The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has urged agriculture stakeholders to embrace Information Communication Technology (ICT) to harness the sector’s potential.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, NITDA Corporate Affairs, and issued in Abuja last week.
According to the statement, Dr Isa Pantami, the Director-General of the agency, made the call at the opening of a national workshop on e-Agriculture project and inauguration of the project’s steering council in Abuja.
NITDA, which is the agency of government responsible for Information Communication Technology (ICT) development in the country, is spearheading the project.
Pantami said the deployment of ICT would enhance the sector’s growth.
“It is widely believed that the Nigerian agricultural sector has the potential to be an alternative to petroleum as the nation’s foreign exchange earner.
“The potential can be better realised through the use of ICT in driving the sector which led to launching of the National e-Agriculture Portal as a core part of the e-Agriculture programme.
“We hereby call for key stakeholders to buy into the e-Agriculture project for its objective to be realised in the months and years to come.
“e-Agriculture refers to the process of deploying, adopting and accepting ICTs into the different aspects of the agricultural value-chain.
“It also involves the conceptualisation, design, development, evaluation and application of creative ways of deploying ICTs to improve outcomes in the agricultural sector,” the statement quoted Pantami as saying.
Pantami said the initiative was in line with NITDA’s objectives as stated in the National Information Technology Policy and as part of its e-Strategy captured in the Nigerian ICT4D Plan.
According to him, the portal will make the various data sets of the Nigerian agricultural sector readily available to stakeholders and will highlight the strategic and operational components of the sector’s value chain in Nigeria.
Pantami said the datasets were sourced from stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
He said that the key features of the portal would include flexible system for identifying farmers in the country and provide a verifiable data base of farmers.
“It will also incorporate a dashboard for presenting relevant datasets in easy-to-follow formats while serving as a platform for providing training for the stakeholders.
“The portal will provide data analytics and business intelligence tools for stakeholders; provide a means of communicating key farming information such as best practices and weather information to farmers.
“It will also provide a platform for linking various stakeholders in the agro-allied industries and hence a ground for marketing and advertising agricultural products,” he said.
Pantami expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his support and endorsement of the project.
“We also appreciate the support of Mr Adebayo Shittu, Minister, Federal Ministry of Communications, and the partnership we have received from the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development,” he added.