The need for systematic deployment of agricultural mechanisation and agro- industrial policies that will reduce food wastages and enhance agro productivity is vital in Nigeria’s quest of self-sufficiency, an expert says.
Joshua olarewaju Olaoye, professor of Farm Power and Machinery of the department of Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineering, University of Ilorin stated this while delivering a paper at the institution’s 187th inaugural lecture.
Olaoye, who pointed out that Nigeria needs National Agricultural Mechanisation and Agro-Industrial Development Policy, enjoined the government to deploy all necessary political will and commitment to implement already documented food security programmes to the letter.
According to him, mechanisation covers all levels of farming and processing technologies from simple and basic hand tools to more sophisticated and motorized equipment and improves productivity and timeliness of agricultural operations as well as improves the efficient use of resources among other advantages.
“Sustainable mechanization considers technological, economic, social environmental and cultural aspects when contributing to the sustainable development of the food and agricultural sector,” he said.
“There is a pressing need to increase global food production to feed the growing and increasingly global population. To achieve food sovereignty, appropriate action must be taken to till the land,” he further.
“In tilling the land adequate energy source will be required to drive agricultural mechanization. If this is sustained a continuous loop will emerge as food will subsequently lead to energy supply,” he added.
The professor therefore called for teaching and training of agricultural engineering across polytechnic and universities must be restructured to provide oriented approach and solutions to meet the needs of farmers, as he advocated adequate government regulation on deforestation, mining, indiscriminate bush burning and dumping of refuse.
Olaoye suggested that, the Bank of Industries (BOI) is to be empowered to support industries and other stalk holders emanating from the researchers and farmers’ engagements.
The inaugural lecturer, in his research endeavours, designed and developed farm machineries and equipment to reduce drudgery during farm operations and improve agricultural productivity such as guided horizontal conveyor rice harvester, fabricated melon shelling and cleaning machine and slide crank squeezing action sugarcane juice extractor.
Others are, locust bean decorticating – dehaulling cabinet dryer and parboiler machines among others.
Olaoye, however, disclosed that his future research will be to explore and engage in new development in technology to farming, Agro-based industries and rural development as may be available in different parts of the world.