A university don, Professor Babatunde Ajayi of the Department of Forestry and Wood Technology of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), has advised Nigeria to transform the many benefits of agricultural by-products to create wealth and sustainable development.
He made the remarks while delivering the 77th Inaugural Lecture of the institution, saying that adequate use of the byproducts would help reduce the exploitation of forests biodiversity, increase efficiency in wood resources utilisation, and prevent environmental degradation.
According to Professor Ajayi, making use of the byproducts will also help alleviate poverty, mitigate climate change and increase raw material base for construction work.
Speaking on the topic: ‘Adding Value to Biofibre Wastes: A Lesson from Creation’, Ajayi said various manufacturing processes of new products open up a large vista of opportunities for job creation, new products development, healthier environment, commerce and sustainable chains of profitable activities.
He described fibrous wastes as materials considered to be of no economic importance which are derived from the processing of fibrous materials such as wood, wood climbers, shrubs, bio composite panel products and any agricultural farm produce.
Ajayi listed the benefits of the use of agricultural residues to include reduced pressure on forest resources biodiversity, increased innovation in products manufacturing, poverty alleviation, increase in farmers’ income, and increase in raw materials supplies for construction industries.
The Professor of Wood Products and Biomaterials Technology lamented that the mismanagement of forest resources has given rise to enormous wood wastes generated in every forest, which he attributed to over-exploitation of timber resources without skillful harvest techniques, and inadequate modern technology in wood wastes management.
On the way forward, he emphasised the need for the government and all stakeholders to bridge the technological gap in intensive commercialisation of research products, particularly in tertiary institutions.