By Mathew Dadiya
President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (AMEDI) in Lafia, to enhance food security and create jobs for the youths in the country.
The project is also aimed at making the nation self-sufficient in food production as well as creating more sustainable jobs for Nigeria’s teeming youths.
AMEDI is one of the Buhari administration legacies meant to make Nigeria a hub and supplier of agro-allied technology, equipment and machinery.
AMEDI, a multi-billion Naira product of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), is equipped with modern laboratories and machines for mechanised farming and agricultural development in the country.
The president, who was taken round the premises of the institute by the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive of NASENI, Prof. Muhammed Sani, inspected façilities including equipment and laboratories at the institute.
While conducting the president round the facilities, Sani said the foundation laying for the construction of the institute and its inauguration was within a period of less than six months.
According to him, this is the second inauguration of NASENI projects by the president within a span of three months.
”We the management and staffers of NASENI are not taking this rare privilege for granted.
”The foundation laying for construction of this institute and its inauguration today is within a period of less than six months.
”Mr President may recall his directive for the establishment of six new Agricultural-Technology-based Institutes, one each per geo-political zone of Nigeria in 2021 as part of the twelve new Institutes approved to be established.
”NASENI under my leadership has developed a culture of speedy delivery on Presidential directives not only to justify the new status of the agency, but also to fast-track transition of Nigeria to a manufacturing knowledge-based economy,” Sani said.
According to him, AMEDI, Lafia is the first to be completed among the six equals across the geo-political zones of the country.
Sani explained that the conceptualization of the institute was targeted at the use of science and engineering infrastructure to support the presidential efforts in the attainment of food and nutritional security in Nigeria and for Nigerians.
”The peculiarity of our soil with inherent edaphic factors and peculiar topography require the production of made in Nigeria agricultural implements, machinery and equipment that can support responsible and productive agricultural practices in the face of climate change.
”We are conversant with the Sustainable Development Goals and our national expectations to end hunger and create decent cum inclusive jobs for our youth and women.
”We are resolved at NASENI to use the platforms of AMEDIs to modernise agri-business in Nigeria and ensure sustainable scaling of agro-enterprises for new jobs and wealth creation,” he added.
The EVC further stated that, as a modular agricultural institute, AMEDI Lafia and others when completed, had a template to advance the injection of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the agricultural space across the country.
He said that the inbuilt capabilities of the institutes would ensure the use of additive and SMART manufacturing platforms already acquired by NASENI system-wide to design, develop, assemble and produce agricultural and food processing implements for various classes of farmers.
”The main workshop in the institute shall become a model of SMART factory that will leverage cutting edge technologies to deliver Made-in-Nigeria products and market demand- driven services that are suitable for both our farmers and arable lands.
”The crop-livestock integration farming model to be practiced in the experimental farm of the institute is strategic to training of farmers and agro entrepreneurs on sustainable farming methods using land resource optimization models.”
According to him, AMEDI is equipped with Central Research Laboratory that will support the research activities of the institute along the various value chains of the target product lines of the institute.
Sani said that the institute had installed modern equipment for the processing of fruit juices, milk and other dairy products and tomato processing.
He said: ”Each equipment that is installed here is for backward integration and multiple and improved versions would be produced by the institute for the benefits of farmers and agro-equipment industries that would mass produce to meet the demand of the nation.”
Sani said the mandate of the institute aligned perfectly with the NASENI’s National Tractor and Heavy Duty/Machinery Recovery, Refurbishment and Redeployment project.
”The exhibition centre of the institute shall engage in show-casing of agricultural innovations and serve as a point of attraction for youth engagements in agriculture for job and wealth creation,” he further stated.
The NASENI boss thanked the president, who is also the Chairman of the Governing Council of NASENI, for granting approval for the projects and programmes meant to transform and uplift the quality of life of the citizens.