• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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FG urged to engage farmers in digital training to drive food security

Exclusive: Plateau farmers raise alarm over inadequate rainfall threatening crops yields

Adeolu Ayanwale, a professor of Agricultural Economics at Obafemi Awolowo University has urged both the federal and state governments to engage farmers across the country in digital training to boost food production in the country.

Ayanwale, who made the call during a recent training and capacity development workshop organised by the Commonwealth of Learning, Canada, OAU and Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), said the low application of tech in Nigeria’s agriculture has been a major hurdle in the sector.

According to him, digital training had become a necessity to ensure improved and increased agricultural production.

“Digital training simply means teaching farmers how to use digital tools on their farms and in various phases of their crops’ value chain – crop production, crop growth and development, crop marketing,” he said.

“The federal government should embrace teaching farmers how to use digital devices such as phones, radio, and internet for production and marketing, such that they can begin to market their produce on WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter among others.

He noted that engaging farmers in digital training will go a long way in helping to improve farmers productivity, adding that the government should be more interested in it in order to stabilise food inflation.

“But when we build capacity in this situation, and each and every one is able to produce enough food, the food inflation would come down, then there would be achievement of zero hunger, which is the Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG), so that nobody would go hungry,” he said.

Ayanwale stated that since the start of the workshop series in March 2023, over 500 train-the-trainers had been trained intensively and empowered to go back to their communities to step-down the training.

“Our training is all-encompassing as we train the farmers on how to plant, grow, preserve, package, harvest, transport, market and export their produce. Also, we talk about developing a savings culture, accessing financial support from the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) among others,” he said.

Similarly, Olufemi Oladunni, executive director at ARMTI urged the vegetable farmers to adhere to the training given to them on spacing in applying fertilisers to their plants.

Oladunni advised them not to apply fertiliser during the rainy season and to grow agro-ecological friendly by making use of organic manure at times rather than regular usage of inorganic fertiliser.

“What we are trying to do is to develop farmers by capacitating them, so that they can produce more for their immediate family, neighbours and nation at large.

Kemi Idowu, from the department of Soil Sciences & Land Resources Management, OAU, said that they observed that farmers had challenges with climate change, especially with management of soil water and fertility.

Idowu advised the participants to make use of training on methods of water application, nursery management, using plastic pots, shade and low tent shade for raising their seedlings.

She said that with the training given to the farmers, they could now identify types of fertilisers and the methods of applying them, adding that they could also prepare their own compost manure.

One of the participants, Opeyemi Olaobaju, appreciated the organisers of the workshop, pledging that they would use the training and money given to them judiciously.