The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa, emphasized the transformative potential of emerging technologies in revolutionizing the agriculture sector. He made this statement during the 2023 International Hybrid Symposium on Smart Agriculture in Abuja. The symposium, with the theme “The Future of Smart Agriculture and the Role of Emerging Technologies in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” was organized by the Federal University Dutsin-ma (FUDMA) in collaboration with the Islamic World Educational, Science and Cultural Organization of Morocco.
Inuwa highlighted the significant progress made in the field of smart farming. He mentioned the utilization of data and computing technologies to enhance the efficiency and predictability of farming operations as key advancements in smart farming. He acknowledged that digital technologies play a crucial role in agricultural transformation, aiding in increased food production to meet global challenges and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger.
Inuwa stressed the need to increase production and profitability for farmers, attract youth talent to agribusiness, and diversify the economy through digitized agricultural practices. He believed that with the proper utilization of technologies, the agriculture sector could lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade and generate well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths.
The Director-General highlighted the potential benefits of digital technologies, including reducing information access inequalities, improving natural resource management, lowering costs of connecting sellers with buyers, facilitating knowledge sharing, and enhancing market access. He emphasized the importance of digital technologies in enabling precise decision-making, resource management, and improved engagement between consumers and producers.
Inuwa also mentioned the Nigeria Digital Agriculture Strategy (NDAS), a collaborative effort between NITDA, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and key stakeholders. The vision of NDAS is to leverage digital technologies and innovations to make Nigeria one of the top three food-secure countries in Africa and among the top 20 largest exporters of standard agricultural produce by 2030.
To further digitize the agriculture sector, Inuwa introduced the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA). NAVSA is a technology and innovation-driven agricultural initiative aimed at addressing challenges such as low productivity and inappropriate financing strategies. It includes the introduction of closed and open wallet systems on mobile payment platforms. The initiative aligns with the Federal Government’s objectives of job creation, economic diversification, and growth.
Inuwa highlighted the agency’s partnerships with universities to implement NAVSA, nurturing a new generation of smart farmers who are prepared for the future of agriculture. Prof. Armaya’u Hamisu-Bichi, the Vice Chancellor of the University, echoed the significance of the symposium’s theme in their pursuit of innovation, efficiency, and sustainability in the agricultural sector. He emphasized the potential of smart agriculture, integrating technologies like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and data analytics to revolutionize farming practices and enhance productivity, resource management, and efficiency.
In conclusion, Mr. Inuwa reiterated the importance of leveraging emerging technologies to drive the transformation of the agriculture sector, emphasizing the potential for increased productivity, economic growth, and environmental sustainability.