Concerned about the increasing rate of food insecurity and rising prices, Mr Adewale Adegoke, Chief Executive Officer of Agroxchange Technology, has stressed the importance of training farmers on digital smart farming solutions to increase food production in the country.
This, he said, is appropriate because Nigeria, like many other African and global countries, is dealing with acute food insecurity, as well as rising insecurity, climate change, and the Covid 19 pandemic.
This comes as stakeholders in digital smart farming agriculture have revealed that they have developed a number of digital solution ways to improve food production and lessen the impact of insecurity on the environment.
The move to develop a digital smart farming agriculture concept according to the agric stakeholders was aimed at helping Nigeria save huge fortunes that it loses to insecurity.
Adegoke in an interview with THISDAY explained that stakeholders in digital smart farming are very concerned with the adverse impacts of the worsening insecurity on the economy, mostly in the agriculture sector, following the alarming effects of the food crisis it is brewing.
He added that the digital scheme is the solution to Smallholder farmers’ increase in returns on investment (RoI) and reduction in the overhead cost of farming.
According to him, with insecurity challenges in the country, a key digital smart farming approach was factored in to tackle constraints that could affect the optimum delivery and monitoring of agric farms.
Adegoke explained that the data collected from the farms under the smart farming scheme are evidence baseline data that can influence the government’s agricultural policies, regarding technology innovations as a panacea to insecurity in the agric sector to ameliorate the food crisis.
“This is why we work with varsity, academia to be able to come up with this approaches in supporting government regarding embedding technology in the agricultural policies.
One of the key approaches to the constraints to the delivery of optimized food security in Nigeria is that we adopted multiple digital solutions integrated into a bundle of innovated services through the smart farming acquisition centre. Now, through this approach, we offered tailored democratized services choosing a top-down approach to achieve the expected impact of resilient and improved farmers livelihoods,” he said.
“With that, we look at it from the point of propagatory advisory to the farmers. We want to be able to solve these issues in our agric sector, such as even taking into account, the current problem we have in the country which is insecurity.
This has limited the capacity of the farmers going to the farms. They are afraid of being attacked,” Adegoke added.
“Now we are looking at how do we solve this problem and how do we ensure we can still optimize production while taking into account solving the problem of insecurity in Nigeria. Now, one of the things we thought about to be able to propagate this, is that we decided to acquire and adopt the approach of localized smart farming advisory centres and extension services within farming communities at smart farming villages.
This ensures that the farmers within those communities are provided services that include security cover and this security will come from the collaboration with a local vigilante group that means, we can improve the confidence of the farmers and other existing farmers or new farmers,” he stated.
While speaking on the objective of engagements in digital smart farming in agriculture, he said the move was meant to measure the impacts of digital technologies on the economies of production and establish sorts of attributions.
He added that digital agriculture can measurably increase incomes for smallholder farmers and reduces the cost of inputs drastically.
He however stated that farmers are looking for ways to reduce cost and boost their profit margins to improve their standards of living, saying that digital smart farming would revolutionise Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
“With this output in digital smart farming in agriculture, we have been able to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including climate action, not just job creation or women empowerment alone. Climate action is a trending topic right now not for the right reason but the wrong reason. Food security is critical and if food security is poor, the cost of food in the market is going to increase. Remember with the case of Nigeria, which is a developing economy, you can imagine the sorts of problems that will exist if food prices increase and considering inflation and others which we are already experiencing right now,” he said.