By Gabriel Chy Alonta & Lawrence Nwimo
Integration of modern farming facilities in the agricultural sector to achieve self sufficiency in the country, formed the crux of discussion as experts chart new course at the maiden conference of Anambra State Polytechnic, (ANSPOLY), Mgbakwu.
The 3-day inter-disciplinary conference, which took place recently at the institution, was themed, “Emerging Global Challenges: Sustainable Paradigm for Development.”
According to the experts, the conference would challenge unemployed youths, as well as ensure sufficiency in food production. It also provided an avenue through which raw materials could be made available to agro-based industries and a source of income to members of the society.
Presenting the lead paper, the chairman, ANSPOLY Governing Council, Prof. Prosper Omaliko, argued that the future of agriculture in Nigeria strongly rests on the adaptation of new designs and innovation in agricultural mechanisation technology from imported equipment and machines.
Omaliko also stated that agriculture have passed the stage where ordinary farm implements are used to carry out farming activities, while calling on the government to quickly craft opportunities where people, especially those interested in the agricultural sector, could benefit from.
His word, “Agriculture these days is no more about machete and hoe, which people call ‘ordinary farmer’ and which has chased many youths away from farming.
“The aim of the conference is to bring back the glamour that is associated with agriculture. Now, you can stay in a 3 bedroom house and produce three million seedlings which is capable of generating millions when sold.
“We want to let people know that there are many areas individuals can invest such as rice, livestock or poultry, cassava, and so on, which have good profit margin”.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Tertiary, Science and Technology Education, Prof. Theresa Obiekezie, emphasised the need to put the communique and resolutions reached at the conference to practice.
While speaking on the theme of the conference, the commissioner, represented by Mrs. Monica Okoye, said the conference would inculcate the needed changes to students, staff and society at large.
“Inter-disciplinary conference gives the students as well as teachers the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas which is good, as ideas are shared among participants.
“Education is the bedrock of development, so, being an institution of learning, everything that is being done here is for the good of our children and society”, the commissioner said.
In an address, the Rector of the polytechnic, Dr. Nneka Mefoh, urged participants to address all major issues related to technology transfer and commercialisation modalities, so that venture capitalists, funds from internal and external sources, could be attracted for investment in agriculture.
Mefoh stressed that Anambra state polytechnic has a mandate to be a leading polytechnic of great reputation with an outstanding and enviable academic standard.
She said the institution is on course to be ranked among the best polytechnics globally in academics, assuring that the polytechnic would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the tempo of development is sustained.
Earlier, the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Sunday Okagbue (Anipr), said the maiden conference would usher in more inter-disciplinary conferences in the polytechnic.