Digital Agriculture, Smart way to Combat hunger – Pantami
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has said that the integration of digital technology in agricultural value chain has been identified as a major stimulus that would help the county combat the challenges of hunger that may arise as a result of increased in the world’s population which is projected to have risen to 10 billion people by 2050.
Pantami said this while delivering his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the training programme organised to absorbed another 140 youthful farmers into the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture, (NAVSA.) in Gombe, Gombe state.
NAVSA is an ecosystem driven digital platform envisioned for the transformation of the agricultural sector in Nigeria. It is designed to help farmers and other agricultural ecosystem players navigate their journey across the agriculture value chain.
He explained that with the imminent increase in the population with about 2.5 billion that would be challenges of hunger adding that “any nation that fails to strategize on how to take care of itself agriculturally, then will definitely face a very huge challenge because no country export until it is satisfied.
“In less than 30 years, the world population will increase by 2.5 billion which is unprecedented and this increase will come with so many challenges and the number one challenge is going to be hunger especially in the developing nation that are still lagging behind when it comes to policies and strategies.
The minister cited an example of how Netherlands becomes second exporter of agricultural produce in the world with its relatively small population and land mass, that the adoption of digitization in farming would surely bring about transformation into the sector.
“The model of agriculture being practiced in Netherlands reduces the consumption of water by 90 percent, and it increases the quality of production by minimum of 500 percent. It also reduces the use of insecticide by minimum of 99 percent why because the way they deployed modern technology in agriculture.
“climate change and population explosion remain two most dangerous challenges of confronting agriculture and the earlier we use technology to drive the sector the better for us.” He added.
Pantami further explained that, “It is because of this and part of the federal government policy under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy came up with National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy and NITDA has been directed to champion this program on Smart Agriculture in Nigeria.
The director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, in his remark, said that with the comparative advantage Nigeria has in agriculture, the youth can make money if they venture into it more than any other sector of the economy.
“Looking at what is happening globally and how digital technology is changing the way we live, the way we work and the way we do business, we see it as a source of inspiration to look at how we can adapt and adopt these technologies in agriculture because most of us in Nigeria take agriculture as our source of income and it contribute more than any other sector to our Gross Domestic Product, GDP,” he said.
He said the initiative would provide a platform for you to share knowledge among farmers and other stakeholders; in post-harvest management, the emerging technology that will help in preserving the produce adding that a market platform would be created because the world is moving into a platform business and national platform will help to get access to all stakeholders in agriculture value chain in the country, provide link to the off takers that would buy the produce.
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