By Emma Elebeke
Founder and Chairman of Econet Wireless, Mr. Strive Masiyiwa has said that Nigeria can feed the rest of Africa if the country will muster the courage to replicate the uncommon revolution of telecommunication in the agricultural sector.
Mr. Masiyiwa made the assertion Monday at the Centenary summit of the Rockefeller Foundation tagged ‘‘ Realizing the Potential of African Agriculture’’, held in Abuja.
He said that Nigeria had experienced uncommon revolution in the telecom sector since 2001 and has become a reference point to the rest of the world.
He then canvassed for a repeat of that transformation in the nation’s agricultural sector, using technology’s enabling tools, which he said are capable of making Nigeria a major exporter of food to other countries of the world.
‘‘Since 2001, when Nigeria issued the first telecom license, there has been a revolution here in the telecom sector. Why can’t Nigeria do the same in the agriculture sector to transform it? F or me, agriculture is now a business. So, Nigeria can do what it did to telecoms in the agric sector, to redirect the focus for economic growth.
‘‘Nigeria, big as it is, has to be the pilot of Africa and be the solution to Africa’s food needs. We believe that it is going to be done by the small scale farmers and youths with the enabling technology. It requires a paradigm shift from old people to young people, who will focus on agro business, processing and manufacturing,’’ he stated.
Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina said Nigeria was selected to host the celebration because of the long history she has with the foundation, since the 1960s.
With the introduction of Electronic Wallet for fertilizer distribution in Nigeria, the minister said that the Federal Government had ended corruption in fertilizer distribution which lasted for over 40 years and reached over 1.5 million farmers in one year.
He said that plans were on to reach 10 million more farmers in 2013. The aim, according to him, is too make Nigeria self sufficient in food production by 2015.
‘’We shall use mobile phone to connect our centres of research and learning to farmers. We will acquire soil kits and distribute them to farmers. Under our strategy, we shall create a new career of extension system as a replacement to the old order.