The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe has commended the management of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA for developing an agricultural web portal aimed at making Nigeria attain self sufficiency in food production.
The Minister expressed his optimism on the project in his office when the management of the Agency with the project consultant paid him a working visit to demonstrate the working of the portal.
“We will collaborate with your Agency on this laudable initiative and we are starting right now by constituting a working team that will work further on the contents of the portal because it is very key for the effectiveness of the project.”
Ogbe stated that with a portal like this, patronage on Nigerian agricultural produce would increase globally while maintaining that “our produce will also enjoy quality control and provide necessary information to importers of our farm produce.”
He further urged the team to make provision for sources of agricultural finances on the portal to enable farmers know how to source for credit facilities.
Earlier in his presentation, the NITDA Acting Director General, Dr. Vincent Olatunji stated that the project became imperative in order to enable an ICT-driven agricultural sector to enhance agricultural self-sufficiency and food security component of the change mantra.
Furthermore, he said the portal “is a one-stop shop for all relevant stakeholders in the agricultural sector to unlock the full potentials of agriculture as business” He added that information on the portal would increase the agricultural value chain from the farmers to the final consumers such as agro allied companies.
Citing the Rwandan example on coffee plantation as a success story on how to leverage on ICT to develop agriculture as the country’s coffee agriculture subsector happened relatively quick due to the usage of ICT.
Dr. Olatunji enumerated the features and functionalities of the portal to include Community information access point for farmers and other industry stakeholders nationwide, link to bulk purchase buyers, logistical resources and other opportunities for farmers and other industry stakeholders. It basically serves as data collation/dissemination repository – whereby information on local and global dynamics, market trends, commodity prices, and other relevant data are found. Essentially, it creates access to e-Learning services and field training resources for industry focus groups like agriculture extension workers and other field operatives, access to updated farming techniques and practices, as well as other relevant information and resources for Farmers and other industry stakeholders.
Requesting from the minister his four point prayers, the Ag. Director General of NITDA urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to take ownership of the portal; reactivate the working group which has been working on the project for the past four years, initiate a stakeholder forum on the portal’s functionality and formally launch the portal after it has been certified okay.
“It is envisioned that the escalation of National e-Agriculture Web Portal, led by FMARD with funding and collaboration from NITDA, will enhance, & sustains value chain capacity, by engaging new & empowering old stakeholders with fully interactive and actionable e-agriculture platform components,” he added.
The portal according to Dr. Olatunji is now live at: www.eagriculture.com.ng or www.eagriculture.org.ng.