The Federal Government has begun the construction of Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute, in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.
The government is doing has embarked on the project, through the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), with a view to ensure food security and sufficiency in the country.
Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony of the institute, the Executive Vice-chairman of NASENI, Mohammed Haruna, said siting AMEDI in Nasarawa was part of the directives given to the agency by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to revolutionalise farming and food processing using technology.
He said NASENI had succeeded in the development of some relevant equipment and machines in the food value chain from cultivation, planting, weeding, harvesting, post-harvest and food preservation.
“This institute is mandated to build on this success and serve as a pilot site for the implementation of the agreement between Nigeria and Czech Republic on agriculture as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for the Presidential Implementation Committee.
“Working with the Technology Agency of Czech Republic, NASENI and AMEDI Lafia will research, develop equipment, and train ordinary Nigerians and professionals in the fields of agriculture, food production, harvest and post-harvest, processing technologies, food preservation and packaging. It will also process agricultural waste to renewable energy among others”, the NASENI Executive Vice-chairman added.
Also speaking, the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Development Strategies, Abdullahi Omaki, assured that the present administration would continue to leverage on science and technology to drive agricultural development in the country.
On his part, the Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule, commended the Federal Government for the establishment of AMEDI, Lafia, saying the project was aimed at creating wealth and alleviating poverty in the country.
He said, “This project is geared towards transforming the agricultural sector into an industrial hub, through job creation, youth empowerment, skills acquisition for value addition.
“It is pertinent to state that the intervention of the Federal Government in the conception and siting of this project is predicated on the belief that 80 per cent of the world economy is Advanced Manufacturing Technology driven.
“I am happy to state that NASENI has also set up the North Central Skill Development Centre in the Keffi Local Government Area of the state. These endeavours would be critical in the transformation of our dear state into a business hub and will no doubt, deepen the availability of skill manpower to match the influx of companies and organisations that have indicated interest to do business in the state.
“Let me specially commend the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, one of our illustrious sons, for his visionary leadership and for facilitating the establishment of the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute in Lafia. This gesture will remain indelible in the sands of time.”