“The Gideon Cocoa Pod Breaker”
The move towards improved mechanised farming in Nigeria is gathering a momentum at a fast speed, due to the re-awakening of its venture into farming as a practice and as an economic tool.
The government and the people of Nigeria are not relenting in their efforts to make farming more sophisticated and less cumbersome for the practitioners. A 66-year old Nigerian engineer based in Germany, Mr Olusegun Arowolo, has invented the world’s first ever cocoa pod breaking machine. The “Gideon Cocoa Pod Breaking Machine,” has been exhibited at the premises of the National Assembly in Abuja, Tuesday, 23rd of January, 2018.
During the public demonstration of the machine, which has the capacity to break 30,000 cocoa pods in one hour, Arowolo said the machine was designed to complete the mechanisation process of cocoa cultivation and boost cocoa production on a large scale for industrial uses. Arowolo who revealed that the machine was readily available in the country, added that the machine would also create jobs for the unemployed youths in cocoa plantations, thereby stemming rural-urban migration. “The use of the machine by cocoa farmers will boost the efforts of farmers to increase production, while it will also boost government’s efforts to revolutionise cocoa production,” he said.
Responding to the exhibition, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri said that the invention was in line with efforts by the Federal Government to revolutionise cocoa production, geared towards regaining Nigeria’s lost position in world’s cocoa production. He stressed the need to develop modern technologies in Nigeria, which has emerged as one of the largest economies in Africa and world.
Lokpobiri called on Nigerians to participate in efforts to diversify the economy through agricultural development. He identified manual cocoa pod breaking as a major challenge to efforts by the government to increase cocoa production for local consumption and exports, adding that with the invention, drudgery associated with cocoa farming had been conquered. “The machine will drive changes, encourage high productivity and the process will remove a substantial amount of drudgery from farm labour. Not only will it save the farmers from hard labour and long hours of breaking cocoa pods but it will also stamp out wastage in the process,” he said.
The senate president represented by The chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture , Abdullahi Adamu applauded Arowolo for the invention, he also urged the youths to promote commercial agriculture in the country through the development of technologies, and embrace large –scale farming to grow the country’s economy, he also pointed out that this will provide employment opportunity for the youths.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture , Abdullahi Adamu also commended Arowolo for the invention as this will reduce the farmers’ reliance on crude implements and improve speedy productivity, easier and just on time access to cocoa products. He said that the Senate Committee on Agriculture would review the public demonstration of the machine and make necessary recommendations to the Senate President and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Adamu assured that the committee could make recommendations to banks for loans and government for tax holidays to encourage local manufacturers of farm equipment in the country. Saraki, who was represented by Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, underscored the need for youths to embrace large-scale farming in efforts to grow the nation’s economy.
He said that government was committed to providing an environment that was conducive to modern agriculture, as part of efforts to boost agricultural production. Saraki said that this had become imperative as government was bent on reviving the economy through the non-oil sector, particularly through agriculture. He said that agricultural mechanisation would encourage the youth to participate in crop growing, as it would reduce the stress and drudgery associated with current methods of farming.
He said that technological innovations in agriculture would enhance agricultural productivity, which would consequently lift the nation out of economic recession and provide jobs for the youth. Saraki applauded Arowolo for inventing the cocoa pod breaking machine. Sen. Adamu, who spoke on behalf of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Agriculture, commended the inventor for thinking about Nigeria in his activities after a 40-year-sojourn in Germany. He said that the National Assembly had been making concerted efforts to make farmers adopt improved technology in their operations.
He said that the Senate Committee on Agriculture would review the public demonstration of the machine and make appropriate recommendations to the Senate President and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. He, however, challenged local manufacturers to venture into the manufacturing of farm equipment, saying that tangible efforts should be made to increase the availability of state-of-the-art agricultural equipment in the country.
Adamu said that the committee could also encourage local manufacturers of farm equipment by recommending them to banks and the government for loans or tax holidays. Also speaking, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, underscored the need to develop and fabricate modern technologies in Nigeria, which was one of the largest economies in Africa and world in general.
He said that Nigeria, which had abundant human and material resources, was also blessed with a huge population of young people who should be passionate in efforts to drive the economy through agricultural development. Lokpobiri said that the innovation was in line with the Federal Government’s plans to revolutionise cocoa production, with the aim of restoring Nigeria’s position as a leader in global cocoa production.
He said that the long and arduous process of breaking cocoa pods manually by farmers had been identified as a serious obstacle facing efforts to increase cocoa production for local consumption and exports. The minister said that the cocoa pod breaking machine would substantially remove the drudgery associated with cocoa farming. “The machine will drive changes, encourage high productivity and the process will remove a substantial amount of drudgery from farm labour. “Not only will it save the farmers from hard labour and long hours of breaking cocoa pods but it will also stamp out wastage in the process,” he said. The inventor, Arowolo, said that the idea of inventing the machine was conceptualised to complete the mechanisation process of cocoa cultivation and boost cocoa production on a large scale for industrial uses.
This invetion will enable organic farmers to use the machine as it is suitable for organic cocoa processing where by the farmer rest assured that there will be little or no damages, and will not have to bother about the hassles of preserving damaged cocoa seeds. The machine does not need any application of chemical before the pods are being broken and this encourages organic farming practice.
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