Former NNPC boss Abubakar Yar’Adua, has advised farmers to embrace the use of harmless chemicals in storing their farm produce to avoid post harvest losses.
He also advised the farmers to adopt chemical processes to enhance their production and preservation of crops.
“Chemical engineering has provided harmless chemicals that could be used in storage of consumable crops which last for years but some of our farmers are ignorant of it.
“We can also convert some of them into medicinal activities, lotions, anti cancer products among others and it would improve the economy.”
The former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) gave the advice at the 49th annual conference of the Nigeria Society of Chemical Engineers, holding in Kaduna.
The theme of the conference is ‘Enhancement of Agricultural value chain for economic development: the role of chemical engineering.’
The former NNPC boss said that many people thought chemical engineering activities were applicable only in refineries and petrochemical industries.
He explained that chemical engineers are also being trained in agricultural processes like ethanol, medicinal and plastics, which support agricultural value chain.
“In agriculture, it is not only producing on the farm lands, it also involves processing; the power, use of steaming machines and preservation of farm products are all chemical engineering activities,” Yar’adua said.
The former NNPC boss noted that “in Nigeria we just produce the crops and consume them, when they are no longer in season, we only wait for the following season.
“The theme for today is aimed at encouraging and setting of agenda to the chemical engineers and the farming community to understand the use of chemical processes to enhance their production and preservation.”
He called on the private sector to tap into the chemical engineering activities to enhance preservatives and make available some crops which are out of season to the public at affordable price.
The President of the society, Engr. Onochie Anyaoku, said that Nigeria has suitable land mass for growing a wide variety of crops and needs to harness the opportunity.
“If serious efforts are geared towards formulation of visionary supporting policies for the enhancement of the agricultural value chain, agriculture would become the mainstay of the Nigerian economy,” Anyaoku said.