AMEDI laudable if sustained


The Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (AMEDI), was inaugurated recently by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, with a view to enhance food security and create jobs for the youths across the country.

AMEDI is a multi-billion naira product of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), equipped with modern laboratories and machines for mechanised farming and agricultural development in the country.

AMEDI is one of the Buhari administration legacies projected to make Nigeria a hub and supplier of agro-allied technology, equipment and machinery.

Apart from this, the project is also aimed at making the nation self-sufficient in food production as well as creating more sustainable jobs for Nigeria’s teeming youths in a way of pushing back the frontiers of unemployment.

The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive of NASENI, Prof. Muhammed Sani, took the president round to inspect facilities, including equipment and laboratories at the institute, to the satisfaction of the president.

The NASENI boss said the foundation laying for the construction of the institute and its inauguration was within a period of less than six months, meaning that it was promptly done. Of course, it’s commendable. The project was the second inauguration of the agency’s projects by the president within a span of three months, according to Sani.

Sani said, “We the management and staffers of NASENI are not taking this rare privilege for granted. The foundation laying for construction of this institute and its inauguration today is within a period of less than six months.”

It would be recalled that President Buhari has directed the establishment of six new Agricultural-Technology-based Institutes across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria in 2021.

“NASENI under my leadership has developed a culture of speedy delivery on presidential directives not only to justify the new status of the agency, but also to fast-track transition of Nigeria to a manufacturing knowledge-based economy,” Sani said.

According to him, AMEDI, Lafia is the first to be completed among the six equals across the geo-political zones of the country. In essence, we are still waiting for the delivery of the remaining five in other zones.

Sani also mentioned that the conceptualisation of the institute was targeted at the use of science and engineering infrastructure to support the presidential efforts in the attainment of food and nutritional security in Nigeria and for Nigerians.

“The peculiarity of our soil with inherent edaphic factors and peculiar topography require the production of made in Nigeria agricultural implements, machinery and equipment that can support responsible and productive agricultural practices in the face of climate change.

“We are conversant with the Sustainable Development Goals and our national expectations to end hunger and create decent cum inclusive jobs for our youth and women.

“We are resolved at NASENI to use the platforms of AMEDIs to modernise agri-business in Nigeria and ensure sustainable scaling of agro-enterprises for new jobs and wealth creation,” he hinted.

He further revealed that, “as a modular agricultural institute, AMEDI Lafia and others when completed, had a template to advance the injection of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the agricultural space across the country.”

According to him, the inbuilt capabilities of the institutes would ensure the use of additive and SMART manufacturing platforms already acquired by NASENI system-wide to design, develop, assemble and produce agricultural and food processing implements for various classes of farmers.

“The main workshop in the institute shall become a model of SMART factory that will leverage cutting edge technologies to deliver Made- in-Nigeria products and market demand- driven services that are suitable for both our farmers and arable lands.

“The crop-livestock integration farming model to be practised in the experimental farm of the institute is strategic to training of farmers and agro entrepreneurs on sustainable farming methods using land resource optimization models.”

AMEDI is equipped with Central Research Laboratory that will support the research activities of the institute along the various value chains of the target product lines of the institute.

According to Sani, the institute had installed modern equipment for the processing of fruit juices, milk and other dairy products and tomato processing.

In his words, “Each equipment that is installed here is for backward integration and multiple and improved versions would be produced by the institute for the benefits of farmers and agro-equipment industries that would mass produce to meet the demand of the nation.”

Sani maintained that the mandate of the institute aligned perfectly with the NASENI’s National Tractor and Heavy Duty/Machinery Recovery, Refurbishment and Redeployment project.

“The exhibition centre of the institute shall engage in showcasing of agricultural innovations and serve as a point of attraction for youth engagements in agriculture for job and wealth creation,” he assured.

AMEDI and other NASENI programmes are well articulated. They’re meant to transform and uplift the quality of life of the citizens. They are tailored in a way to diversify, by drifting from oil based economy to grab the vast comparative advantage we have in agriculture.

Truly, it’s attainable. The opportunities are there. But then, is the political will there? Yet, the plans and structures look mouth-watering, they seem excellent and perfect. But can we really match our words with actions?

We are not just seeing or hearing about well structured plans and projects in Nigeria. Most of them started well only to end in fiascoes. Huge sum, tax payers money would have gone into it with no meaningful results.

Some projects are purposely initiated to siphon money. At times, the initiators have good intention, but after living office, and successors without vision take over, everything falls by the way side, leaving the whole investments to go into the drain. How much of the national revenues can we remember that have gone with such?

We are hoping that the AMEDIs and other NASENI’s projects will not go the way of the former failed projects. Project should not stop at planning and disbursement of funds. Plans can only be meaningful when they are carried out and sustained, accurately at that. If these programmes are well executed as planned and structured, apart from the intent of food security and job creation, they’re capable of transforming the economy. Then, we can say it is laudable. Until then, we keep hoping.