By Emmanuel Elebeke
Technology experts have expressed the view that for the Federal Government to succeed in diversifying the economy through agriculture, it must deploy technology into the system. Available evidence abounds from technologically advanced economies to justify this claim.
It was in this respect that the Federal Government at the weekend, launched a new e-wallet initiative for Nigerian farmers, with 14 million farmers captured in the data base of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD.
Speaking at the occasion, Executive Director of the Farmers Online Market (FOM) Mr. Stephen Maduko, said with the 14 million already captured in the system, a projection of another 30 million farmers are being targeted for registration.
Maduko, who expressed appreciation to federal government for its support, decried what he called the absence of market and storage facilities for the locally produced farm produce, which he said had remained the biggest problem for Nigerian farmers, leading to loss of products.
According to him, the farmers online market would provide jobs and business opportunities for the women and youths to be self employed, self reliant and would create jobs and wealth for others.
“With a target of creating over 2 million jobs directly and over 20 million jobs indirectly, we urge the federal government through its ministries, departments and agencies in the 36 states and 774 Local Government Council and all relevant stake holders in agricultural sector to support us and offer their services through the FOM, “he said.
He regretted that there was no accurate data available on what farmers were growing in their fields which changes often with season. “We get to know about availability only after farmers harvest and get it to an auction place or wholesale market,” Maduko said.
Maduko also explained that when a farmer registers in farmersonlinemarket.com.ng, they would capture all their produce details, harvest periods and expected yields and expected price, then buyers would get all details and contact farmers directly through the mobile phone.