Nigeria has shown what digitisation can do in its job creation scheme in agricultural entrepreneurship for youth and women in the Niger Delta. This was demonstrated at a recent exchange visit to Kenya.
The Project, Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises for Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), is funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria through a loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). It is being executed on behalf of the FG by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
At the international exchange programme, in Kenya, attended by other IFAD funded projects targeted at job creation, the leadership of the FGN/NDDC/IFAD LIFE-ND Project reiterated its commitment to transforming agriculture in the Niger Delta through digitalisation.
The Nigerian project, according to the media unit, showcased how to boost agric productivity and livelihood by harnessing technology.
Digitisation is said to be a significant stride towards modernising agriculture in the Niger Delta region by the FGN/NDDC/IFAD-assisted LIFE-ND Project demonstrating its unwavering commitment to digitalisation of youths and women.
This initiative aims to revolutionise farming practices, enhance food security, and improve the socio-economic well-being of local communities.
Officials at the exchange said the Niger Delta region, known for its lush landscapes and fertile soils, had long been an agricultural hub in Nigeria, but that challenges such as low productivity and climate change impacts have, however, hindered its attaining full potential.
Recognising the need for innovation, the Federal Government of Nigeria paid an exchange visit to the IFAD-assisted Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme – Climate Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods (KCEP-CRAL) Project in Kenya.
During the visit, the team shared valuable insights into how ICT tools and strategies are deployed to effectively and efficiently improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers.
The IFAD Country Director, Dede Ekoue, during the international exchange visit, spoke on the importance of collaboration and partnerships and the desire of IFAD to use ICT tools for agricultural development.
She acknowledged the strides already made by KCEP-CRAL and the opportunities inherent in supporting the achievement recorded by LIFE-ND project in the area of ICT for Development (ICT4D).
Bukar Musa, director, Project Coordinating Unit of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, stressed the alignment of the ICT4D initiative with the agricultural policy of the FG of Nigeria.
He further stated that ICT4D is a veritable tool for ensuring food security, job creation, and economic growth in an efficient and sustainable manner.
Abiodun Sanni, an engineer and National Project Coordinator of LIFE-ND Project, emphasised that the project is demonstrating unwavering commitment to digitalising agriculture in the Niger Delta region to herald a promising future for smallholder farmers and communities.
By harnessing the power of technology, the several initiatives discussed during the exchange visit with the Kenya group, IFAD KCEP-CRAL, such as the E-voucher and GIS/Remote sensing and e-extension will not only increase agricultural productivity but also contribute to food security and economic growth in the region.
The programme focused on comparing notes by Nigeria and Kenya in the deployment of ICT for digitisation of the job creation schemes in both countries.
As these digitalisation efforts continue to evolve, the Niger Delta region is said to be poised to becoming a model for smart and sustainable agriculture in Nigeria and beyond, according to LIFE-ND officials.
Other stakeholders further emphasized the importance of sustainable farming practices which include promoting organic farming techniques, responsible water management, and conservation efforts to safeguard the region’s unique ecosystem.
All of these were said to be central in upliftment and positively transforming the rural economy of the Niger-Delta Region.