Nigeria: Agriculture Experts Call for Funding of Research Institutes, Enabling Environment
By Funmi Ogundare
Stakeholders in the agricultural sector has called on the federal government to support research institutes in the country by funding them adequately and sending the staff on training for greater impact on the economy.
The stakeholders made this known, recently, at the launching and official handover of virtual co-creation, linkage and marketing platform to Coalition Network of stakeholders for Agricultural Mechanization (CONESAM), in Lagos.
The programme organised by Adam Smith International in partnership with Research Innovation Systems in Africa (RISA), saw the stakeholders who were drawn from FIIRO, PRODA, NASSI, NCAM, NASME, among others, expressing concern about insecurity and the poor power supply in the country, which they said also affect economic sustainability.
Technical Lead for RISA-KECC project, Mr. Samuel Terlumun Abas, said government must be willing to support the local industry through enabling the environment for scaling up indigenous innovations through proper implementation and monitoring.
He added that the private sector must also begin to look inwards towards investing in the local innovation industry with its huge potentials.
“The research and innovation actors must begin to collaborate more to share and improve on local technologies through feedback mechanisms,” he said.
Abas noted that the programme was aimed at contributing towards increased capacity for local econimic growth due to more productive agricultural mechanization value chains.
A Research Engineer with Project Development Institute ( PRODI) , Mrs. Nneka Nwaguguo said funding and power are major constraints in research institutes , adding that without them, research work in a laboratory would be frustrated.
According to her, “in a laboratory for instance, there are research works that you do using power, without it, the catalyst you are working on, will not give you accurate results. We need to also train our research engineers and send them abroad to see some of these innovations, so that they can come back and train the trainees.”
She said the mandate of the institute is based on industrialisation through self reliance, adding,” we are into agro-processing machines that will help to convert raw foods into processed foods. We are also into industrial innovation that will help to develop the country.”
The Head, Engineering and Scientific Services department, National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization (NCAM), Dr. Olusola Adetola Ogunjimi, stressed the need for commercialisation of innovation in the country, noting that the move will bring about access and duplication of the innovation.
On food preservation, he said most of the innovations produced by the centre, are powered by petrol, diesel or solar, adding that it was working towards achieving less challenges in the usage of their machines.
A Director in Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi ( FIIRO), Dr. Bolanle Ashiru stressed the need for partnership with the private sector so as to bring about the needed change in the economy.
On the power challenges in the country, he said he believes that with the new approach by the federal government, in the use of renewable energies, we should be able to overcome power challenges.