Some stakeholders has urged agricultural engineers to proffer measures of sustainability of a diversified economy through agropreneurship.
They made the plea in Lagos during the 19th International Conference and 39th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers (NIAE) tagged: “Eko 2018’’.
The theme of the conference is: “Agropreneurship for Sustainability in a Diversified Economy’’.
Agropreneurship has to do with entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector, making sustainable business ventures off agro-commodities; goods and services
Mr Adekunle Mokuolu, the National President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in his welcome address, described the theme of the conference as “current and germane’’.
Mokuolu said that the theme was germane because it would make the Nigerian economy, which in last couple of years was faced with price fluctuation, less-dependent on crude oil.
According to him, government is focused on the drive in the non-oil sector, especially agriculture, which is arguably the highest employer of labour.
“Data shows that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recorded in agriculture was the second highest GDP and this is cheering news for us.
“The focus as engineers is how we can sustain growth of the agricultural sector in a diversified economy and innovative ways of enhancing the quality and quantity of our produce.
“The fruits that get rotten in some states when they should have been processed as juice. Same goes to other farm produce.
Dr Shu’aibu Musa, National Chairman of NIAE, said that agriculture was one of the key promoters of the institution and the key sector that had the potential to contribute to the growth of the economy.
Musa said that agric engineers could raise a very large proportion of the population to produce food and increase the GDP.
He, however, explained that the conference would look at innovative ways to help in sustainability of a diversified economy.
The Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Mr Aliru Alade, in his address, said that the theme of the conference was chosen to key into the Federal Government’s effort to diversify the economy from a mono-revenue economy to a multi-revenue economy.
Alade said that the dependent on oil revenue as a mono-revenue had done more harm than good to the economy of the nation.
According to him, the government seems to be succeeding in its efforts to diversify the economy according to the statistics from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics in the first quarter of 2018.
“The main contributors to this growth were manufacturers of foods; contributing 0.9 per cent; wholesale and retail contributing 0 5 per cent; and construction contributing 0.4 per cent.
“However to sustain the tempo of the economic diversification efforts of the government, entrepreneurs in agriculture has to be taken seriously.
“Hence, the theme: Agropreneurship for sustainability in a diversified economy,’’ .
Special awards were given to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State; Gov. Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa and the Director General of FIIRO, Prof. Gloria Elemo.
The five-day conference holding at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos, started on Sept 10.