Nigerian farmers have been urged to see agriculture from a global dimension of competitiveness and realise that agriculture products are not only food products but also raw materials for industries.
This call was made by a Professor of Food Engineering in the Department of Agricultural and Bioresources Engineering, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Babatunde Adewumi while speaking on his research works, stressing that the problem facing most developing nations like Nigeria is that people conceive agriculture as hobby and not as business.
He described Nigeria as a blessed nation but wasting away simply because our leaders do not want people to get liberated.
He described the country as slave in every area of life because its leaders do not encourage research by making the country ‘a buying economy’ and not a ‘producing economy’.
According to him, “by encouraging research, the country would be self-reliant, be able to solve its immediate problems, be able to save money and build its reserve.
“If the government should spend huge resources on research and allow the outcome to be utilized, many problems such as joblessness and corruption would be taken care of,” he said.
Professor Adewumi further stated that government and various industries do not seem to adequately support researches, stating that, that is why most researches in the country end up on the shelves.
He advised that, just as the way it is being done in the developed nations – where institutions and researchers patent their researches – Nigerian institutions/ researchers should also key into the same method, in order to get their investment back and in doing this, any individual or company that needs a research effort would be made to pay.
Speaking on some of his research works, the professor stated that he had developed over 30 machines that are working.
Among them, according to him, include processing machines for locust beans.
“These include the steamer unit for the locust bean seed that helps in reducing the boiling time of the seeds, from about 24 to 36 hours, to only about one to two hours.
He added that apart from the steaming machine, he had developed different types of dehulling machines and hydro cyclone separator for locust bean processing, which had produced desired solution by reducing time, energy or power requirements and drudgery to the barest minimum.
He said those machines have also improved production efficiency, quantity, quality and rate.
For the poultry farmers, he said he has developed various types of incubators including, charcoal-fuel, kerosene-fuel, electrical, electrical cum kerosene fuel; solar incubators for hatching eggs; three types of egg candlers for assessing egg fertility with embryo development; manually-operated milking machine for small ruminants; and a beak trimming machine to prevent cannibalism.
Other machines he has developed according to him include; manually operated and motorised plantain chiping/ slicing machines, pneumatic separator, cashew seed decorticator, manual and motorised Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) extractors, manually operated impact type cocoa pod breaking machine, manually operated and motorised charcoal heated ‘Gari’ frying machines, motorised mango juice extractor, screw extractor for groundnut oil, motorised rice husking machine, medium scale motorised sugarcane juice extractor, medium scale thresher-cleaner for legumes and cross flow classifier test rig for legumes among others.