No fewer than 75 young farmers have benefited from the training and empowerment programme of the Federal Government, under the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA).
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the programme, held in Ibadan on Friday, was organised by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in collaboration with Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan (UI).
In his address at the programme, Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, said that NAVSA was one of the policy implementations of NITDA, which was drawn from the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Document.
Inuwa, represented by Head, Digital Technology and Adoption Unit of NITDA, Dr Ayodele Bakare, said that the workshop was aimed at achieving an inclusive developmental and sustainable digital economy.
“We are implementing the policy to enhance and improve agriculture in Nigeria. The programme will help farmers to increase their efficiency, effectiveness and profitability when practising agriculture business.
“It is also a policy to ensure that agriculture becomes more attractive. We are infusing digital and information technology into agriculture,” he said.
He said that the training had improved digital literacy and skills on various ways of using technology to improve and automate every point in the value chain of agricultural business.
“Also, to show the practicality, we deployed a demo smart farm in Ile-Ogbo and in addition, we have deployed a smart brooding house in UI campus,” he said.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of UI, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, represented by Prof. Malachi Akoroda, commended the organisers of the workshop and urged the participants to use the knowledge gained to train others as well.
“These 75 people are like candles that will light other candles. More candles will be lighted; not all of them will succeed but not all of them will fail.
“Some will surely germinate, grow and produce more and so, sustainability is assured, as all of them will want to make money from smart agriculture,” he said.
Also, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, UI, Prof. Stella Odebode, said with smart agriculture came the technology to produce crops all-year round, adding that it would be beneficial to both livestock and crop farmers.
According to her, this will help in solving the problem of food insecurity when technology is introduced to agriculture.
Some of the beneficiaries, Dara Adeduntan, Precious Oladele and Oluwakayode Oke appreciated the organisers of NAVSA, stating that it had widened their horizon to think agriculture beyond hoes and cutlasses.
“We have always known agriculture as a way of life but now, we have been exposed to agriculture as a business,” Oke said.
NAN reports that each of the 75 participants was presented with a Smart Farmer Seed Fund of N100,000, an Ipad and an agricultural starter-pack. (NAN)