FUTA don reveals how boost in food production can end recession


• Calls for pre-emptive measures to effectively checkmate flooding
A call has been made to government at different levels and the Nigerian populace to take adequate care of the soil and water resources as a way out of the current recession and food shortage.
Prof. Michael Alatise of the Department of Agricultural Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure made the call while delivering the 80th inaugural lecture of the institution, in which he spoke on the topic: “Harnessing Soil and Water Resources: The Engineer’s Power Pack for Sustainable National Food Production.”
Alatise declared that, “if soil and water resources are properly harnessed, it can bail Nigeria out of her present economic recession, create jobs for our virile youths and ensure food security.”
The don said to boost food production, there must be soil classification studies in eight different hydrological zones of the country to ascertain the soil type suitable for a particular crop in the different zones that make up Nigeria.
He also urged government to acquire land for would-be farmers while permission should be given to individual peasant farmers to own their farms in the areas of operations of the basins, for a reasonable fee.
He appealed for appropriate empowerment for engineers to enable them tackle headlong the problems associated with food production and called for public-private partnerships in irrigated agriculture.
“Irrigation is an important component of agriculture and its practice can boost national food production. Substantially, government should give the necessary encouragement to massive irrigation schemes for the cultivation of crops suitable for each of the eight hydrological areas in the country,” Alatise, a renowned Professor of Agricultural Engineering and current Dean, School of Engineering and Engineering Technology with almost four decades teaching and research experience, said.
Lamenting flood incidents that he described as a major disaster to food production, Alatise opined that the daily occurrence of flood incidents in nearly all the states of the federation leading to loss of lives and property and denudation of farmlands should be urgently addressed. To this end, he called for flood studies on our major rivers. “There is the need for pre-emptive measures to effectively counter flooding,” he said.
He advised the Federal government to urgently harness water resources, audit network of rivers, streams, lakes and fountains, measure the quantity and quality and empower relevant agencies as universities and research institutes to embark on total rehabilitation of water resources.
Addressing guests at the lecture, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, who also chaired the occasion commended the brilliant delivery by Prof. Alatise, who he described as an “innovative teacher, researcher, a leader and mentor of uncommon mental capacity whose works have positively impacted societies beyond our shores.”
Source: TheSun


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