AU’s agric scheme’ll enhance mechanised farming –Expert

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Success Nwogu, Ilorin

The Director of Mechanisation, the Institute of International Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Peter Kolawole, says the Transformation of Africa Agricultural Technology initiative has been introduced by the African Union to empower farmers in Nigeria and other African countries.

This, he said, would help the farmers to use more technological tools and less of hoes and cutlasses in agriculture.

He decried the poor state of most farming equipment imported into Nigeria and other African countries for farmers.

He stated that the TAAT scheme would empower technological institutions in Africa to fabricate tools for farmers and encourage Africans to engage in agriculture regardless of their various professions.

Kolawole spoke during an inspection of some tools at the mini campus of the Kwara State Polytechnics, Ilorin, the institution said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement, signed by the Deputy Registrar, Information and Publicity Division, KwaraPoly, Mr. Moshood Amuda, disclosed that no fewer than 14 fabricated tools by the polytechnics were adopted and upscaled by IITA.

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Among the adopted tools, according to Amuda, are solar driers, boom sprayer (using battery), portable mobile cold storage maize planter, mower, cassava harvester and honey extractor.

He added that others were plantain chips pulverizer, locust bean diluter, pedal thresher, cassava frier, briquetting machine, bio-mass dryer (using briquettes) and evaporating cooler (for fruit and vegetables)

Kolawole said officials of IITA visited the institution to explore its available technology in order to partner with the polytechnic.

He said, “Once the fabricated tools for farmers are made in Africa to be gender friendly, everyone will be encouraged to engage in farming and it will assist the institutions fabricating these tools to improve on them.”

The Rector of KwaraPoly, Alhaji Mas’ud Elelu, who was represented by the Deputy Rector, Academics, Mr. Yekeen Oyebode, said the country’s economic problem could only be solved through agriculture.

He stated that 80 per cent of the approach to solving country’s challenges through agriculture revolved around engineering and technological development.

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Elelu assured the IITA team that the exploration visit conducted by the institute would go a long way to strengthen the relationship between the polytechnic and IITA.

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