By Kehinde Oluwatayo
Agricultural Engineering has been described as core and sufficiently potent for sustainable food security and national development.
Giving the description during the week, Prof Idowu Manuwa of the Federal University of Technology Akure said with global trend of increase in population especially in the sub-Saharan Africa and of course Nigeria, there is impending threat to life due to food insecurity.
Manuwa , a prof of Agricultural Engineering spoke on the title “Agricultural Engineering: Corability And Potency For Sustainable Food Security And National Development during the 93rd inaugural lecture of the institution in Akure.
While calling on government at all levels to encourage the youth to imbibe agriculture by providing scholarship for them to study Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering in Nigerian Universities and abroad, the inaugural lecturer said unless agriculture is mechanised, sustainable food security would be a mirage.
His words : ”If our nation must attain sustainable food security, we must replace human energy with machines which can only be done by agric engineers”.
He said the choice of the title of the lecture was informed by a strong belief in and conviction in the efficacy of the discipline to change the course of the nation adding that despite over a century of establishment of the discipline, many even the educated still have vague ideas about its essence and significance in sustainable food security and national development.
According to him, the evidence that the neglect of this discipline/profession by act of omission or commission has diminished nations and caused them untold hardship in terms of food insecurity and national development calling on the nation to wake up from its slumber and seeming ignorance, “clumsy” mindset and set its priorities right for an improved and sustainable food security, national development and better life.
The inaugural lecturer who said proper funding of research in the nation’s universities and research centres is germane, urged government to do the needful and stretching that nothing can be achieved without adequate funding of research development.
He stressed further that collaborative research is the only way to make the desired progress in proffering solution to the myriads of problems confronting agricultural productivity.
The don urged government to encourage and support activities for indigenous design and development of agricultural machines to suit different agro-climatic conditions and farmers in the country, adding that it is a major “road” to providing lasting solution to agricultural mechanisation problems in Nigeria, as he admonished research centres to organise and execute research in that direction.
Mànuwa called on government to encourage and support research centeres and institutions to breed crops that are easier to mechanise in their operations.
He opined that manufacturing industries are necessary in order for mass production at lower costs, saying government should encourage them to survive by providing enabling environment for their sustainability.
He added that government should encourage the establishment of village workshop for blacksmith, tinsmith and carpenters to produce or modify existing small agricultural equipment that will enhance farming operations.
The Professor of agricultural engineer also suggested that Tractor Hire Service in the State’s Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources should be reactivated adding that it should also include other farm equipment like shellers, threshers, harvesters among others.
He said government should put in place national policy for the development of National Soil Tillage Dynamics Laboratory, Regional Soil Tillage Dynamics Laboratory in designated Universities in the country.
In his remarks, the Vice- Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Akure, Prof Joseph Fuwape congratulated and commended the inaugural lecturer for the work.
The event was graced by friends and family of the inaugural lecturer for the work.