Bauchi — Agricultural engineers across the country have advised the Federal Government to use the large number of dams spread across the country by developing the downstream infrastructures for all year farming.
The engineers stated this in a communiqué distributed to newsmen at the end of the National Conference for Agricultural Engineers held at the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi. They advised government to embark on nationwide rehabilitation of all irrigation schemes in order to have quantum leap in agricultural production.
The communique which was signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the Agriculcultural Enginers Institute, Professor Babatunde Adewumi and Dr. Mike Enaboifo, respectively, want government to promote agricultural products processing for oriented market value addition; reduce post-harvest loses; and create employment opportunities to reduce poverty. It also advised that all existing rural feeder roads in dilapidated condition be rehabilitated and more opened to link farms to the markets.
The communiqué noted that in order to increase food production and reduce importation, government should give more attention to agricultural production than oil.
It should also fully implement the Agricultural Technology Agenda (ATA) for sustained national food security and promote the formation of cooperative societies in agricultural mechanization by producing financial windows, it said.
According to the communiqué, ATA would be enriched if government expedites action to ensure that the draft agricultural mechanization policy is legislated and passed into law to enhance large scale commercial agriculture.
It also stressed the need for government to revamp the river basins for the optimum utilization of the abundant land and water resources, while technical personnel in the agricultural establishment, especially agricultural engineers, be maximally and appropriately utilized for efficient services.
The communique frowned at indiscriminate agricultural machinery importation, and urged that the agricultural machinery testing and certification programme at the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization (NCAM) be strengthened.
It stressed on the need for NCAM and the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) to collaborate to ensure that only certified agricultural equipment that can adapt to our environment are promoted for importation.