The Sunday News
LAST week, we carried a story of poultry farmers who have taken a giant step and are investing in massive climate controlled fowl runs.
This is aimed at reducing mortalities incurred when one is using ordinary poultry houses. Ordinary poultry houses are subject to severe temperature fluctuations as they respond to the prevailing atmospheric temperatures. I had the opportunity of seeing the said structures along Nkayi Road albeit from a distance.
What cannot be missed is the clear statement of intent which is pronounced by the mere level of civil and architectural engineering that is being applied on the structure.
I want to applaud such brave and ground-breaking investment in technology and innovation to address a specific farmer needs. There is no doubt that these climate controlled poultry houses will increase the farmer’s production capacity exponentially.
The farmer will be able to control the temperature of the poultry houses and produce exactly the quantities of birds that he desires. I have previously lamented the lack of innovation in our agricultural sector, a crime which I have apportioned squarely on our institutions of higher learning.
It is pleasing to see the private sector taking a lead in adopting latest technologies and innovation in production.
Our universities and research institutions need to complement these efforts by providing even more customised versions of such technologies at more affordable prices.
It is not in contest that for as long as such important technologies and innovations are imported they will always be steep and out of reach of many smallholder farmers.
It would really be a pleasant occasion to see one such innovation being unveiled at some engineering company in Belmont industries. The death of innovation in the country is appalling and a serious reprimand of our education system which we are so keen to parade to everyone who cares to listen as the best.
Really, how does a whole country explain that it is importing toothpicks from as far as China yet we have vast forests which should provide enough raw materials for such a product?
Honestly we need to re-look at ourselves if we need the world to take us seriously.
Just this past week I discovered that ear tags have gone up from around $22 to $42 for a pack of 20. The reason is because they are being imported. But really, what more is an ear tag other than a thicker version of a polymer plastic! Are we honestly saying that our biochemistry and polymer science departments in our universities and polytechnics are so inept that they cannot make a simple ear tag and we have to import?
You are a professor of polymer science and you can’t produce a mere ear tag to solve a farmer’s problem! I lamented some time ago of a similar gap which our industries are failing to fill. I spoke of weaning rings or plates. These are also nothing more that plastic rings or plates with spikes designed to stop a calf from continuing suckling when it has reached the age of being weaned off. These weaning gadgets are imported from either South Africa or Germany and again the question is why? It is against such a frustrating background that I find the investment by the farmer(s) in a climate controlled poultry house quite refreshing.
One only hopes that we can continue to see more private sector players bringing in more innovation and technologies to solve numerous farmers challenges.
Above all I pray for our innovators to be able to improve on such innovations by giving them more properties and characteristics that answer to our peculiar needs as a country and people.
That way we can begin to see more useful technologies at more affordable prices.
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