Agricultural Engineers have joined their voices to the endless call for Nigeria to diversify her economy through agriculture. In a courtesy visit by a delegation of Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers (NIAE). to the Vice Chancellor of’ Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Prof. Francis Otunta, the head of delegation and Vice Chairman of the institution, Engr. J.O. Olaoye made the call and also expressed gratitude to the Vice Chancellor for his generosity and support.
Engr. Olaoye described their visit which is part of the Institution’s 38th Annual General Meeting and 18th International Conference hosted by MOUAU as a happy one because of the theme of the gathering — ‘ Dynamics of Agricultural Engineering For Food and Agro-Industrial Raw Materials Production for Economic Recovery in Nigeria
In his response, the Vice- Chancellor Prof. Otunta applauded the Institution for her determination and purpose, urging them to open up their brain for the young ones to tap from which will contribute to the University’s in making Nigeria a country free of hunger through Agriculture.
At the opening ceremony, the President. of Nigerian Society of Engineers. Engr. Otis Anyacji, FNSE, emphasized the need to encourage the use of mechanized tools in farming in order to enhance Agric productions. He also encouraged reforming engineering departments through information and repositioning towards development and technology. He charged NIAE to be at its best in terms of practice and strive to get to the next level of operational practices and encourage large scale commercial practice of Agriculture by more people. Buttressing his point, Engr. Otis who was also the Chairman of the opening ceremony emphasized that Agriculture without Engineering is like a vehicle without wheels or Engine.
The Governor of Abia State. Dr. Okezie lkpeazu represented by the Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Agriculture Barr. Mrs. Ikonne, applauded the NIAE for their great initiative and vision emanating from the theme of the annual conference. Describing the occasion as very beneficial to the State, he urged them to extend the annual conference. Describing the occasion as very beneficial to the State. he urged them to extend the communiqué to the state government for more knowledge in the practice of Agriculture
The key note address presented by Prof. Umezurike Linus Opara from University of Stelleubosch, South Africa on ‘The Role ofAgro-industrialization in Nigeria’s Economic Recovery, An Agricultural Engineering Perspective’ centered on the challenging economy in Nigeria, caused by the dependence on oil export revenue which external influences have caused to experience a decline in prices triggering a recession. The shrinking ‘national cake’, he said Spurred the urgent call for ‘Green Alternative’ to economic recovery through the transformation of Agriculture as a new engine for growth and prosperity.
The Local Organizing Committee Chairman. Prof. V.I.O. Ndirika FNIAE in his closing remarks, expressed gratitude to the Vice- Chancellor for his unalloyed support towards the programme in all ramifications and encouraged all Agric Engineers to never relent in their zeal towards making Nigeria a hunger free nation.
Finally, he expressed his confidence in the caliber of keynote and lead paper speakers which he said gives an assurance that the outcome of the conference would be enriched by the presentations from these experts. This richness he opined would create opportunity comprehensive discussion on specific fields of interest and development of ideas for innovations.
The event was wrapped up on a celebratory note with the induction as Fellows of the keynote speaker, Prof. Umezuruike Linus Opara. Stcllcnbosch University South Africa and Prof. Michael Ngadi