The engineering community has lamented the increasing number of unemployment among their members and the large scale of hungry population within the sub-Sahara region, especially Nigeria.
They observed that the situation has dramatically risen to the level where one in every four people is said to be suffering chronic hunger steadily since 2007.
The engineers also made case for their inclusion in dam and irrigation projects for the provision of water to farms in the country.
President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Oliver Otis Anyaeji and his counterpart in the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Mr. Kashim Ali, made the observation at the Umuahia NSE Branch fourth Engineering Week/Public Lecture week held at the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umuahia.
Expounding on the theme: “Food Security in Nigeria: The Role of Engineers “, they noted that the problem is more worrisome in view of the negative indicators for our own part in the current World Hunger and Poverty report of the Food and Agricultural Organizations (FAO).
According to them. “More worrisome to them, is that this scenario obtains as engineering remains the pivot around which the noble ideals of society are built and achieved and when their services are highly needed for the urgent of development of the country”.
Describing the theme as very apt, Anyaeji stressed that engineers are strategically positioned to develop the requisite template for government to implement in order to ensure foods’ availability, accessibility and proper utilization.
The NSE president , who was represented by Jonathan Umeh , an engineer, pointed out the underlying vision of the organizers of the week activities is to galvanize experiences on the means by which we can transform our means of livelihood and economy”.
He, therefore, charged the branch to continually engage in building capacity for those he referred to as “ Young Engineers Future Leaders” to assist the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in respect of the mobilization of engineering graduates to engineering based institutions within their area.
For COREN’s President, engineers are expected to be problem solvers, thus, it is incumbent on them to proffer solutions to the unavailability of food by ensuring adequate agricultural mechanization.
Ali, who was represented by his Council member, Chief Uche Ukpabi stressed that it was high time the use of modern farm equipment such as tractors, harvester, ploughs were used to boost agricultural production.
He urged government to involve engineers in the construction of dams and irrigation for the provision of water to farms in the country to increase food production, stressing that engineers should take up this challenge and fully participate.
In his address, the Chairman of NSE Umuahia Branch, Mr. Uche Ihediwa said, the theme is apt especially at a time the Federal Government plans to launch what it calls “ Green Alternative” , in a bid to find a sustainable alternative to the Nation’s dwindling oil fortune.
According to him, the platform offers an opportunity to understand the significance of food security in Nigeria, the process of ensuring food security and also to explore innovative ideas that will ensure food security in Nigeria.