At the just-concluded science and technology exhibition in Abuja, Nigerians, including high school students, showcased their inventions. Some of these inventions, if promoted, will drive agricultural mechanization in the country.

However, it seems that the focus is more on imported machines at the expense of talent which is devastating the country, while the country buys small portable machines from China and India at the expense of local producers.

At the exhibition, Daily Trust has caught up with some of these inventors with products that will not only reduce drudgery, but also reduce food waste at a time when population growth and climate change are more of a problem.

Mr. Josiah Sati Nyalwat, Chairman of the Plateau Manufacturers Association and Managing Director of Nyalwat Technical Works, who led other manufacturers to showcase their work, explained how painful it was to see the country importing what can be produced at home.

In a conversation, he explained some of the machines that he and his other contemporaries, as part of the Technology Incubation Center, have just invented to solve the problem of Nigerian farmers.

He began by explaining what had brought him to this field.

“In my local community, we have discovered that the biggest problem for farmers is machinery. They produce food through a manual farming method. They don’t have machines to thresh and process these agricultural products. We saw this as a big challenge, so we decided to make the versatile thresher that can solve this problem. The thresher is expected to improve farmers’ productivity and also reduce food waste.

“The thresher is designed in such a way that it can consume less energy but high output, then as you can see here the machine is capable of threshing up to 10,000 kg (10 tons) in one hour and farmers are already using the machine. The machine is tested, perfected and working very well with farmers,” he said. Daily Trust.

Parts are available because they are made locally. No parts are imported and they are cheap compared to imported ones.

The multipurpose thresher costs N250,000 but a similar imported product will cost N3 million

“This machine will serve the farmer for more than 10 years. I don’t think you’re going to have a problem as all the parts are very sturdy. We manufacture it according to the climatic conditions of Nigeria, with very solid parts. And what makes our machine different from others in the market is the strength of the material and also the arrangement of our beaters with bearings as well as the high quality. You do not need to lubricate the hoppers.

“The way we made the machines, people with disabilities can operate them, women can operate them. We have also arranged for students to come and learn. Technical school and university students – and we encourage students to research this invention so that when they leave for their graduation project they can add value to it so that when they go to their villages, it will help rural farmers in their communities,” he said.

Manufacturers in other states have also developed planters for corn, rice, and all grains to ensure uniformity in space and depth.

Major challenges

“The main challenge that we manufacturers face here in Nigeria is the lack of equipment. We are now in a digital world and we have to use CNC CNC machine to make our machines acceptable. This will help us produce parts to internationally acceptable standards. But, unfortunately so far, we have not established a factory or workshop where manufacturers can go very easily to design their machines and parts.

“I want to call on the federal government to look at us with a human face. They should be able to provide us with funds or buy the CNC machines for us at any time so that we can operate easily,” Mr. Nyalwat said.

The President said that obtaining financing from banks and any government institution is very difficult and time-consuming.

“Since 2016, I was looking for an intervention from the bank (NIRSAL) until today, we couldn’t get any. It’s very discouraging. Some asked for 25 million naira, they got 1 million naira. What will N1m do to a manufacturer? So I call on the federal government to take manufacturing seriously because these farmers, food processors and households depend on manufacturing, but funding is a major issue,” Josiah said.