George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has expressed optimism that the Agriculture and Machinery Development Institute (AMEDI) will hasten the mechanisation of agriculture and enhance food security in the country.
The minister said the project is in line with the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari to boost food security, disclosing that with the full operation of the institute, the country will be able to export machinery to other African countries.
Onu spoke when he inspected the project at the weekend.
He also said AMEDI, located at Mbutu, Aboh Mbaise in Imo State, is a project of the National Agency For Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and would encourage research and Nigerians to design machines locally.
The minister decried a situation where Nigeria was at one time rated as the world’s highest importer of rice, describing such situation as unacceptable.
He pointed out that the project, when completed will help in commercialising agriculture with the involvement of the private sector and encourage local production through the use of locally made machinery.
“This Institute will help us achieve the task of boosting food production.
“It will promote food security. It will carry out research and design. There is need to mechanise our agriculture.
“Good enough, the machines are on ground and they are locally made and once the project is completed, it will be beneficial.
The representative of the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, Mrs. Nonyem Onyeji, who is the director of Policy Planning, Policy Analysis, said AMEDI will aid in boosting agricultural production through effective use of locally made machines.
She said the project kick-started in December 2012 had been hampered by lack of funds until it was included in the 2018 budget, stating that the project will soon near completion.