Agriculture, Business and Investment Development, Interview, Personality Interview

Interview: “My Company is Interested in Partnering LAUTECH College of Agric on Renewable Energy Generation and New Frozen Food Technology “ – Aminu Owonikoko

 

Interview:

“My Company is Interested in Partnering LAUTECH College of Agric on Renewable Energy Generation and New Frozen Food Technology “ – Aminu Owonikoko

The Chronicler Newspaper had an online chat with an alumnus of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, (LAUTECH) who is an indigene of Iseyin in Iseyin local government area of Oyo State over the weekend.

He spoke about his company’s readiness to partner the management of the College towards evolving new technologies in agriculture that will aid job development and research in Nigeria.

Enjoy the conversation:

The Chronicler Newspaper: Kindly introduce yourself.

Owonikoko: My name is Aminu Owonikoko. I am an indigene of Iseyin in Oke Ogun, Oyo state. Nigeria.

I earned my Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree in Process Engineering from The University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom and my Master of Science (MSc) in Process Technology and Business Management from The University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

I earned my Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Food Engineering from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso.

I worked briefly at University of Ibadan School of Business (UISB) as an Associate MBA Lecturer before I moved abroad.

I am the Founder of African Manufacturing Group (AMG). AMG focus on handling of agricultural produce by adding value to primary, intermediate and secondary raw materials from agriculture. We are currently working on “fruits in cups” project as well as suitable freezing technology that are practically applicable to agriculture produce/harvest.

The Chronicler Newspaper: How do plan to bring this expertise to Nigeria, especially Oyo State to benefit the government and the people, in a time that the government is working towards changing the State’s economy towards agribusiness?

 

Owonikoko: We are currently recruiting industries and government organisations to work with in Nigeria. Once we get the right support and encouragement, we will be physically present in Nigeria.

We strongly believe in local content development. African Manufacturing Group’s synergy is integrated into partnerships.

For example, our current team are of different experts from different institutions such as Brunel University London, Coventry University in the United Kingdom and Small Medium Enterprise (SME) panel at United Kingdom Cabinet Office.

Currently, we are trying to bring Rubinsky Biothermal Laboratory at University of California Berkeley in the USA on board because of their impeccable “isochoric freezing technology”. Freezing under isochoric conditions produced frozen foods that are superior to those preserved with conventional freezing techniques.

The Chronicler Newspaper: The Oyo State government has recently established the LAUTECH College of Agricultural Science and Renewable Resources at Iseyin, your community. How can you partner with the institution to not only support the drive of the government in making sustainable agricultural business become the new big income spinner, but also promote research, empower young graduates and unemployed youths in this area?


Owonikoko: I am aware of this excellent news and as an alumnus of the great University and bonafide indigene of Iseyin, we would be very glad to work with the institution. My Master of Science (MSc) research project was based on renewable energy generation from broomcorn (broomcorn is a specie of sorghum family and it can be planted anywhere in the world).

The partnership scheme could be to work together to translate community problems into specific questions that we can answer in the laboratories, while also providing non laboratory based answers.

If the Lautech College management are ready for partnership, we can start communicating online via Zoom video and WhatsApp.

The Chronicler Newspaper: People will like to know some of your experiences in relation to Agricultural research and how government can key into the programmes.

Owonikoko: Yes. While abroad, I have worked as a Graduate Research Assistant with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA – Agricultural Research Service) in Manhattan Kansas. Also, I worked as a Graduate Research Assistant with Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Centre in Salina Kansas in USA.

The realistic efforts from the government and the people is to support research, design and development (RDD) practices in agricultural sector which is what African Manufacturing Group is offering.

The support should not necessarily mean financial support. It could be just moral support. The support will eventually be the part of inputs which will add value to the outputs. By so doing, the Agribusiness supply chain will be nimble with highest quality and attracts both local and foreign investments.

The agricultural produce/harvest also needs to be processed to increase their shelf life which will help to have a year-round season products displayed on the retail/supermarket shelves where the actual profits are. This is what our “fruits in cups” research project is addressing and targetting.

End.