Stakeholders at the ongoing Agric Social Media Week on Wednesday expressed optimism that modern technologies in agriculture would drive economic growth, thereby, making agriculture the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy.
The stakeholders said this at the opening of the Two-Day event themed: #TheAgricTakeOver holding at the Start Zone in Gbagada, Lagos, organized by the Corporate Farmers International (CFI)
The stakeholder’s sidelines that food and agriculture sector currently accommodates over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population with an annual contribution of $600 dollars.
They backed Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, who said food and agriculture would contribute one trillion dollars by 2035, stating that only technology can help achieve that feat.
Mr. Woke Ogunlade, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Probity Farms said that to improve the quality of seeds and yields depended on the technology applied.
Ogunlade said, “Agriculture has changed from hoes and cutlasses into the use of modern technologies to make a better outlook for agriculture development.
“Farmers need to start enhancing technology in various aspects of farm work to improve quality of seeds, quality, and quantity of yields, ” he said.
Ogunlade said agriculture used to be complex for financial institutions to take the risk of supporting equipment financing as a result of poor record keeping.
Mrs Halina Apaila, country representative of Digital African Woman said that farmers needed to be trained on technological toolds to improve ideas, seeds, marketing and to improve start-ups (for expansion).
Apaila said that only when farmers embrace technology would they be able to access international engagements and investments.
“Digital African Woman gives a platform for training with technological tools to improve ideas, seeds marketing, website developments and engagements for international investors, ” she said.
Mr Humphrey Otalor, Marketing Communication Officer, Dizengoff Nigeria said that farming equipment are in sizes of affordability at every point.
Otalor said that commercial farmers and small holder farmer alike were put in mind during the fabrication of farming machines.
He said, “Dizengoff are affordable at every point and at whatever level a farmer finds himself, and we have the technology to meet the farmers needs.
“So there is not excuse for any farmer to ignore the use of technology for maximum productivity and for the ultimate achievement of food security in Nigeria.
“For instance, we have tractors from 35 horse-power to 750 horse-power depending on what the farmer can afford, ” he said.
Emmanuel Owolabi, Country Manager of Okapi Finance said that farmers should be open to embracing technologies which come freely.
Owolabi told NAN, “Okapi finance has a free platform for small holder farmer who have phones in rural communities which brings technology to them at no cost.
“We are positioned to help farmers get technologies to them without a cost so affordability is not even in the discussions, there are people ready to provide farmers with technologies at no cost.
“That is why we are here, the farmer does not need the internet to be on our platform, to request for maybe insurance for his farm of equipment for farming activities, ” he said.
Mrs Serah Odende, Co- founder, African Harvesters, said that technology impacts the profitability of every phase of agriculture.
Mr Akin Alabi, the Managing Partner and Co- Founder of CFI, said that this was the first edition and the turn out was impressive.
Alabi said that farming was becoming more vibrant and technology, branding, marketing and digitalisation was inevitable.
He appreciated partners of the event like Stanbic IBTC, Cellulant, IITA, Dizengoff, Agrofood fair, Olajide Oyewole law firm among others.
Prince Ade Ajayi, Partner, CFI told NAN that over 40,000 youths were connected in Senegal, Kenya and Rwanda online to the event.
Ajayi said that the event was to create a platform for farmers to tell their stories and to promote their successes.