FG urged to promote use of indigenous agric tools
THE Federal Government has been urged to make use of the fabricated agricultural machines produced by indigenous engineers at the National Centre for Agriculture and Mechanisation (NCAM), Ilorin, to boost agric produce in Nigeria.
According to the Acting Director of NCAM, Yomi Kasali, an engineer, many countries with bilateral relationships with Nigeria had since adopted some of the tools manufactured at the centre with tremendous improvement on their agric yields.
Kasali, Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the Marketing and Processing Demonstration Training hosted by NCAM, said the era when agriculture thrived under hand tools should be a thing of the past in Nigeria if the nation would attain self-sufficiency in food production.
The programme was organised by the Federal Government and involved six states of the federation. These are; Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun and Taraba. It was packaged to reduce poverty among Nigerians and to stimulate the much needed economic growth.
For the NCAM boss, “It is a pity that most projects in Nigeria are not sustained, but we hope this will be held on a sustainable basis. We learnt it was packaged to favour the nation’s agric policy under a value change system with zeal for marketability. After all, what is the value of produce without a market for it?”
Kasali described the available human and material resources at the institute as “the very best” for the proposition by the government to ensure prompt marketing of agric products in the country.
According to him, “NCAM is not new to organising this type of training programmes for donor-assisted projects. For five years, the centre organised training/workshops and provided technical back stopping for the processing and market expansion component of Root and Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP).”
Among others, NCAM had fabricated machines such as cassava lifter, (hand-operated), tractor drawn tuber harvester, improved cassava peeling tool and cassava washing machine, motorised cassava grater, manual-operated tuber dicer, cassava mash sifter, multi-purpose mill and hydraulic press for cassava.
The NCAM boss while praising the Federal Government policies on cassava growth and consumption, said the same system should be adopted for the growth of rice as “locally produced rice has more nutritional values than imported ones.”
He added, “Cassava and rice which are among the most important staple crops in Nigeria are the crops whose value chain development are being considered in this training. The importance of these two crops in food security and generation of income for the farmer and the nation needs no emphasis.
“The recent Federal Government policy on 10 percent inclusion of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) in confectionery baking is expected to stimulate huge investment in the cassava sector, including the major activities in the cassava value chain, especially the downstream.”