The Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers (NIAE) has prevailed on the management of Topfaith University, Mkpatak, Essien Udim Local Government Area, to create the Department of Agricultural Engineering for the benefit of students and for the enhancement of food sufficiency in the country.
The national chairman of NIAE who doubles as dean, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering in the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Professor Akindele Alonge, made the call when he led the Akwa Ibom coordinator, Engr Ubong Augustine and his cabinet members on a courtesy visit to the vice chancellor of Topfaith University, Professor Patrick Ebeowo and the management team at Mkpatak.
Alonge said it would be a huge achievement should the management of the institution give approval for the establishment of the Department of Agricultural Engineering in the university.
He said NIAE has the required paperwork and manpower to assist the University in the establishment of the Department of Agricultural Engineering in the event of granting their request.
He noted that as a professional body, they have collaborations with government agencies and private companies in proffering solutions to the many agricultural problems.
Alonge posited that their undergraduates in other Universities were able to design and develop machines that are peculiar to our local needs such as Melon deshelling machine; Cassava peeling machine; Coconut deshelling machine, solar dryers, amongst others.
The innovation, he said, were made under the tutorship and supervision of seasoned lecturers who are members of the Association.
He explained that their visit was to foster and promote Agricultural Engineering education since Engineering was the core of national development, while Agricultural Engineering serves as the foundation for sustainable food sufficiency.
Alonge was optimistic that, with effective application of Agricultural Engineering, crop and livestock production, processing and packaging would be made simply above subsistent level.
He posited that training of more undergraduates to become Agricultural Engineering would create ample opportunities towards resolving food crisis through mechanised methods of agricultural production, processing, packaging and storage of agricultural products.
The national chairman said NIAE, which was established in 1975 was meant to promote the science and art of engineering in agriculture; encourage research in agriculture; advancement in the standard of Agricultural Engineering; promote healthy interaction among members and allied professionals, among others.
He congratulated the institution’s management for the high academic performance in the 2022 JAMB result and the acquisition of high standard academic facilities for the University to meet international best practices.
The vice chancellor of Topfaith University, Professor Patrick Ebeowo, said it was heart warming to his management team to welcome the delegation of NIAE for the realisation of mutual benefits.
Ebeowo said the University’s management was very happy when it received NIAE’s letter requesting for acourtesy visit in view of the fact that the institution was floated for unique academic and entrepreneurial philosophy to improve on the nation’s economy.
The chairman, Board of Trustees, Topfaith University, Dr. Emmanuel Abraham, remarked the institution, which situates on a land mass of more than 138 hectares in Mkpatak, Essien Udom Local Government Area, would be willing to partner NIAE for the best to be achieved for the collective interest of students and for the growth of agriculture.
Abraham assured that the University, which has Faculties of Management and Social Sciences; Computer and Applied Sciences; Law and; Engineering would be willing to accommodate Agricultural Engineering because of its pivotal role to agricultural advancement in the society.
He noted that the Faculty of Engineering, made up of Petroleum and Gas, Electrical and Electronics, as well as Computer and Telecommunications Engineering, could have taken care of Agricultural Engineering if the visit was at the time of creating the faculty, assuring that their request would be communicated to the board for discussion and consideration.