The Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC) had in the last one year trained not fewer than 100 entrepreneurs on how to process raw materials occurring naturally within their locality.
Director General of RMRDC Prof. Peter Onwualu in an interview said the entrepreneurs were empowered with new methods of processing the raw materials.
“The other thing we did last year was that every state office of our Council conducted a training workshop on different raw material available in that state,” he said.
The state offices of the Council collaborated with local chambers of commerce for this training. The idea was to empower Nigerians with skill that is required for processing raw material.
“In each case, between 100 and 150 people were trained on a particular raw material. Potential entrepreneurs were trained, SMEs (Small and Medium Scale Enterprises) either already in the business or want to enter into the business. So we trained them in those areas and the training was on new methods of processing.”
Onwualu said his team has developed and is disseminating adequate technology for value addition to raw materials and natural resources.
RMRDC gives research grant every year. During the 2011 Techno – expo RMRDC was able to showcase a number of research outputs based on research grant that they awarded to scientist in different sectors in the last few years. A number of those researches were displayed and displaying them means exposing them to possible investors that need to be aware of the research results.
There were exhibition of technologies and machines that were developed from the funding they gave to people or other inventors who developed technologies for value addition. These people were brought in from all over the country.
“For example there were exhibitions of machines for shelling melon. Now instead of shelling melon with bare hands, you can now shell melon with motorized machines and this can reduce the drudgery of shelling by mere fingers and also increase productivity. One interesting thing is that following that exhibition, we have enabled the fabricators we are working with to reproduce these machines for a number of cooperative societies including the group in Nassarawa and in Niger states, women who are involved in production and marketing of melon. Now they have machine for shelling. I understand their production has increased many fold.”
Another machine displayed during the exhibition has to do with processing rice, the entire value chain for rice processing. There were also machine for processing cassava for garri, high quality cassava flour for making different confectionary and also flour for making industrial starch and even for making chips. These machines were exhibited by different researchers. There are also other machines for processing meat like kilishi, machine for fish processing, machines for processing minerals such as kaolin and other products. One group exhibited machines for making chalk.
The director general said all these machines are now available for people to use and that anybody who wants to process any raw material in different parts of the country, there are machines developed.
The essence of the expo is that if anybody is interested in such machine, the council can link the person to the fabricator or the research institute that they know. There are also machines for making ceramics, for stone cutting and polishing. All the according to him are efforts aimed at empowering entrepreneurs with adequate resources for processing available raw materials.