Experts canvass more technology inputs into agric system
Mechanised agricultural experts under the aegis of Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers (NIAE) have canvassed more technology inputs into the Nigerian agricultural system to boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
They disclosed that aside agriculture; no vocation or institution could accommodate millions of unemployed Nigerians, noting that there is a nexus between the nation’s agriculture sector and the GDP.
The assertion was made at the 20th International Conference and 40th Annual General Meeting of the body, held at Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State, with the theme: Innovations and Technologies For Sustainable Agricultural Mechanisation and Livestock Transformation For Economic Growth, which drew participants from within and outside the country.
The Keynote Speaker, Prof. Michael Ngadi, an expert in Food Quality and Safety, with specialisation in Heat and Mass Transfer Processes in Foods, Hyperspectral imaging, Sensors and Properties of Foods, said agric engineers of the modern century played a key role in bringing food to the table of man.
Decrying the high rate of world population put at about 7.7 billion, with tendency to grow into 10 billion in few years time, Ngadi said unless food capacity is improved via agricultural mechanisation, man would suffer from famine and negative health conditions.
While dismissing that the country’s current population growth is the likely cause of unemployment and poverty, the Don said the population of the entire African nations, was equal to the population of China, which has one of the finest GDP, due to innovations in the field of agricultural mechanisation.
“We have a problem with demographic and climatic change, flooding and erosion. Besides, 80 per cent our produce, especially tomatoes are getting wasted because of poor preservation system. In fact, it is a known fact that Nigeria currently has the highest rate of food wastages in the world.
“The recent ban on rice importation is good, but it must be matched with needed local production, otherwise, we will suffer greatly for food in this country. We should also note that we will not feed the increasing population with knives and hoesstone age technology.”
In his opening address, National President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Engineer Adekunle Mokuolu said the immediate needs of man as it relates to food and fibre production can be met through the committed efforts of the Agricultural Engineers.
National Chairman of the NIAE, Engineer Dr. S. M. Musa, said the theme of the conference was apt for the Federal Government’s quests for food sufficiency in the country.