The Director-General of National Information Technology Development NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa says modernizing the agricultural sector can multiply its contributions to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP and improve food security.
He stated this at the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) training programme for 100 farmers at the Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB) Abeokuta, Ogun State, South-West, Nigeria.
Represented by the Acting Director, Digital Economy Development Department, NITDA, Salisu Kaka, he said;“If the agriculture sector is properly enhanced, will be means of eradicating poverty, improving the standard of living, and diversifying the economy as well as creating prosperity for Nigerians. Undoubtedly, digitization of the economic sectors has proved to be the game-changer for economic transformation across the globe.”
According to him, Agriculture remains one of the critical sectors of the nation’s economy.
The Director-General however added that the sector could not prevent the country from over reliance on agricultural produce to complement the internal demand in the country; “This situation could be linked to lack of modernization of the Agricultural practices in the country.”
Inuwa listed other challenges faced by farmers as “Lack of easy access to market, fertilizer, constitutes a major obstacle to sufficient growth of the sector, hence the poor interest in farming by the youths coupled with the effect of climate change.”
Nevertheless, he noted that despite these challenges, efforts by the government especially at the federal level is changing the situation, “There is a sharp decline in the importation of agricultural produce.” He stated that Nigeria has the resources in landmass and Youth population.
Inuwa, therefore, encouraged citizens of Ogun State to take advantage of the large arable land size and youthful population; “This is a great opportunity for the State to tap and with these opportunities, Ogun should play a critical role in feeding the country and exporting to the world. We just need to rethink the way Agriculture is practised.“
The NITDA boss stressed the need for the country to turn the challenges into opportunities and turn the opportunities into prosperity this can only be achieved through Technology-enabled mechanized farming which has been proved to be a productive and sustainable agricultural practice.
“We have done in NITDA is to change the narrative by coming up with initiatives that try to integrate digital technologies and innovations gradually into agriculture through the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) and other digital agricultural initiatives to support the digitization of the agricultural sector to address our obvious challenges, exploit the opportunities and accelerate economic growth.
“In a bid to maximize outcomes, NITDA is partnering with Agricultural institutions in Nigeria. We have partnered with the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) to empower 100 best students in their farm practical year (FPY).
“In the coming years, we would start integrating emerging technologies such remote sensing, geospatial analysis, Artificial Intelligence, Big data analytics, blockchain among others to develop smart agriculture solutions, that create new business models and opportunities across the agric value chain for the agric ecosystem players. This will, in no measure, boost the economic diversification, growth and prosperity of the country.“
Tablets and N100,000 Smart Farmers Seed fund were presented to 100 beneficiaries of the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA).
This year’s edition is presenting a green energy-powered smart brooding to improve the survival rate of broilers, a smart irrigation system to support a year-long production, and a soil nutrient monitoring system to support information-driven farming on a demo land.