Graham Hefer, GM of Okomu has insisted on the need of upgrade technology and skills in Nigeria. Okomu has made a donation of a full library; they also spent #20m to skill or re-skill local people. Nigeria is late regarding the seed development; they just begin the 2nd generation compare to the 3rd generation already present in some countries.
Agric institutions need assistance to upgrade technology – Okomu Boss
Nigerian Agricultural institutions need assistance in the area of technological improvement, the Managing Director of Okomu Oil Plam Plc, Dr Graham Hefer has observed.
Hefer, in an exclusive interview with AgroNigeria said agricultural institutions including universities of agriculture where the agriculture scientists are, need assistance to upgrade technology, and get the people into the 21st century.
He stated this consequent upon his findings that the newest book in the library of Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) was written in 1953.
He however said that Okomu Oil Palm Plc has been assisting NIFOR the best way it can with laboratory systems.
His words: “The newest book on their library was 1953 before we gave them a library full of books. They could not do the soil sample test for their courses because they never had any of the required chemicals needed to test the soils. We assisted them because those are the types of people that will come through the ranks to us; if we don’t help them there, we will have to teach them here again, it is an extra cost to the company,” Hefer said.
He said his company recently spent about #20m in skilling and re-skilling people alone. He lamented the lack of skilled personnel; noting that looking at upgrading skills, “one of the biggest problems we have here in Nigeria is that of getting the requisite skills, farming is no longer pick-and- shovel, you have to have sophisticated people learning what they need to do.”
The Okomu boss lamented that despite the fact that NIFOR is the oldest oil palm research institute in the world with very promising potentials “unfortunately it is falling behind, with their own starting with second generation seeds, most other countries in the world are already into third generation, these are the things that need to move forward,” Hefer stated.