Experts task FG on agro-processing technology
AS part of measures to boost food production and preservation, the Federal Government has been called upon to provide an enabling environment for fabricators of agro-processing machineries in the country.
Managing Director, Nobex Technology Limited, Idowu Adeoya, made the call at the flag-off of a week-long capacity building training for fabricators of agro-products’ drying equipment, in Lagos added that the measure would also stimulate diversification of the nation’s economy.
Adeoya, lamented that erratic power supply in the country is one of the major constraints confronting the fabrication of agro-products equipment, saying most times, operator resorts to the use of diesel to power the equipment. He, therefore, appealed to FG to make policies that would encourage the expansion of the agro-allied market along with provision of enabling environment.
Adeoya, who said his company had fabricated over 40 of the flash dryers in Nigeria, added that his company in Malawi had built one of such machines, while efforts were ongoing to replicate the same feat in The Gambia and Tanzania.
In his remarks, the Project Coordinator, Dr. Abdurazak Adebowale, who is also from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State, said that at the end of the entire exercise, each participating country will be provided one flash dryer each, while adding that necessary trainings would be provided for those that would be managing the equipment so that Nigeria would no longer be the only country in the region that has the equipment.
Adebowale explained that while the flash dryer is not particularly a new technology, the need to transfer the technology to other African countries became imperative due to the quality of dryers being fabricated in Nigeria, “it will also boost our earning of foreign exchange in the country.”
The training, which is being sponsored by the World Bank, in collaboration with Up-scaling the Nigerian Flash Drying Experience for Sustainable Regional Trade and Income Generation in West Africa (UDESWA), has participants from three other West African countries, namely; Sierra-Leone Agricultural Research Institute, Sierra-Leone, CSIR-Food Research Institute, Accra, Ghana and University of Aborney-Calavi, Benin Republic.
Participants are expected to be exposed to the design and operating procedures of the machine which is said to have higher industrial drying efficiency than any other type of dryer known. The focus of the forum was to impart the knowledge across the West Africa sub-region of the flash drying equipment, which has been captured under UDESWA.
One of the project resource persons, Prof. Sani Lateef, also said the Federal Government in collaboration with the Bank of Industry had in 2014, purchased and distributed about 30 flash dryers with a view to solving the problem of unavailability of high quality cassava flour in the country.
“One of the uniqueness of the flash dryer is the fact that it has 20-23 percent internal rate of return and has led to 50 percent reduction in fuel consumption.” Sanni, who is also the Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology, FUNAAB added, “Most existing processing centres in Nigeria and other countries in West Africa have no opportunity of this new efficient flash dryer.
Transferring this technology to private sectors in West Africa will afford them the opportunity to have fuel cost reduction, produce shelf stable flour and starch-like products from root and tuber crops, integrate their enterprises for regional trade and capacity of equipment fabricators in West Africa will be enhanced.”
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