The workshop, which was organised for mostly vegetable farmers has the theme; ‘Scaling-up lifelong learning for farmers on digital agricultural solution for vegetable farmers in Southwest Nigeria towards achieving the SDGs’. The ARMTI DG, who was represented by the Assistant Director of ARMTI, Dr. Peter Popoola, said that vegetable producers were brought together under the cooperative society over the years, but now they want to promote digital cooperative formation. According to him, working alone has exposed farmers to a lot of dangers and this risk has driven some youths out of agriculture. The Director-General emphasised that insecurity, attacks by herdsmen, unknown gunmen, kidnappers, climate change, effect of pests and diseases have adverse effects on farming.
“Vegetable farmers can come together under the digital platform and use computer and technology to network their produce, discuss the challenges facing them while experts would proffer solutions thereafter. It has got to a stage where we bring innovations to the business of agriculture for that’s the only way we can integrate our youths, for they would not farm with hoe and cutlass”, as he urged vegetable farmers to rise up to the task ahead of them by purchasing smartphones, which will enable them to move forward in this digital era. He added that with digital knowledge, there would be connectivity, collaboration, visibility, access to information, efficiency, continuous learning, for if they refuse to seek more knowledge, they cannot improve on what they know.
The Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Simeon Bamire, said that the institution and other university research institutes can utilise their innovation, technology and science to power agriculture for effective benefits. Prof. Bamire, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Development), Prof. Akanni Akinyemi, stated that OAU has many species of tomatoes among other vegetables, stressing that the institution still has the capacity to power agriculture in such a way that it will produce sufficient food through science, innovation and technology, if supported by the government while urging the Federal Government to bring stakeholders, universities, research institutes and economists together to form a good synergy and work towards maximum food productivity.