Nigeria to earn $67b yearly from Agric digitisation - THE GUARDIAN
By Joke Falaju, Abuja
The agricultural sector can contribute massively to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if technology is fully deployed into the sector, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Inuwa Abdullahi has stated.
According to him, if Nigeria can digitise smallholder farmers, contribution of agriculture to the GDP can increase to $67b yearly. This is coming on the heels of commitment by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to scale up support for digital solutions for smallholder farmers.
The Country Director of IFAD, Ekoue Dede, who made the commitment at a policy dialogue on deepening Partnership for Scale-up of Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) for Smallholder farmers said the evidence has shown that ICT4D in agriculture can contribute to increasing farmers productivity and income, strengthening resilience to climate change and improving access to markets.
She stated: “Electronic Marketing solutions can increase smallholder farmers income by 37 per cent, and their productivity by 73 per cent, Electronic extension services can increase their productivity up to 75 per cent, digital financial services can increase their income by 18 per cent on average and their productivity receives boost by 25 to 50 per cent.
Speaking further, the NITDA DG noted that Nigeria is 22 times bigger than Netherlands in land size, but Netherlands is the second largest producer of agriculture produce due to the deployment of technology.
“If we use technology in agriculture it can boost productivity by 67 per cent. If we bring it down to how technology can help the Nigeria’s economy, today Nigeria GDP is about $477b if agriculture is contributing 21 per cent, then that is about $100m when technology is applied then the figure can increase by 67 per cent,” he stated.
He said President Tinubu has mandated the Ministry of Communications and Innovation to accelerate the growth of the economy by deploying technology innovations to enhance productivity in critical sectors; saying agriculture is one of the critical sectors of the economy given its contribution to the GDP.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agribusiness and Productivity Enhancement, Dr Kingsley Uzoma, in his remarks stressed that sustained efforts in digital literacy in partnership with key agencies, such as NITDA, as well as the private sector, will be critical in ensuring greater technology adoption by smallholder farmers, which can translate to improved productivity, extensive technical up-skilling, promoting best practices, increased trade competitiveness and market access.
The Director, Planning and Policy Coordination, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Mrs Kothum Ibrahim, stated that ICTs are key to enable poverty reduction, address inequalities and propel the country towards food security, adding that evidence has shown that growth of the agriculture sector is two to three times more effective at reducing poverty than an equivalent amount of growth generated in other sectors.
She mentioned that the ministry alongside key stakeholders has made concerted efforts and developed several agricultural development initiatives to achieve food security, inclusive growth, sustainable economic diversification, and wealth creation.
“We are scaling up our efforts further to deploy strategic approaches and tools to meet the 21st century agriculture techniques, as conceived in the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) to modernise the agricultural sector in line with the changing global food systems and supply chains,” She stated.