Divisions as and when needed to support research activities of the division. Additionally, National Service personnel and NABCO staff are allocated from time to time to beef up the staff strength. The Division is currently headed by Dr. Frederick Sarpong, Research scientist.