Tuesday, January 16, 2018 4:28 pm
By Daniels Ekugo
Professor Mohammed Dauda, Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology-Programme (AMT-P), Jalingo, Taraba State, a centre of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, has advocated that for the nation to breakthrough in Agriculture and have a sustainable national development, she needs enduring policies.
He stated this when participants of Senior Executive Course 39 (2017) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Plateau State on local study tour paid a visit to the centre recently.
According to the head, media and protocol, Henry Ukwadia, the managing director stated that the theme of the study, “Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), for the Development of Agriculture and Agro-Allied Industries in Nigeria” is apt considering the nation’s currenteconomic situation, adding that Science, Technology and Innovation is what we are craving for our national development, particularly in agriculture, because it is the best sector and probably the only sector that can salvage human needs and the economy.
“There is no single sector that will create the requirements for continuous existence on earth except agriculture, if we want our agricultural sector to be sustainable, we need sustainability in policies, because it is difficult or impossible for us to have a single government that will exist forever, but it is possible to have policies that if well implemented, will outlive many governments and we will achieve desired national development”, he emphasized.
Professor Dauda lamented that Nigeria has good policies, but as noted by many others, poor implementation hinders development. “We have to enact policies that can stand the test of time, otherwise, agriculture can never be sustained fragmentally. Discontinuity in policies, particularly, in agriculture will spell doom and will continue in a vicious circle. Therefore, paradigm shift is important, where policies will outlive governments”, he opined.
The MD, who noted that the contribution of agriculture to the nation Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is poor, said it was on that basis that science, technology and innovation must be recognized as a key tool for the sustainable development of agriculture, which means a transformation of agricultural sector from labour intensive to technologically-driven mode.
According to him, “We cannot jump the low and medium level technologies to go to the high level technologies in transforming our agricultural sector, which is why AMT-P tries as much as possible to look inward, because we need technologies that we can manipulate and connect to our culture”.
Prof. Dauda stated that Nigeria does not have to rely on foreign technologies to survive even to the extent of importing our local delicacies making machines like pounded yam from abroad. “Using these machines negate some of our cultures as there is a relationship between, technology, environment and culture. Developing indigenous technologies in tandem with our cultural practices and traditions is our direct responsibility. It is in view of this, AMT-P Jalingo is expediently addressing infrastructure deficit by utilizing advanced manufacturing technologies to proffer solutions to local problems in agriculture and other fields of endeavours.
AMT-P boss also stated that to achieve rapid developmental change, research and development efforts must first target t he relevant needs of the country rather than other counties. “AMT-P has a versatile mandate that include improved productivity and enhanced quality that are necessary for national development. Therefore, without the use of science, technology and innovation in any sector, there will be no meaningful development in any sector of the economy, including agriculture.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Ambassador Adamu Abbas, stated that NIPSS was established primarily to advice the federal government on policy issues, because the whole essence of NIPSS is to formulate policies for a better society. “Every year, the president mandates the NIPSS to undertake research on topical issue of the day, and thereafter, recommendations are made”, he said.
He emphasised that the theme of this year tallies with the primary objectives of the present government, which is to develop agriculture for national development. “When we develop agriculture in this country, we are going to be self-reliant, not only in food, but we will also save a lot of money from importation of foods that we are not supposed to and we can save foreign exchange for infrastructural development”, he remarked.
Ambassador Abbas said the choice of Taraba was quite appropriate because of its potential in agricultural development and the choice of AMT-P was deliberate because of its ingenuity in the design and fabrication of agricultural machines. “Looking at our theme, we felt that this is the best place to be because AMT-P is all about is ingenuity”, he stated.
He, however, lamented that the major problem of the country is lack of support for indigenous ingenuity, but was quick to advice that“ Nigeria needs to produce her own technologies, which will be much better for our farmers and agro-allied industries in the country.
The elated team leader said “AMT-P has opened us up, not only in machines design and fabrication, but in other technologies, so we know what to tell Mr. President when we go back”, he remarked.