The Federal Government, through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has empowered various farmers by distributing smart agriculture materials to beneficiaries of the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA).
These materials were distributed during a 5-day Empowerment Programme, which took place at the Al-Qalam University, Katsina, Katsina State.
NAVSA is designed to accelerate massive job creation, economic diversification and growth, facilitate the integration of digital technologies and innovations in the agriculture processes and practices to significantly increase productivity, improve food security, ensure an eco-friendly agricultural practice, attract potential talents and youths into agriculture profession to maximise outcomes.
The Federal Government had improved green energy-powered smart brooding to enhance the survival rate of broilers, a smart irrigation system to support a year-long production, and a soil nutrient monitoring system to support information-driven farming on a demo land.
This is in addition to other benefits such as smart device, N100,000 seed fund, AgricTech training/capacity building, connectivity (Internet and CUG), NAVSA platform, financial inclusion through digital wallets, e-Extension and insurance services, continuous reinvestment model opportunities and Unmanned Area Vehicle (UAV)/drone for smart farm.
The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, who was represented by Acting Director, Digital Economy Development of the Agency, Engr. Salisu Kaka, stated that, “Agriculture remains one of the critical sectors of Nigeria’s economy. This is evident in the policies of the current administration, led by President Muhammadu Buhari. Every economic, developmental and social policy gives agriculture priority”.
Kaka stated further that the NAVSA Empowerment would enhance agriculture value chain, create new value and opportunities through new business models and services, and ultimately enable the creation of millions of jobs while taking the people out of poverty and enabling economic growth and diversification.
According to him, “With our potential in arable land size and youthful population, modernising the agricultural sector can change the narrative and multiply the contribution of the sector to the national Gross Domestic Product in many folds. Unfortunately, the sector is the least digitised in the country. It has been proved that any digitised business has the potential to grow exponentially. We hold a social contract to ensure IT drives every aspect of life and contributes to every community and national development as a whole.
“In line with our mandates, we carry out digital technology-driven interventions in any industry and sector of the economy across the country. This is evident in all digitised economic sectors of the world such as the bank, financial services, media and entertainment, among others. Undoubtedly, digitisation of the economic sectors has proved to be the game changer for economic transformation across the globe”, he stated.
Kaka also said it is believed that if the agriculture sector was properly managed and enhanced, it would be a genuine means of eradicating poverty, improving people’s standard of living, diversifying the economy and creating prosperity for Nigerians. We all have it as a duty to ensure that agriculture is practised as a business and not a way of life, as usual”, he stressed further.