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Revolutionizing Agriculture: IFAD and FG Forge Tech-Powered Alliance to Boost Food Production

IFAD and FG Forge Tech-Powered Alliance to Boost Food Production
IFAD and FG Forge Tech-Powered Alliance to Boost Food Production

IFAD and FG Forge Tech-Powered Alliance to Boost Food Production

The Federal Government of Nigeria is poised to deepen its collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) by leveraging technology to enhance food production and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, underscored the significance of the Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) component in IFAD projects, aligning with the government’s agenda of transforming the agricultural sector.

Umakhihe stressed that agriculture, a sector fraught with complex challenges arising from factors like unpredictable weather patterns, rising temperatures, and more frequent droughts, is ripe for a comprehensive transformation driven by AI technologies.

He emphasized the critical role of technology, stating,

“Without technology, we could achieve only so much in food production given the numerous challenges bedeviling the sector.”

He also highlighted the need for diversification through technological integration and the pivotal role played by smallholder farmers in the agricultural ecosystem.

“We have numerous challenges in this sector, such as insecurity and high inflation of food items in the market, among others.

“These are challenges that can be minimized with the use of technology.

“Insecurity has made it possible that some farmers cannot even reach their farms, but with the use of technology, we will be able to monitor the farms and farmers,” Umakhihe emphasized.

Furthermore, Umakhihe lauded IFAD for its strides in incorporating ICT4D into agricultural projects, underscoring its alignment with the Federal Government’s agricultural value chain transformation agenda. He also expressed the intention to draw inspiration from IFAD’s innovative approach.

Mrs. Dede Ekoue, IFAD Nigeria Country Director, shed light on the purpose of the training, emphasizing the potential of digital solutions to enhance the monitoring and evaluation of projects, ultimately yielding the best results.

She highlighted the substantial investments made by the Federal Government and IFAD to bolster agricultural production and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

Ekoue identified ICT4D as the linchpin for scaling up results for farmers, enabling the efficient tracking of project outcomes, and promoting precision in agricultural practices.

She stressed the significance of digital tools in soliciting feedback from farmers, using various platforms including cell phones, SMS, WhatsApp, and other internet tools.

The training not only equipped participants with knowledge on the current state of ICT4D in agriculture but also emphasized the practical application of tools and technologies in transforming rural agriculture.

Ekoue further elucidated that the training aimed to determine how various stakeholders in digital agricultural projects could best achieve their specific objectives by leveraging the concept of interoperability as a guiding framework.

In light of the dynamic nature of agriculture, Ekoue reiterated that technology was indispensable in adapting to the unique challenges faced by farmers.

She emphasized,

“So, the essence of the digital training on M and E is to use ICT4D, which is a technological solution, to scale up our results for real farmers.

“When we use the ICT4D solution, we are able to make sure that staff use them to work on the project, and farmers also use them to give their feedback on the project.

“This feedback can be done through a cell phone, SMS, or WhatsApp, among other internet tools.”

The collaboration between the Federal Government and IFAD in leveraging technology for agricultural advancement is a significant step towards revolutionizing the sector and ensuring food security in Nigeria.

With the integration of AI-driven solutions, the agricultural landscape is poised to overcome challenges and embark on a transformative journey towards sustainable and efficient food production.

Umakhihe concluded with a resounding affirmation of the government’s commitment to this collaboration, recognizing its potential to bolster food security not only within Nigeria but also across the African continent.

He emphasized,

“We have a challenge, and we shall put heads together to ensure robust production of agricultural food to ensure that we are food secured, otherwise if we are not food secured the African continent will be in danger, that is what we do not want to happen.”

 


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