By Providence Ayanfeoluwa

Experts have said that leveraging latest technological solutions would further  boost agricultural output in Nigeria, even as Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the underlying objective of Nigeria’s agricultural policy is productivity enhancement, private investment and institutional realignment for facilitating food security, enterprise promotion and economic empowerment in the country.

Speaking at Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, NBCC Agric and Export Workshop with the theme: “Leveraging Technology and Digital Transformation in Agriculture,” Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Ernest Umakhihe, said that the policy would address the challenges of growing population and declining revenues by promoting agribusiness, aiding economic livelihood, and attaining food s security in the country.

Umakhihe who was represented by his Director, Planning & Policy, Ibrahim Bello, said: “There is a progressive institutional commitment to the provision of facilities for research, water and extension resource system for the promotion of dedicated agro/agro-allied enclaves in cooperative cluster formations. This is engaging new generation of agribusiness practitioners and stimulating investment in small and medium scale processing in the country.

“In this perspective, continuous local and foreign collaborations and partnership amongst State and non-State stakeholders remains the pivot of creating conducive business conditions, increasing private sector’s participation in the economy, expanding commodity value chain activities and raising agricultural output’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product.

There is need to state that the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy, NATIP from 2022-2027 will focus on the pillars of Synergy and MDA Alignment, Access to mechanization, Quality extension service delivery, Strengthening Value Chains for priority commodities, Development of marine resources, Market Development, Establishment of Agricultural Development Fund and Securing Agricultural Lands and Investments.

“The Nigerian Agriculture sector has potentials to drive economic growth and create wealth, due to the country’s viable agro-ecological zones, strong value chains and youthful population, which can be used to explore and undertake a diversified agribusiness undertaking.

“Over time, Agriculture has had a longstanding role in Nigeria’s economy and currently contributes the most to overall GDP. Today, it accounts for 25 percent of Nigeria’s GDP and has remain resilient in the face of recent economic recessions and exogenous shocks.

Also speaking, Business Manager, Cropnuts-AgriServe Ltd, Niels van den Bosch, advocated for positive acceptance of technology, use of existing market systems and networks, incubation of yield/profit increasing technology coming from research, and use of energetic, proactive, result-driven players (youth empowerment).

Chief Executive Officer, Eresoft Ltd and Ere Aeronautics Ltd, Mr. Ebikekeme Ere, said he has effectively utilised drone technology in the agriculture sector.

He added that precision agriculture an approach to farm management that uses information technology, IT to ensure that crops and soil receive exactly what they need for optimum health and productivity was the way to go for the sector.

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