The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in collaboration with Abuja Technology Village (ATV) and the National Centre for Artificial intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) has kicked off the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) Pilot Training Programme for 50 Nigerian Youth Corps Members.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the training in Abuja, the NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, urged participants to seize the laudable opportunity and be intentionally interested in Agricpreneurship, to effectively utilise the knowledge and skills gained from the training to create jobs and contribute their quota to increasing the productivity, profitability, food security and agriculture efficiency of the nation.
He tasked the participants, who were selected from a pool of applicants, to be committed to the programme, stressing that it is of uttermost importance because the six-month training is transformational and aimed at making them self-sufficient and job providers.
The NITDA boss advised that creativity and innovative thinking must be applied to developing better ways of solving economic issues in the country, especially in the Agricultural sector.
Represented by the agency’s acting director, digital economy development department, Engr. Salisu Kaka, Abdullahi noted that the initiative is part of the Agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP-2021-2024) and expressed the belief that NITDA alongside its partners will scale up the initiative to accommodate more beneficiaries.
On his part, the national coordinator of the National Centre for Artificial intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), Engr. Garba Ya’u opined that to propel the country towards the prosperity of agriculture, their intrinsic intention to become smart farmers should translate to tangible innovative ideas to move the sector forward.
He revealed that as part of the pilot, precision agriculture will be introduced to the trainees.
“In the long run, we want to make sure you would not just be agriculturalists but tech agriculturalists,” he said.
Ya’u further said irrespective of their fields of study, the programme is open to all and sundry and encouraged them to be open-minded to the possibilities that await them.
The representative of the Abuja Technology Village, Sarah Obayojie reiterated the company’s resolve to tackle the lingering challenges bedevilling the agricultural sector through indigenous innovations and the application of technology.
“I, therefore, charge you to use this opportunity to make a difference by participating in all the segments of the programme and be assured that this project will positively transform your lives”.
The beneficiaries who took turns to ask questions and got some clarity on the prospects of the training expressed gratitude to NITDA for the project and affirmed their respective commitments to the cause which they described as timely.
They were hopeful that after their service year, apart from looking for white-collar jobs, they would already have something lucrative to hold on to as smart farmer.