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Digitising agricultural processes for Smallholder Farmers to boost Nigeria’s GDP by $67bn –NITDA Chief

Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA, Giving His Opening Remarks at the Policy Dialogue Session in Abuja, FCT Photo: NITDA

*Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, opines the digitisation of all agricultural processes for Smallholder Farmers through the Nigerian Government’s initiatives will boost productivity and increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product by $67billion

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has hinted that the Smallholder Farmers (SHFs) produce estimated 90 percent of the West African country’s food and contributing 21 percent to  Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $477 billion.

According to the Information Technology (IT) regulatory agency, rejuvenating the agricultural sector by digitising all its processes for Smallholder Farmers through government initiatives will not only boost productivity, but increase Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $67billion.

ConsumerConnect reports Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA, stated this at the Policy Dialogue session in collaboration with the Presidency, Office of the Vice-President (OVP), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at the Barcelona Hotel, in Abuja, FCT.

Policy objectives of conference

The Information Technology (IT) sector regulatory agency November 30, 2023, noted that the Policy Dialogue Session with the theme: “Deepening Partnership for Scale-up of Information & Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) for Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria”, is aimed at fostering partnership among the relevant players in the ecosystem to scale solutions for farmers in enhancing productivity.

Expatiating on his opening remarks at the conference, Inuwa also said that the policy dialogue is a step in the right direction towards actualising the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, in diversifying the economy through the digital transformation of critical sectors in the country.

On digital transformation and economic diversification in Nigeria

The Director-General of NITDA further stated: “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to uplifting Nigeria through digital transformation, innovation and economic growth.

“To achieve this, the President has mandated our Ministry, the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy to accelerate the Nigerian economic diversification by enhancing productivity in critical sectors through technological innovation.”

He equally, maintained that the agricultural sector of the economy contributes about 70 percent to businesses in Africa, and contributes about 21 percent to the country’s GDP in particular.

That priority in terms of technology penetration should be given to it, considering its importance, said Inuwa in his remarks.

Buttressing the importance of technology in agricultural productivity, Inuwa affirmed that “Nigeria in terms of land size is almost 22 times larger than The Netherlands. But in terms of production, The Netherlands is the second largest agricultural producer in the world because of its use of technology.”

NITDA committed to activating Presidential mandate: Inuwa

Speaking on NITDA’s commitment to implementing the Presidential mandate, Inuwa stated that the agency worked with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in crafting the National Digital Agricultural Strategy, which also birthed the development of the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture.

He also said: “We have implemented that initiative in six states in collaboration with different institutions, including academia, FinTech and Telco companies.

“We have established a platform that provides a marketplace for the participants as well as to connect them with financial institutions.”

According to him, a wallet is provided on the platform to ensure that funds are controlled and properly utilised for the purpose and beneficiaries it is meant for.

Inuwa stated: “I believe that with this kind of partnership, we can scale up that platform and make agri-business a fancy business for our youths to be part of it.”

IFAD committed to Smallholder Farmers’ empowerment in Nigeria, globally: Director

Earlier in her welcome address, Mrs. Dede Ekoue, Country Director of the IFAD Country Office, Abuja,  thanked the NITDA Chief for his participation in the steadfast commitment to putting the regulatory agency’s high-quality technical expertise to the service of enhanced digital solutions for farmers in Nigeria.

Ekoue said that IFAD is committed to promoting the empowerment of Smallholder Farmers globally, and in Nigeria through several solutions while scaling up its support in digital solutions.

The IFAD Country Director stated: “We invite all stakeholders from the public sector, the private sector, civil society, farmer organisations, and development partners, to discuss the best approaches to strengthen our partnership and our digital solution.

“We are confident that together we can do more, we can do better, and we can do faster to increase access of smallholder farmers to digital solutions.”

Also in his comment at the event, Dr. Kingsley Uzoma, Special Senior Assistant (SSA) to the President on Agribusiness and Productivity Enhancement, commended the Director-General of NITDA for his active participation with the Office of the President in different policy developments.

Uzoma asserted that sustained efforts at digital literacy in partnership with key agencies like NITDA as well as the private sector would be critical in ensuring greater technology absorption by smallholder farmers which can translate to improved productivity, extensive technical upscaling, promoting best practices and increased trade.

The Presidential aide also expressed the need for a centrally coordinated agricultural data hub that would aggregate and provide insights on open and targeted data that is relevant for planning, policy direction and essential decision-making.

He further said: “Increased collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and NITDA is necessary to implement a national digital dialogue strategy to further leverage technology for advancements from the agricultural sector.”

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