Nigeria’s agricultural sector, once a national powerhouse, is facing a critical crossroads. Having long served as the backbone of the economy, contributing a robust 23.69% to GDP in 2022, its contribution has dipped worryingly to 19.63% in the first quarter of 2023. This decline reflects a multitude of challenges that threaten food security and strain the nation’s economic well-being.

The perfect storm of rising production costs – a consequence of the removal of fuel subsidies – coupled with growing insecurity that restricts farmers’ access to their lands, has created a precarious situation. The harsh realities of climate change, the recent Naira redesign, and a crippling lack of proper storage infrastructure further exacerbate the woes of the sector. The cumulative impact? A staggering 35.41% food inflation rate recorded in January 2024, a figure that sits heavy on the pockets of Nigerians.

But amidst the adversity, a beacon of hope emerges – technology and innovation. Digital marketplaces are rapidly transforming the landscape, offering a potential revolution for Nigeria’s food system. These platforms act as bridges, fostering a seamless connection between farmers and consumers. By streamlining distribution networks and information dissemination, they have the power to slash post-harvest losses, a persistent thorn in the side of the sector. Imagine farmers empowered with real-time market price data, weather forecasts, and best practices – a stark contrast to the current inefficiencies that plague the system.

The Sunday Times, ever the champion of progress, urges the Nigerian government and stakeholders to embrace these technological advancements. By fostering a digital-first approach to agriculture, Nigeria can not only weather the current storm but propel its agricultural sector towards a brighter, more secure future. The time for action is now. Can Nigeria harness the power of technology to rewrite the narrative of its ailing agricultural sector? Only time will tell, but the potential for a food system revolution beckons.