A Professor of Agricultural and Bio-Resource Engineering and the Vice Chancellor of Capital City University, Kano, Sadiq Zubair Abubakar, has stressed the need for the development of efficient technology transfer methods that would enable rice farmers adopt improved production, harvest and post-harvest technologies.
The move, he noted, would enable them exploit the export potential of Nigerian rice.
Speaking at the fourth edition of the annual Nkechi Isigwe Annual Lecture,
(NIAL), themed, ‘Women Entrepreneurs in a Digital Generation’ held, recently in Lagos, Abubakar recalled that two established processing companies, Vetee and Olam, owned by Indian nationals in Nigeria have taken the lead as they source improved seeds for farmers and provide extension services.
“The recent Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) interventions led by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), NIRSAL, BoI, BOA, is encouraging more of such private firms joining the Nigerian rice economy which can launch our entry into the internal market,” he said.
The don said he believes that the country is endowed with diverse situations that allow for efficient and profitable rice production competitive to world standards, while stressing the need for an improvement of rice production clusters.
“This will be within the existing and potential rice production ecologies in each of the states.”
He emphasised on the challenges of rice value chain affecting the major actors involved in the rice businesses and economy saying that the non-competitiveness of local rice as well as post-harvest losses along the rice value chain contribute to huge economic losses to both farmers, processors and the marketers, leading to rise in food prices for consumers.
According to him, ” most farmers are small small scale, uneducated, lack technology, knowledge and capital for favourable competition at all levels.”
Abubakar however, stressed the need for tertiary institutions and research institutes to strategically develop an entrepreneurial mindset by proactively marketing technologies developed at the institutions for use by those who need them noting that such inventions must be pushed into the market by collaborating with farmers and the industry to test prototypes of the innovation.
In her remarks, the President of Association of Professional Women in Engineering (APWEN), Mrs. Funmilola Ojelade said the lecture was aimed at honouring one of its founding members who also served as it’s second president, and that it helps fulfil its mandate as an educational organisation through knowledgeable speakers who make presentations to educate the public on topical issues.
She said entrepreneurship is a subject that is dear to the heart of the honoree; Nkechi Isigwe who passionately desires to see the youths be the best that they can be.
The lecture witnessed the award of prizes to pupils who participated in the Africa-wide competition that required them to draw a female engineer. The competition organised by Women in Engineering Committee of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), saw Nigeria winning the first, second, sixth and seventh positions.