… Commissions Buhari’s first agric-tech institute, pledges to modernise agribusiness
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof Mohammad Sani Haruna, yesterday, said that the agency would modernise agribusiness to end hunger and create jobs in the country.
He also said that the agency was set for the production of made in Nigeria agricultural implements, machinery and equipment.
He assured that the tools would be manufactured to suit the peculiarity of Nigerian soil and peculiar topography.
Haruna made the submissions at the commissioning of Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (AMEDI), Lafia, Nasarawa State.
AMEDI is one of the 12 new institutes to fast-track transition of Nigeria to a manufacturing knowledge based economy.
He said that AMEDI was targeted at the use of science and engineering infrastructure to support the presidential efforts in the attainment of food and nutritional security in the country and for Nigerians.
“Mr. President may recall his directive for the establishment of six (6) new Agricultural-Technology based institutes, one each per geo-political zone of Nigeria in 2021 as part of the 12 new institutes approved to be established. NASENI under my leadership has developed a culture of speedy delivery on Presidential directives not only to justify the new status of the agency, but also to fast-track transition of Nigeria to a manufacturing knowledge based economy.
He said: “AMEDI Lafia is the first to be completed among the six (6) equals across the geo-political zones of the country. The conceptualization of this model institute was targeted at the use of science and engineering infrastructure to support the presidential efforts in the attainment of food and nutritional security in Nigeria and for Nigerians.
“The peculiarity of our soil with inherent edaphic factors and peculiar topography require the production of made in Nigeria agricultural implements, machinery and equipment that can support responsible and productive agricultural practices in the face of climate change.
“We are conversant with the Sustainable Development Goals and our national expectations to end hunger and create decent cum inclusive jobs for our youth and women. We are resolved at NASENI to use the platforms of AMEDIs to modernize agribusiness in Nigeria and ensure sustainable scaling of agro-enterprises for new jobs and wealth creation.”
Haruna listed other benefits of the institute, including the production of food processing implements.
He added: “As a modular agricultural institute, AMEDI Lafia and others when completed have a template to advance the injection of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the agricultural space across the country.
“The in-built capabilities of the institutes will ensure the use of additive and smart manufacturing platforms already acquired by NASENI system-wide to design, develop, assemble and produce agricultural and food processing implements for various classes of farmers.
“The main workshop in the institute shall become a model of SMART factory that will leverage cutting edge technologies to deliver made in Nigeria products and market demand-driven services that are suitable for both our farmers and arable lands.
“The crop-livestock integration farming model to be practiced in the experimental farm of the institute is strategic to training of farmers and agro entrepreneurs on sustainable farming methods using land resource optimization models.”
He also said that the institute was “equipped with Central Research Laboratory that will support the research activities of the institute along the various value chains of the target product lines of the institute.
“The institute has installed modern equipment for the processing of fruit juices, milk and other dairy products, tomato processing to mention but a few.
“Each equipment that is installed here is for backward integration and multiple and improved versions would be produced by the institute for the benefits of farmers and agro-equipment industries that would mass produce to meet the demand of the nation.
“The mandate of the institute align perfectly with the NASENI’s National Tractor and Heavy Duty/Machinery Recovery, Refurbishment and Redeployment project.
“The exhibition center of the institute shall engage in show-casing of agricultural innovations and serve as a point of attraction for youth engagements in agriculture for job and wealth creation.”
He thanked President Buhari for granting and approving all that NASENI has asked for.