November 17, 2023

Food Security: Use of Artificial Intelligence paramount – Horticulturists

Food Security: Use of Artificial Intelligence paramount – Horticulturists

By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja

AS the Tinubu-led administration rolls out short, medium, and long-term agricultural strategies to boost sector, horticulturists under the auspices of the Horticultural Society of Nigeria, HORTSON, yesterday, called for the use of Artificial Intelligence, AI, along the various horticultural value chains.

The call was contained in a communique signed by the President-in-Council, HORTSON, Prof Rufus Ipinmoroti, and Dr Ajayi E.O, after HORTSON’s 41st Annual Conference, which took place at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso from 13–16th November, 2023 with the ‘Application of Science, Technology and Artificial Intelligence in the Production and Practices of Horticulture’.

The Conference was attended by 268 participants from various institutions including Universities, Colleges of Agriculture, Research Institutes, Polytechnics, Students, farmer groups and other stakeholders.

Over 287 research papers on various sub-themes in five parallel technical sessions were presented and discussed during the technical sessions, and 11 personalities, which four Vice Chancellors were awarded the Society’s highest honour- ‘Fellow of Horticultural Society of Nigeria’, FHSN, while the Nigerian Journal of Horticultural Science (NJHS) volume 27 Issues 1 & 2 of the 2023 were launched as well.

The Chief Host was the Ag. Vice Chancellor of LAUTECH, Professor R. O. R. Kalilu, who delivered the welcome address, while the keynote address was delivered by the Vice Chancellor, Osun State University, Prof. Clement Adebooye.

The President-in-Council of HORTSON, Prof Rufus Rotimi Ipinmoroti in his address enjoined the participants to avail themselves of every opportunity that the conference would present to advance the course of Horticulture in Nigeria.

Other personalities that graced the occasion were the Vice Chancellor, Ajayi Crowther University Oyo, Oyo State, Prof Adebayo Timothy; the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Oye Ekiti, Prof Fasina, A. Sunday; Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Ayede, Oyo State, Engr Dr Taofeek Adekunle; Director/CEO of National Horticultural Research Institute, Dr. M.L Attanda, Director/CEO of Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Dr Patrick Adebola; and the Shoun of Ogbomoso, HIM Oba Ghandi Olaoye III Who was represented by Alaroje of Aroje.

The communique states, “Observations: The Conference noted the potentials of modern innovative technologies in agriculture in the area of automation, smart and precision agricultural practices, vertical farming etc to improve crop production.

“The need to raise agricultural productivity to address problems of poverty and increase food and nutritional security.

“Need for adoption of smart agricultural practices to attract youth into agriculture.

“Recommendations: That Governments should review and implement agricultural policies that will adequately address research and development of horticultural crops in order to enhance food and nutritional security in Nigeria.

“That Horticultural practitioners should be trained on the use of modern innovative technologies to improve their production.

“Government should provide an enabling environment for farmers to explore Artificial Intelligence along the various value chains of horticultural crops.”