NITDA advocates adoption of digital technology
The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has stressed the need to build a vibrant digital agriculture sector that leverages technologies and innovations given Nigeria’s growing population with a large demographic of young adults.
Speaking at the Review Workshop on National Digital Agriculture Strategy (NDAS), held virtually, Abdullahi, who was represented by the Director, eGovernment Development and Regulation, Dr Vincent Olatunji, observed that NITDA under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), has developed the Nigeria Digital Agriculture Strategy (NDAS) to build a vibrant digital agriculture sector that leverages digital technologies and innovations.
He said: “This has become Imperative as the population of Nigeria continues to grow with a large demographic of young adults, especially people migrating from the rural areas to the urban areas. It will make Nigeria a leading country in food security and exporter of standard agricultural products to the rest of the world.”
Abdullahi noted that leveraging digital technologies and innovations will attract a youthful population into the agricultural sector, create new digital business models across the agriculture value chain, enable millions of jobs, increase productivity, and increase the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari administration has identified agriculture as a key frontier in addressing the economic and unemployment challenges in the country, and has promised to leverage on this to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
Abdullahi reiterated that these promises are also part of the Minister’s directives to the agencies under the supervision of the Ministry.
“NITDA has developed a programme to support the achievement of the Ministry’s mandates and this could be seen as one of the visions of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy called the Nigeria Smart Initiative (NSI).
He said this will facilitate the integration of digital technologies and innovations in every sector of the economy, aimed at unlocking inherent potential and opportunities, thereby enabling and optimizing each sector substantially for economic diversification and contribution to GDP.
Also speaking, Lukman Lamid from NITDA’s eGovernment Department and Regulations, explained that eight complementary initiatives have been designed for NDAS, including; organise Agtech Entrepreneurial training programs for startups, establishing Digital Agriculture Strategy and Advisory Forum, establishing and promoting Agtech Career Initiative.
Others are establishing rural digital literacy initiatives in agriculture, establishing agricultural digital innovation hubs for research and innovations, building consortiums on ICT for climate-smart agriculture platforms, and gender inclusion in digital agriculture.
Lamid said a platform for the NDA community group will be created to include NITDA, ministries of Agriculture, Communications and Digital Economy, and related public institutions, state governments and farmers.