NITDA Re-Commits To ICT4D Initiatives For Smallholder Farmers

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has reiterated it dedication to harnessing information and communications technology (ICT) for the development of the nation’s agricultural sector, with a particular focus on ensuring sustainable solutions for smallholder farmers.

This commitment was reiterated by the director-general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi during a recent visit by the country director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Mrs. Dede Ekoue.

In his address, Abdullahi emphasised NITDA’s mandate to enhance national food security through information technology, recognising the global impact of IT in boosting agricultural productivity. He highlighted the transformative potential of smart agriculture in increasing food production worldwide. The DG expressed confidence that embracing technology in Nigeria could revolutionise the agricultural sector.

Abdullahi went beyond the immediate goal of improving food productivity, asserting that incorporating technology would attract the younger population to farming as a business. He challenged the stereotype that farming is solely for rural areas, stating, “With technology, you can have a farm at the backyard of your house in the city, you can even explore vertical farming”.

The DG emphasised the availability of technology and urged leveraging Nigeria’s ingenuity to implement innovative approaches, potentially surpassing those in developed countries. He underlined the role of collaboration, mentioning partnerships with the Ministry of Agriculture, private sectors, multinational companies, and universities. Abdullahi stressed that NITDA believes in a collective approach and is committed to carrying everyone along in the journey of digital transformation.

Regarding the IFAD’s partnership request for NITDA’s participation in an upcoming policy dialogue, Inuwa expressed appreciation and affirmed NITDA’s readiness to collaborate. He encouraged IFAD to consider reaching out during capacity-building plans, emphasizing the importance of updating knowledge.

Ekoue, who led the IFAD delegation, expressed gratitude for NITDA’s support. She highlighted the success of previous collaborations, including the multi-stakeholders dialogue on ICT4D for smallholder farmers in May 2023. Ekoue shared the plan for another policy dialogue to strengthen collaborations and praised NITDA’s leadership in scaling up ICT4D initiatives. She looked forward to productive discussions that would benefit smallholder farmers in Nigeria.

In response, Abdullahi assured the IFAD team of NITDA’s unwavering commitment to the partnership. He acknowledged the importance of leveraging the community of actors and mobilising support from key stakeholders to facilitate smallholder farmers’ access to digital solutions comprehensively. The meeting concluded with a shared commitment to advancing sustainable ICT-driven solutions for the agricultural sector, particularly benefiting smallholder farmers across Nigeria.

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