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April 17, 2024
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Agric Engineers Advocate Homegrown Solutions to Tackle Economic Challenges

The Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineering (NIAE) has called for home-grown solutions to tackle the present economic situation in the country.

Specifically speaking during an interview, the National Chairman, NIAE, Prof. Joshua Olaoye, said that there was no nation that developed without first looking inwards.

Mr Olaoye, a professor with the Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, University of Ilorin, Kwara State further said that  the  present economic situation of the country requires that we employ home-grown solutions. 

In his words: Local problems require local solutions. The solutions to Nigeria’s problems are not beyond Nigerians.

“We have over the years developed institutions that have the wherewithal to help us address our problems if only we give them the opportunity and provide them with an enabling environment. The people to provide the solutions are already available within the country, if only we give them a chance,” the don said.

He disclosed that the government planned to import 2000 tractors annually for five years to boost agricultural mechanisation in the news, stressing that this was not the way to go about improving agriculture.

“When we have professionals that know what to do, why do we need to bring in imported machines and imported hands? We have a National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation in Ilorin, which has successfully produced tractors. Why don’t we challenge our professionals there to produce 50 tractors every year, and provide the necessary enabling environment?

“If we do that, by now we will have Nigerian-produced tractors all over the place, with jobs created for Nigerians. And if there are problems, the centre is within reach to effect repairs,” the NIAE chairman said.

He urged the government at all levels to give listening ears to professionals within the country, saying that these professionals could use their expertise to turn around the fortunes of the country.

Also speaking, a past Chairman of the NIAE and Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Prof. Folarin Alonge, noted that the institution believed that agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy.

Mr Alonge, however, said one of the problems confronting the nation was inconsistency in its policies.

He noted that sometime during the previous administration, the borders were closed to rice importation, which resulted in tremendous increase in local rice production.

He said, “The border closure really helped such that home-grown innovations arose such as the rice destoner machine but now the borders are opened again and all the gains we recorded in local rice production have been eroded off.”

Mr Alonge said that Nigerians especially the government and politicians should learn to tame their thirst for foreign goods, and patronise made-in- Nigeria goods.

He stressed that this was the way to help professionals as well as develop the country.

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