Digital supply-chain will enhance small scale farming in Nigeria- NITDA

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said that advanced technologies have the capacity to revolutionise agricultural practices and improve food security in the country.

Malam Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of NITDA, said this at the launch of the survey on the digitisation of supply-chain in small scale Nigerian Farms project on Friday in Abuja.

The launch of the survey was organised by AGROVESTO, an Agritech startup and a beneficiary of the iHatch Incubation Programme by NITDA in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

It is aimed at enabling smallholder farmers in Nigeria to thrive, increase their income, and expand their market opportunities, thereby creating wealth and prosperity for the country.

Inuwa was represented by Mr Salisu Kaka, Director of Digital Economy Department.

He said that Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain were some of the technologies capable of transforming farming systems.

“Agriculture employs a significant number of Nigerians and accounted for 25.18 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2023.

“This was through crop production, livestock, forestry, and fishing, with crop production taking the largest share.

“This shows that digitising the supply-chain for small scale farms offers a transformative solution to the challenges of food security in the country,” he said.

He explained that small scale farmers were the backbone of crop production in Nigeria, but they faced numerous challenges.

These included limited access to technology, high production costs, limited finance, among other challenges.

According to him, these issues hinder their productivity and economic potential.

Inuwa said that supply-chain optimisation would ensure that small scale farmers met the increasing consumer demands, enhanced food quality and safety, as well as promote sustainable practices.

“This can be achieved through the adoption of technologies such as AI, which can handle time-demanding tasks using machine learning and predictive modeling.

“The IoT can monitor crops and generate real-time data to inform automation and best practices, while block chain can provide end-to-end traceability in supply-chains with shareable data.

“The IoT can also build consumer trust and even make it easier to isolate and manage disease outbreaks in crops,” Inuwa said.

He said NITDA has been actively supporting the growth of Nigeria’s agricultural sector with initiatives like the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA), which engaged 965 farmers in integrating technology into agriculture.

Inuwa said that the agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan, 2024–2027, highlighted the focus on promoting technology in agriculture to boost food security.

It also increased the sector’s GDP contribution, drives economic diversification and create jobs.

Mr Bayo Adewoye, Co-Founder of AGROVESTO, said that 63.5 per cent of small scale farmers earned between N20, 000 and N100, 000 monthly during the sales season.

He said that 63 per cent take their products to the open market to sell.

Adewoye added that the project had been designed to address the challenges, and was expected to improve farmers’ income by connecting farmers to wider markets.

“Efficient supply-chains by digitising agricultural value chains can reduce post-harvest losses and improve the flow of goods, benefiting farmers and markets.”

He said the initiative would enhance digital literacy, empower farmers with digital skills to enable them to leverage technology to access information and expand their market reach.

“We will rollout digitisation of access to the market which entails the design and integration of a tailored digital platform for market access,“he said.

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