The National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), in collaboration with Ekiti State Government have concluded the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) empowerment programme for 140 farmers in Ekiti State.
This was aimed at building a digital platform for transformation of the Agricultural sector.
NAVSA was designed to support the Federal Government’s effort to create more jobs, make agriculture attractive to the youths, improve food productivity, increase wealth and income of farmers and agric value chain players, and improve food security.
Speaking at the ceremony marking the the adoption of the farmers in Ekiti State, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami said the requirements to succeed in the 4th industrial revolution necessitate digitalization to be at the core of any nation’s developmental policy.
Dr Pantami asserted that the potential benefits of digitizing the agrofood sector are convincing but it would require major transformations of farming systems, rural economies, communities and natural resource management and this is a challenge which requires a systematic, technology-driven and holistic approach to achieving the full potential and benefits.
The Minister noted that the Smart Agriculture was part of promoting Digital Innovation and Digital Entrepreneurship and agriculture has been very significant to economy.
He said that building a digital platform to connect agriculture ecosystem to deliver services to farmers in a more productive and efficient manner is in the interest of nurturing digital economy for a digital Nigeria.
Dr Pantami however called on private sector, development partners and state governments to support this initiative; partner with Federal Government in the areas of finance, farm inputs, research and development, capacity building, smart solutions & services and green energy.
The Director General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi in his remarks said leveraging digital technologies and innovations will attract youthful population into agriculture, create new digital business models across the agriculture value chain, enable millions of jobs, increase productivity and contribution of the agriculture to GDP thereby making Nigeria a leading nation in food security.
He said that the programme was first piloted in Jigawa state earlier this year adding that the project was initiated to systematically adopt farmers across the 774 local government areas (LGAs) in the country in order to equip them with necessary digital skills that will make Nigeria one of the leading nations for smart agriculture.
Mallam Abdullahi pointed out that harnessing these potentials through AgricTech to create jobs could therefore be a game-changer for the agriculture sector.
He said the target of the programme is to adopt farmers in all 36 States and 774 LGAs in the country, support and equip them with skills and resources that will make Nigeria one of the leading nations in food sufficiency, security and exportation.
Mallam Abdullahi noted that the empowerment programme will provide Smart Device (Tablet); Seed fund of 100,000 naira for enterprise inputs; Digital Agripreneurship training & skill acquisition; Connectivity which includes one-year Internet access & closed user group (CUG) Calls for adopted farmers; NAVSA Platform (Mobile App); Financial Inclusion through Digital Wallets (Open & close wallets for each adopted farmer, input suppliers and off-takers); e-Extension services; Agric as a Business & Agro Business Models.
in a remark , the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi represented by Dr Olabode Adeoyi, Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, said Agriculture is the next oil for the country, bringing about the creation of jobs, assuring citizens of food security in the country.
Adeoyi further that the expectation from this programme was to address issues of land management, use of digital technologies to drive Agriculture, and changing the mindset of our youths, bringing out the various potentials embedded within them.
He added that Ekiti State being the 1st pilot state from the southern region of the country, due to the importance of Agriculture, the state has been doing alot towards involement of our teeming youths into agriculture, with the aim to create jobs, and cash cow to the state.
While applauding the efforts of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and NITDA for the relentless efforts towards deepening the activities of Information Technology in the country, He urged participants to take the training programme seriously, simply because NAVSA has come to stay in the state with the motive to improve the agricultural sector of the state.