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NITDA to partner USAID, stakeholders on digital technology in agriculture – D-G

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has expressed its readiness to partner with relevant stakeholders to integrate digital technology in agriculture and ensure food security in the country.

Its Director-General, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, said this on Monday when a delegation from US Agency for International Development (USAID), led by Mr Josh Woodard, Senior Digital Advisor Bureau for Resilience, Environment and Food Security, paid him a working visit in Abuja.

Inuwa said that Nigeria had over 70 million hectares of arable land to feed the country and other western African countries, hence the need to have a rapid landscape assessment of digital agriculture in the country.

He said that part of President Bola Tinubu’s “Renewed Hope Agenda” was to focus on boosting agriculture to achieve food security.

He recalled that the agency’s mandate was to develop the National IT Policy which encompassed developing IT to boost productivity across all critical sectors, including agriculture.

“We are coming up with a lot of initiatives in trying to see how we can build an agriculture strategy with IT in mind and make it a more attractive business for the younger generation.

“We are working with the ecosystem to develop a strategy on how to use AI in agriculture, health, education, and so on.

“We are working on how to use the Internet of Things (IoT), in agriculture for crop monitoring, soil monitoring, precision irrigation, climate monitoring livestock monitoring.

“We are deploying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), to facilitate pest detection, water control, yield control.

“We are working on using blockchain for the traceability of farm produce from farm to store, record keeping, quality assurance and so on.

“We are working on using robotics to enhance productivity in agriculture in terms of automation of physical farm processing like weeding, harvesting, tractors.

“For additive manufacturing, we are working on using it to upscale our manufacturing industry in the agricultural sector for the production of crop and soil monitoring devices, customised equipment, and many more.”

Inuwa called on USAID to be part of the initiatives to address food insecurity.

Earlier, Woodard had said that the visit was to enable USAID have first-hand information on what Nigeria was doing in digital farming, and see how to enhance the integration of digital technology in agriculture.

He revealed that USAID recently launched the Global Food Security Strategy for Nigeria (2024 -2029) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“We want to work with all stakeholders to ensure food security in Nigeria,” he said. (NAN)

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