Stakeholders in the agricultural industry have urged the federal government to help the country’s research institutes by fully supporting them and sending their employees on training so that they can have a stronger economic impact.
This was recently revealed by stakeholders at the unveiling and official handover of the virtual co-creation, connectivity, and marketing platform to the Coalition Network of Stakeholders for Agricultural Mechanization (CONESAM) in Lagos.
The stakeholders who were drawn from FIIRO, PRODA, NASSI, NCAM, and NASME, among others, expressed concern about insecurity and poor power supply in the country, which they said also affects economic sustainability, at a program organized by Adam Smith International in partnership with Research Innovation Systems in Africa (RISA).
Mr. Samuel Terlumun Abas, Technical Lead for the RISA-KECC project, stated that the government must be willing to help the local sector by creating an environment that allows for the scaling up of indigenous inventions through effective implementation and monitoring.
He went on to say that the private sector should start looking inside and invest in the indigenous innovation industry, which has enormous potential.
“Through feedback systems, the research and innovation actors must begin to collaborate more to exchange and build on local innovations,” he said.
The program, according to Abas, was designed to contribute to greater potential for local economic growth through a more productive agricultural mechanization value chain.
Mrs. Nneka Nwaguguo, a Research Engineer with the Project Development Institute (PRODI), noted that financing and power are key restraints in research institutes and that without them, laboratory research would be discouraged.
She claims that “For example, in a laboratory, there are research projects that require power; without it, the catalyst you’re working on would not provide correct findings. We also need to teach our research engineers and send them overseas to examine some of these advances so that they can return and train the trainees.
She stated that the institute’s mission is to promote industrialization through self-sufficiency, adding, “We are working on agro-processing devices that will assist in the transformation of raw foods into processed foods. We’re also interested in industrial innovation that will aid the country’s development.”
Dr. Olusola Adetola Ogunjimi, Head, Engineering and Scientific Services Department, National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization (NCAM), emphasized the importance of commercializing invention in the country, stating that doing so will increase access and duplicate innovation.
In terms of food preservation, he stated that the majority of the center’s technologies are driven by gasoline, diesel, or solar energy and that the center is aiming to reduce the obstacles associated with the use of its devices.
Dr. Bolanle Ashiru, a Director at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), emphasized the importance of partnering with the private sector to bring about the needed economic reform.
On the country’s power difficulties, he stated that he believes that with the federal government’s new approach to renewable energy, we should be able to overcome them.