In a bid to connect Nigerians who are interested in investing in agro-business, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has launched a platform tagged Smart Agro Business.
According to NITDA, the platform will bring together farmers, government agencies, Agric experts, banks and micro-lenders, extension services, hardware solution providers, software developers, customers, marketplace and other stakeholders in the Agric value chain.
Unveiling the platform, the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said the Smart Agro Platform was conceived in order to support the government’s focus towards turning the country into the digital-driving economy and ensure the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is end hunger and achieve good security by 2030.
He noted that Smart Agro is the beginning of a transformation in the agriculture sector to enable farmers to contribute effectively to the digital economy of Nigeria and create jobs for the teeming youths.
“What we did is to rethink agriculture differently, by creating a digital platform that will connect the Agric ecosystem and enable the possibility of new business models by the private sector which will, in turn, generate new products and services and create value across the Agric value chain,” he said.
He added that “NITDA Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) is a project conceived to create about 6 million jobs in the next 5 to 10 years through our technology platform.
Also commenting, NITDA’s Desk Officer in the department of e-Government Development and Regulation, Mr. Lukman Lamid said the idea is to support 25 graduates in each of the 774 LGAs on modern Agric methods, give them the resources and the right technology to enable them to manage their farms from planting to harvesting and marketing.
“This pilot phase is a proof of concept which had witnessed selection, training and support of 15 graduates in Gombe state on modern farming methods in collaboration with National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS).
“We have developed a digital platform in which its mobile app components will continue to serve NITDA supported farmers, any other farmer and all the ecosystem members when it is fully ready.”
Lamid added that the ability to get information to monitor farms in real-time and connect with resources to manage farm effectively will improve crop yield, quality of farm produce per block of land and profit for these farmers.
“In the future, we would deploy and integrate smart technologies such as IoT on the platform to improve the accuracy and the processes of getting information in real-time, integrate with GIS technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Big data analytics among other emerging technologies to add more value to the platform.
Lamid stated that the innovation is a product of the research paper “Towards Diversification of Nigeria Economy through Smart Agriculture” published by the Minister in June 2017 in the International Journal of Computer Science and Information Technology Research.