President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) has commissioned the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (AMEDI) in Lafia, Nasarawa State, to make Nigeria West Africa’s hub for the development of agro-allied industries, machines and technologies.
Speaking at the event at the weekend, President Buhari said AMEDI, an institute under the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), will serve as the cradle for nurturing professional engineers and scientists proficient in the design and manufacturing of diverse agricultural machinery and equipment.
Science Nigeria reports that AMEDI is equipped with modern laboratories and machines for mechanised farming and agricultural development in the country, and is built to make Nigeria a hub and supplier of agro-allied technologies, equipment and machines towards achieving agricultural revolution within the West African sub-region and, also, to reduce Nigeria’s reliance on the importation of foreign technologies and all agricultural implements.
The institute houses a smart administrative block, juice-producing machine, tomato paste production and milk production factories, including laboratories and machine design workshops. Also, the institute is expected to host a demonstration farm which would serve as a pilot to showcase new farming methods using modern techniques in agricultural processing, innovation and technologies and a system of providing extension services to Nigerian farmers and agro-allied industries in the north-central region and beyond.
PMB commended the executive vice-chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna and the agency’s management for completing the ultramodern institute in record time, saying it would create jobs for the unemployed youths, as well as create wealth for the nation.
“You have worked very hard to achieve this. I commend you and your management for a job well done, to have completed this project with such speed,” the president stated.
Fielding questions from journalists after the event, Haruna averred that AMEDI Lafia was ready for commissioning as a result of the commitment, hard work, interest and patriotism of the NASENI management and the contractors handling the project, adding that the foundation-laying ceremony for the institute was performed on August 1, 2022.
“The laboratory, gatehouse and everything you see here was done within a space of five months. We are committed [and so are] the contractors. So, we worked 24 hours because we want the President to commission the complex before May 29, 2023 and we are here today for the ceremony. Despite distractions like rain, we were able to reach this stage. We thank God,” Haruna enthused.
Haruna listed the 24-hour on-site working schedule and supervising the project from Abuja and everywhere as some of the challenges which the project had to surmount.
“The other challenge is that this is not the only project. AMEDI, approved by the President, is one per geopolitical zone of the country. This one in Nasarawa is for the north-central. The one for the south-south is in Cross River [and] is now under construction. The one in southeast is located in Mbutu, Abom-Mbaise, Imoand is also under construction. We still have three more to go,” Haruna said.
He noted that the remaining three were the ones for which construction had commenced, adding that the other three – the northwest, northeast and the southwest in Oshogbo – were yet to commence but will soon take off.
“NASENI has taken up the challenge of assisting the Federal Government’s plans to promote food security in the country through the speedy completion of the agricultural machinery and equipment development institutes and also design and fabrication of a long list of agricultural process machines – including planters and harvesters – all aimed at making the agricultural sector viable and attractive to investors and farmers alike,” he added.
Haruna thanked the president for the encouragement, enabling environment and support that aided the agency to carry out its mandate.
The governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule who accompanied Buhari to the commissioning of the institute thanked him for inaugurating both Federal and state projects.
Sule, who lauded the president’s support towards education, healthcare delivery and increased security in the state, noted that AMEDI would transform agricultural production in the country and ensure food security.