By Samuel Ohwovoriole
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has disclosed that climate change and population explosion are the two major challenges confronting the agricultural sector in the country today. But he said that, with digital technology, Nigeria can combat hunger.
Dr. Pantami stated this on Wednesday in Gombe, Gombe State capital while delivering his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the training programme organised to absorb 140 young farmers into the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture, (NAVSA.).
“Climate change and population explosion remain two most dangerous challenges confronting agriculture and the earlier we use technology to drive the sector the better for us.
“You will appreciate that digital technology is a necessity if you look at the COVID 19 pandemic as it completely disrupted the world,” he added.
In his explanation he said, with the world population increasing with about 2.5 billion there would be challenges of hunger adding that “any nation that fails to strategize on how to take care of itself agriculturally, will definitely face a very huge challenge because no country exports 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,” he said.
Dr. Pantami, who described the consistency in coming up with policies which are geared towards promoting digitization in the country as unprecedented in the history of Nigeria explained that the policies are yielding tremendous result.
“This program is one of the policies given to the parastatals to implement. Other parastatals will join in the training. Nigeria Communication Commission may probably join in 2021. They will start organising similar training because we have so many models to deploy in agriculture.
“So we do hope our teeming youths will grasp the opportunities to become entrepreneurs at the end of the training and support the economy by creating more jobs for our citizens.’
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General, National Information technology Development Agency, Dr. Kashifu Abdullahi maintained that the program is part of the Agency implementation to national digital economy policy for digital Nigeria.
He further stated that the innovative initiative is meant to transform the business of agriculture in Nigeria by making it fancy and attractive investment for the youth and increase food production as well as reduce wastage in the sector.
“In digital economy, innovation plays a huge role in creating values and prosperity.” He described it as the process of taking ideas from inception to impact and coming up with new business models that would make businesses fanciful,” he said.
Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Dr. Kashifu Abdullahi in his remarks, 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 contributes more than any other sector to our Gross Domestic Product, GDP,” he noted.
He added that with the adoption of digital technology in agriculture and the NAVSA initiative would solve the problems of wastage associated with the sector which are; inadequate knowledge techniques to harvest foods, poor post-harvest management and lack of suitable infrastructure and market platform to sell agricultural produce.
“This initiative would provide a platform for you to share knowledge among yourselves and other stakeholders; in post-harvest management, the emerging technology will help you in preserving the produce and we would create a market platform for you because the world is moving into a platform business. This national platform will help you to get access to all stakeholders in agriculture value chain in the country and it can provide you link to the off takers that would buy your produce,” he added.
RovingNaija reports that 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.
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