IFAD, others partner to scale-up digital solutions for farmers
Electronic market solutions can increase smallholder farmers’ income by 37% and their productivity by 73%.
Mrs Dede Ekoue, IFAD Country Director stated this at the National Policy Dialogue on “Deepening Partnership for Scaling-Up of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) for Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria” on Thursday in Abuja.
The dialogue was organised by IFAD in collaboration with the Federal Government. Ekoue said that evidence has shown that ICT4D in agriculture could contribute to increasing farmers’ productivity and incomes.
It will also strengthen resilience to climate change and improve access and participation in markets particularly for the most marginalised group such as women and youth.
“Electronic market solutions can increase smallholder farmers’ income by 37% and their productivity by 73%.
“Extension services can increase their income by 18% on average and their productivity typically receives a boost between 25 and 50%.
“We are here because we recognised that we have more to do to fully harness digital solutions to improve agriculture and partnerships are key for accelerating progress in smallholder centric digital transformation of agrifood systems.
“Together we can do more, better and faster for increased access of smallholder farmers to the digital solutions that can enhance their production, income and resilience, ” she said.
Dr Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General NITDA, said Nigeria could earn 67 billion dollars annually from digitisation of agriculture as IFAD scale up support for digital agriculture for smallholder farmers. Abdullahi said Nigeria is 22 times bigger than the Netherlands in land size. He however said that the Netherlands is the second largest producer of agricultural produce due to the deployment of technology.
“If we use technology in agriculture it can boost productivity by 67% if we bring it down to how technology can help the Nigeria economy.
“Nigeria GDP today is about 477 billion dollars if agriculture is contributing 21% then that is about 100 million dollars when technology is applied then the figure can increase by 67%,” he stated.
He said President Tinubu has mandated the Ministry of Communications and innovation to accelerate the growth of the economy by deploying technology innovation to enhance productivity in critical sectors.
Abdullahi identified agriculture as one of the critical sectors of the economy given its contributions to the GDP.
Mrs Kothum Ibrahim, Director planning and Policy Coordination, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, said ICT is key to enable poverty reduction, address inequalities and propel the country towards food security.
Ibrahim said that evidence shows that the growth of the agriculture sector is two to three times more effective at reducing poverty, than an equivalent amount of growth generated in other sectors.
“The ministry has made concerted efforts and developed several agricultural development initiatives, to achieve food security, inclusive growth, sustainable economic diversification, and wealth creation.
“We are scaling up our efforts further to deploy strategic approaches and tools to meet the 21st century agriculture techniques as conceived in the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP).
“This technique is to modernise the agricultural sector in line with the changing global food systems and supply chains”, she said.
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