By Yusuf A. Yusuf
The National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, has launched one-week training for 140 farmers in Gombe state on digital farming, under the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture, NAVSA, empowerment programme.
Inaugurating the training in Gombe, on Thursday, the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali-Pantami said the 140 participants who were drawn from across the state, would each be empowered with a Smart device, fertilizer, pesticides, among other items, and N100,000, at the end of the training.
The minister added that developed countries, and even some African countries like Ghana and Kenya, had been practicing digital Agriculture successfully, and that digitalization had proven its impact on the economy and society, by reducing unemployment and improving the quality of life.
“The ICT sector is a key enabler of every sector, it is making other sectors more productive because there were so many model ICT platforms being used to promote Agriculture”, he said.
He said a similar training was held in Ekiti and Jigawa states, and the Federal Government had provided all the facilities required for the training and they will continue the training in other places to ensure a significant number of people benefitted.
According to him, the requirements to succeed in the fourth industrial Revolution necessitated digitalization being at the core of any nation’s development and strategy.
In his address of welcome, Dr Kashifu Abdullahi, Director General of NITDA, said leveraging on digital technology and innovations will attract the youth into Agriculture and create digital business models across the value chains.
Also, the programme would facilitate millions of jobs, increase productivity, as well as the contribution of Agriculture to GDP, which, in turn would make Nigeria a leading nation in food security and an exporter of standard Agricultural produce to the world.
He said the programme was initiated to systematically adopt farmers across the country, by equipping them with digital skills that would make Nigeria leading nation in Smart Agriculture.
“‘The goal is to provide Nigerian farmers with the means to showcase their farm produce in the digital world market”, he said.
In his goodwill message, Prof. Aliyu El-Nafaty, Vice-Chancellor, Gombe State University, GSU, commended NITDA for the wonderful initiative, while calling on the agency to extend the gesture to members of the communities around the University.