At The National E-Agriculture Workshop/Inauguration of Steering Council At Shehu Musa Yar’adua.
Representatives of Various Ministries, Departments and Agencies
Stakeholders of the Agricultural Value Chain in Nigeria
Gentlemen and Ladies of the Press
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
May Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you!
All praises and thanks are due to the Lord of the universe. I am delighted to welcome you all to this very important event, as it serves as a watershed for the National e-Agriculture project which we began about 2 years ago. I am grateful for the great support and endorsement that we have received from President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, our supervisory Ministry (the Federal Ministry of Communications) and the partnership that we have received from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Furthermore, e-Agriculture refers to the process of deploying, adopting and accepting ICTs into the different aspects of the Agricultural Value-Chain. According to the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization, it involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of creative ways of deploying ICTs to improve outcomes in the Agricultural sector.
In addition, the workshop comes at a critical time in the life of our nation; a time where we have been challenged to look inward for other avenues for foreign exchange due to the dwindling income from petroleum products. It is widely believed that the Agricultural sector of Nigeria has the potential to provide this alternative and we can significantly improve this potential by using ICT to drive the sector. This is one of the key motivations for our involvement in this project.
The National e-Agriculture Portal is a core part of the e-Agriculture programme. It was initiated in line with our objectives, as stated in the National IT Policy, as well as part of our e- Strategy, as captured in the Nigerian ICT4D Plan.
It is a one-stop shop for agricultural content for all the stakeholders in the Nigerian Agricultural sector. It provides an interactive interface for users to query datasets that are related to the Agricultural sector in Nigeria.
The system aims at making the various datasets of the Nigerian Agricultural sector readily available to stakeholders and highlights the strategic and operational components of the agricultural value chain in Nigeria.
Some key features of the Portal include:
i) It provides a flexible system for identifying farmers in the country;
ii) It gives a verifiable database of farmers;
iii) It incorporates a dashboard for presenting relevant datasets in easy-to-follow formats;
iv) It presents a platform for providing training for the stakeholders;
v) It provides data analytics and business intelligence tools for stakeholders;
vi) It provides a means of communicating key farming information like best practices and weather information to farmers; and
vii) It provides a platform for linking various stakeholders in the agro-allied industries and hence a ground for marketing and advertising agricultural products.
The Front-end of the Portal gives the general information about it and shows icons for accessing and visualizing the content of the back-end. The Back-end of the Portal has the analytics engine to process the various agricultural datasets that form the basis for the displays on the front-end.
Furthermore, the datasets are sourced from various stakeholders, including the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), etc. Interestingly, many of our stakeholders are here and with your partnership, we will always have the relevant data to keep integrating the systems.
We will take advantage of smartphone technologies, big data analytics, social networking and other cutting edge technologies to ensure that farmers and stakeholders have actionable information upon which to improve their process and generate more income. The farmers will also have access to training through the Portal’s e-learning module. They will also be able to take advantage of the Rural Information Technology Centres (RITCs) of NITDA to access relevant information using our facilities at those centres.
We realize that a number of our farmers will be more at home with content in their local dialect. As a result, we have plans for the domestication of the content in Nigerian languages.
Therefore, we are here today to obtain the buy-in of the key stakeholders that will drive the e-Agriculture project in the months and years to come. We are also eager to get your suggestions on the different aspects of the Portal to enable us integrate them into the ongoing upgrade of the overall systems.
With these few words, I wish to welcome you all once more, to this Workshop and I wish you very beneficial deliberation.
May Almighty help us and make it beneficial,…