“Reverse Engineering: Panacea To Waste, Not Want Not”- Idiat Amusu

“Reverse Engineering: Panacea To Waste, Not Want Not”

This is the topic at the 8th Inaugural Lecture, given by Idiat Aderemi Amusu, Chief Lecturer in Food Technology and Agricultural Technology, at Yaba College of Technology, Tuesday 29th, May, 2015.

This lecture was based on:
– The challenges of food facing the world and Nigeria
– Population dynamics and food security in Nigeria
– Food loss and waste
– Food Processing and food security
– Relating topics to professional experience.
While the main question is “What did the Asian tigers do to move their countries from low industrialised country to highly industrialised nations?”

Reverse Engineering (RE) “is a process of measuring,analyzing, and testing to reconstruct the mirror image of an object.” It is also “the adjustment,alteration, or partial replacement of a product in order to change its function, adapting it to meet a new need.”

RE techniques have been applied in many key areas of industries in order to achieve the following:
* design of new components,
* reproduction of an existing component,
*recovery of a damaged or broken component,
* development of model precision,
* observation of a numerical data, and so on.

Situations where RE techniques have been applied, for example are:
-Military: They have developed an armored vehicle called “Igirigi”.
-Shoes: Aba shoe makers have one well such that you need a very good discerning eye to differentiate their own Gucci shoes and bags from the one made in Europe. And many others.

One of the major need for RE is food production and this lead to Amusu’s concern on Food Security (FS), which she defined as “a function of food production level,that is,high level of food production.”

Food Security, was defined at the World Food Summit of 1974 as “the availability at all times of adequate world food supplies of basic food stuff to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuation in production and prices.”

She says, 1billion people go to bed hungry everyday with no better tomorrow. Out of this 1billion, over 200 million come from the developing world especially South Sahara Africa and Nigeria, which contribute about 1/3 of this population.

In other words, “everyday about 60 million Nigerians go to bed hungry.”

Food Waste
“In the fight against global hunger,increasing food production is not the only solution;the issue of post-harvest loss must be tackled squarely for effectiveness, as roughly one-third of the food produced in the world  goes to waste, a staggering of 1.3 billion tons every year.

She added that, according to NIFST report in 2001, “an excess of 10 million tonnes of grain equivalent of food per annum, conservatively estimated at over Eight hundred and Twenty Five billion Naira, was reported to be lost to spoilage and wastage occasioned by the lack of post harvest management “, in Nigeria.

Therefore, “there is an urgent need to increase shelf-life of food materials and to extend the period of availability.”
“With appropriate processing methods, the shelf life of produce is extended, contributing to higher nutritional and economic value, thus contributing to the food security concern of the population.”

As a solution to food wastage, Amusu says, “if 50 per cent of produce that are lost/wasted along the food chain is channeled to feed the factories and reduce wastage, there will be increase in economic gains of those involved in the food supply chain.” “The populace is guaranteed long term availability and there will be an extension of shelf life of agro raw materials consequently an improvement in the economy.

The need for hand in hand functionality between agriculture and technology is pertinent, but this still remains a major challenge as to do any of these will require serious sponsorship. So there is need to “focus on development of all the relevant machinery and equipment that can kick-start our industries.”

We must also “develop our food machinery based by equipping our work force with necessary capacity to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Is RE Illegal?
“It depends on who is answering”, she says. ” I want to agree with Professor Kwaku Atwuahere-Gima that RE is perfectly legal and that it is the most appropriate method of adapting product to the developing countries market needs.”
“You will agree with me that people who claim that RE is illegal are the people who believe that  to innovate one has to start from idea to patentable product.”

In conclusion she advocate for the “restructuring of the Mechanical engineering programme to include computer aided manufacturing RE as a course as well as Technological change and Innovation to lay the foundation for the development of a silicon valley in Yaba College of Technology”. This she says “should be backed up with appropriate equipment and relevant training of staff so that RE will be ingrained on the student upon graduation.

She also calls on the government “to provide funding for the procurement of adequate and relevant equipment and machinery for all nutritional technical workshop and laboratories.” This she says “will enhance the teaching and learning of technical vocational and learning.”

The Journey of Idiat Amusu/Professional Growth
Idiat Aderemi Amusu’s craze for RE started in 1997; her first challenge came from the then Rector of Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Dr Taiwo Adeife Osemekhai. With this, she accepted to fabricate the following equipment that they require for them to scale through the NBTE accreditation hurdle for their HND food technology programme with the approval of the Rector Chief Mrs Odugbesan. They are: equipment for wet and dry laboratory-canning line made up of boiler, can seamer, steam jacket pot, retort, exhauster, for wet lab, while the cabinet dryer, drum dryer, smoking kiln, makes up the dry lab and the bakery unit which comprises the dough divider and the proffer.

She joined the Nigerian Society of Engineers in 1991,became an elected member of the executive in 1998 and served in many councils in committees and became a fellow in 1999. She is also a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Agricultural Engineers.

She became the Head of Food Technology department in 1996 and at the creation of the school of Technology became the pioneer Director in 1998 until 2002, within which period she had a brief illness of about one year which transmitted her to the world of amputees.

Amusu later proceeded to Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, for her sabbatical leave in 2008 where she was given the mandate to prepare the department for reaccreditation for HND; this involved revamping all the food processing equipment both in wet and dry laboratories.

In addition she was able to set up a functional bakery for the department, which is still serving the community within and outside the community.

On resumption in 2009, she was assigned to start the newly established department of Agricultural Technology at Odoragushin on a virtually virgin land.

Idiat Amusu started her career on the farm in 1977 and returned back to it 34 years after.


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