BY FESTUS OKOROMADU
As part of efforts to improve agricultural activities through the application of Information and Communications Technology tools for development (ICT4D) in the sector and make access to digital technologies more equitable in Nigeria, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has affirmed the Agency’s commitment to ensuring sustainable solutions for Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria
Abdullahi gave the assurance during a working visit to him by Mrs. Dede Ekoue, Country Director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Abdullahi maintained that the NITDA had continued to undertake several initiatives towards supporting smallholder farmers and enhancing productivity within the farming sector.
“It is part of our mandate to improve National Food Security through Information Technology (I.T) because globally today, IT is regarded as one of, if not the best tool(s) when it comes to enhancing productivity in Agriculture, as it is evident, how ‘Smart Agriculture’ is really increasing food production around the world.
“We strongly believe that if we in Nigeria embrace this technology, it can be a game changer in the sector,” he asserted.
Beyond utilising ICT to improve food productivity for subsistence farmers, the Director-General also noted that it would attract the youthful population to take up “farming as a business”, which he said would somewhat retire the narrative that “farming is an activity solely for people in suburbs or villages.”
“With technology, you can have a farm at the backyard of your house in the city, you can even explore vertical farming, in developed countries, some do theirs on the rooftop or indoors.
“So, the technology is available and with the strong belief in our ingenuities, we can do something similar if not better,” he added.
Earlier in her remarks, Mrs. Dede Ekoue, who led the delegation, had informed the NITDA’s management team that the visit was to strengthen the existing partnership and thank the Agency for its support at different times it was sought after, particularly for the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on ICT4D for Smallholder Farmers that was held May 2023.
Ekoue explained that the dialogue helped the team to undertake several activities, including capacity building, exchange of visits, among others.
“Now, we are going to have another policy dialogue to strengthen collaborations among all the institutions involved in extending all the digital solutions to smallholder farmers.
“It is a very important meeting that demonstrates once again the leadership of NITDA in scaling up ICT4D and we are very pleased with to be having this discussion because it will aid us to straighten out some pillars and strategies for the benefit of smallholder farmers in Nigeria,” Ekoue stressed.
The IFAD Country Director also expressed gratitude for Abdullahi’s assurances in granting IFAD’s collaboration requests, which she mentioned would assist in leveraging the community of actors.
She added that NITDA was not only supporting the course, but also mobilising the support of other key stakeholders, invariably, enabling Smallholder Farmers access digital solutions across board.