Nigerian Government, IFAD recommends digital platforms to support farmers

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The Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in the Niger-Delta (IFAD-LIFE-ND) Supervision Mission has recommended the use of digital platforms in supporting  farmers and rural entrepreneurs.

Adeline Muheebwa, Supervision Mission Team Lead, made the recommendation in a presentation at the LIFE-ND wrap-up meeting for the Federal Government/IFAD supervision mission on Tuesday in Abuja.

Muheebwa said there was need to promote strong adoption of Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) among farmers,  agripreneurs and stakeholders.

She said the mission focused efforts at removing bottlenecks and propose actions that resolved LIFE-ND implementation problems, among others.

According to her, there is a strong drive and demand from youths for ICT4D solutions for enhanced farm and agribusiness management practices and access to advisory such as the weather or climate information.

Muheebwa stressed the importance of capacity building and support in ICT4D tools for comprehensive farm management including crop monitoring, pest control, irrigation management and integration of farm management data to create credit records and conduct risk assessment.

“Support market-oriented promotion, processing value chain services by entrepreneurs and providing relevant market data and demand forecast through digital platforms.

“This can be done by using ICT tools to facilitate connection between producers and markets and ensuring better alignment with market needs.

“Leverage ICT4D to deliver targeted knowledge and training directly to beneficiary especially youth and women entrepreneurs, develop e-learning modules in local languages, webinar and virtual mentorship programmes.’’

The team lead identified the use of lCT4D solutions to support the rapid adoption of modern farming practices as contributing factors to the success so far recorded in LIFE-ND project.

Muheebwa said the project has had an accelerated economic empowerment of 26,470 smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs which includes women and youth describing the figure as surpassing the initial targets of 25,500.

“The project has a high rate of over 82.8 per cent of technology adoption among the beneficiary households using improved/ modern agricultural technologies and practice.

“The essential gains in productivity and income were observed especially in cassava and poultry, with income increase ranging from N1.75 million to N2.7 million per farmer,” she said.

She listed existing impediments in the project as general food inflammation, fuel, cost of labour, equipment/inputs, depreciation of currency, climate hazards like flooring, inland erosion, climate variability, farmer-herder conflict, insecurity and unrest.

Others are high level of unemployment among youths and limited access to productive resources, women limited access to opportunities, resources and leadership positions in rural communities and limited infrastructure like roads and power.

The gold for the LIFE-ND project, implemented in six Niger-Delta states, is to realise a transformed rural economy of the region.

The project aims to assist the rural population to drive prosperity and equal benefit.

Its development objective is to enhance income, food security and job creation for rural youth and women through agribusiness development on a sustainable basis.

NAN / Foluke Ibitomi

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