Nigerian Government launches online portal for agriculture

Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) have launched the National E-agriculture Web portal, one-stop shop for agriculture stakeholders and farmers in Nigeria to interface, exchange and develop ideas that will help boost the agriculture sector.

The portal aims to make readily available the database of Nigerian farmers to stakeholders and provide a means of communicating key farming information like best practices and weather information to farmers in the country.

In his speech the Minister of state Agriculture and Rural Development Senator Heineken Lokpobiri said the agriculture sector is key to the growth of Nigeria’s economy hence the need to harness its potentials

“The effective harnessing of its potentials is paramount in order to open up more employment opportunities, create wealth and guarantee adequate food for our rapid growing population” he explained.

Sen. Lokpobiri said the portal will cater for the needs and worries of the Nigerian farmer.

“It will focus on dissemination of information designed to help farmers in making best choices. It will promote the emergence of specialised agricultural knowledge from targeted research to address farmer’s priorities and improve the efficiency of the extension system through use of various methods”

While delivering his speech the minister of communications in Nigeria Barrister Adebayo Shittu said the e-agriculture portal is an innovation that can enhance service delivery in the agriculture sector.

“E-Agriculture is one of such innovative programme that can significantly enhance service delivery in the agricultural sector and generate significant revenue for government”

“The data generated through this portal will provide such valuable information to decision makers in the agriculture sector, as well as in other sectors of the economy” he added

While giving an overview of the National E-agriculture Web Portal at the inauguration, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim said the portal will provide a flexible system for identifying farmers in the country and verifiable database of farmers.

Dr. Ibrahim said the e-Agriculture Portal is designed to be a one stop-shop for all the stakeholders in the Nigerian agriculture sector.

He said the Portal will present a platform for providing training for the stakeholders and also provide a platform for linking various stakeholders in the agro-allied industries and hence a ground for marketing and advertising agricultural products.

“We will take advantage of smart phone 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” he said

He further stated that the agency is also making plans to include local dialects in the National e-agriculture Web Portal to help rural farmers who are more comfortable with the local dialects access to the portal.