Digital Agriculture: NITDA empowers 140 Farmers on Smart Agriculture in Jigawa state-TECH CENTRAL Nigeria

The National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital economy and in collaboration with the Jigawa State Government has commenced a ten-day empowerment programme for 140 farmers on smart Agriculture in Jigawa state.

The empowerment programme which cuts across the 27 Local Governments in the state was flagged off on Monday the 18th of January 2021 at the manpower development institution in Dutse and is scheduled to come to a close on the 27th of January, 2021. Each beneficiary of the programme stands to be empowered with a smart device, One  Hundred Thousand Naira, digital agripreneurship, digital platform (NAVSA mobile app), farm inputs among others , in a bid to improve Agriculture in the State.

Speaking at the flag off of the first innovation summit on Creating a Viable Ecosystem for Economic Development in Dutse, the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isah Ali Ibrahim Pantami said, by using Digital Innovation so many challenges facing the country such as, unemployment will be solved as he also assured that the Federal government would give all necessary supports to Jigawa State in order to successfully achieve these goals.

Offering his remarks, the Director General, National Information Technology and Development Agency, Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE said, there are a lot of ways to create a viable innovative Ecosystem for Economic development and job opportunities, noting that Jigawa has a lot of potentials to offer in agriculture as the largest producer of many  agricultural produce in the country. He added that if Jigawa State can harness its potentials, the State stands a high chance of tapping from digital economy through Agriculture than what Nigeria made and is making from the oil and gas sector.

“Jigawa State has a lot of potentials in terms of agricultural resources. Jigawa is the largest producer of dates, hibiscus and gum Arabic in Nigeria, and largest producer of sesames in the whole of Africa. The state also stands third in rice production, and we are utilizing less than 10% of our arable land. Recently, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Jigawa, Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar negotiated with stakeholders from Mexico to boost hibiscus production, which is a big plus for us as a nation.”

“All these can be achieved through digital technologies; this is why we are building IT centres across the country. So far, we have established 18 IT community centres out of 27 local governments, and we will build in the remaining ones. This is to prepare our future generation and create job opportunities, not only government jobs, but for youths to become self-reliant.

“We are coming with strategy where the State Government can provide enabling environment that will unlock opportunities. In some countries, government job is the last resort, because you will make more money in business than in government; you will have more time in your private business than government,” he concluded.

 The DG reiterated that, Innovation is part of the efforts put in place by President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration in ensuring the diversification of the Nigerian economy.  

In his remark, the Jigawa State Governor, Muhammed Badaru Abubakar said, his government is entirely focused on agricultural activities, while he prayed the summit brings solutions in improving  modern farming in the State through critical thinking. The Governor added that, it is only through critical thinking that the minds of Nigerian youths can be opened, so that they can look around their environment and see the opportunities around them that they can turn into business and create jobs, adding that the more problems are being solved, the more income can be generated.

He further said that the vision and focus is to bring world of innovations to the state, noting that oil economy is almost over because of what is happening around the globe – electric cars are on the rise, solar energy is becoming cheaper, wind energy is becoming supportive, and the unknown fuel energy-drive currently ongoing can surely drop the demand of oil, and if this happens, national income will continue to decline and that will affect all the states of the Federation, including Jigawa.

“We have to look at the areas where we have competitiveness and see how best we can make our economy work through those areas. Like I have always said, we can achieve this largely in Agriculture. We have vast land and water for irrigation in Jigawa. We will continue to focus on how to develop Agriculture and its value chain.

“I want to challenge this Summit to see how best we can improve in what we are doing and how best we can create jobs around the value chains in Nigeria digitally.

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