The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) in partnership with Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), has trained over 70 vegetable farmers in Osun on digital agricultural solutions.
This was done at the Training and Capacity Development Workshop recently at OAU, Ile-Ife, themed, ‘Scaling-up Lifelong Learning for Farmers on Digital Agricultural Solution for Vegetable Farmers in Southwest Nigeria Towards Achieving the SDG Goals’.
Akanni Akinyemi, deputy vice-chancellor of research and innovation development at OAU, representing Simeon Bamire, the vice-chancellor, said that innovation, technology and science should be made to power agriculture for effective benefits.
“I think the whole essence of the training was how to use science, technology, and innovation to power agriculture in such a way that we can be food sufficient,” Akinyemi said.
Also, Peter Popoola, assistant director of ARMTI, who was representing Olufemi Oladunni, director-general, ARMTI, enjoined vegetable farmers to corporately work together as a society to go far and achieve Sustainable Development Goals(SDG).
He said that vegetable producers were brought together under the cooperative society over the years, but now want to promote digital cooperative formation.
He added that they want to invest in more farmers that can have digital window platforms; be able to leverage information, assess high-quality seeds, and deal with pests and diseases affecting their food security.
“Vegetable farmers can come together under the digital platform and use computer, technology to network their produce and discuss the challenges facing them, which experts will provide solutions to thereafter.
He noted that the youths will not farm with hoes and cutlasses, stressing that technology is the way to go.
Popoola urged the vegetable farmers to rise to the task ahead of them by purchasing smartphones that they can afford, for them to move forward in this digital era.
In the same vein, Toyin Ojo, senior lecturer at the department of agricultural extension and rural development, OAU, lectured the farmers on “Digital Communication for Profitable Vegetable Marketing”.
Ojo advised vegetable farmers to market their vegetables through computers, websites, E-mails, blogs, infographics and video chat that would give them visibility and more customers online.
He said that through digital communication, they would have market access and price transparency, access to market information, supply chain efficiency, and climate information.
Other benefits include e-commerce for vegetable sales, empowering women and youth in vegetable farming, building an online presence for increased visibility, leveraging social media, mobile apps for immediate supply.
He charged them to use the gainful knowledge of the workshop to key into digital communication for Profitable Vegetable marketing.
Additionally, Babatunde Ogunsina, a facilitator from ARMTI, said that their smartphone is a digital tool for improving their vegetable production.
Adeolu Ayanwale, a professor and convener of the programme, told the farmers that digital agriculture was not limited to foreign climes, adding that it was also being practiced in Nigeria.
“Digital agriculture is happening right here in Nigeria under our noses. “Take these message, get back to your homes and spread it to others who were not able to make this programme,” he said.
Ayanwale noted that the essence of the programme was for youths and women to increase their level of agricultural production.
The highlight of the programme was the field trip to El-Shaddai farm at Ifewara.
Funmilayo Abdullahi, a beneficiary and representative of persons with disability in Osun, acknowledged the good gesture of Adeolu Ayanwale, the convener.
Abdullahi said that all she gained would be useful for her and would try to impact others.