The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) has stated that the key motivation for NITDA’s involvement in the National e-Agriculture Web Portal (NEAWP) project is the believe that the Agricultural sector of Nigeria, has the potential to provide an alternative to the dwindling income from petroleum products and that NITDA can significantly improve this potential by using ICT to drive the sector.
He added that the workshop comes at a critical time; a time where Nigeria has been challenged to look inward for other avenues for foreign exchange.
He made this comment at the official presentation and validation of the National e-agriculture Web Portal, inauguration of the Steering Council and first multi-stakeholder workshop on e-agriculture event which was held at Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Abuja on the 11th October, 2016.
While giving an overview of NEAWP Project and status, the NITDA DG stated that e-Agriculture refers to the process of deploying, adopting and accepting ICT into the different areas of the Agricultural Value-Chain. Adding that, “The National e-Agriculture Portal is a core part of the e-Agriculture programme. It was initiated in line with our objectives, as stated in the National IT Policy, as well as part of our e- Strategy, as captured in the Nigerian ICT4D Plan”.
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim appreciated the great support and endorsement the Agency has received from President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, the supervisory Ministry (the Federal Ministry of Communications) and the partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
He also enumerated the benefits of the Portal, stating that, “the farmers will also have access to training through the Portal’s e-learning module. They will also be able to take advantage of the Rural Information Technology Centres (RITCs) of NITDA to access relevant information using our facilities at those centres. We realize that a number of our farmers will be more at home with content in their local dialect. As a result, we have plans for the domestication of the content in Nigerian languages”.
Expressing NITDA’s openness to suggestions, he said that “…… we are here today to obtain the buy-in of the key stakeholders that will drive the e-Agriculture project in the months and years to come. We are also eager to get your suggestions on the different aspects of the Portal to enable us integrate them into the ongoing upgrade of the overall systems”.
The Permanent Secretary of the, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Shehu M. U. Ahmed, who was represented by Mrs Olubunmi Siyanbola, in his opening remark stated that in order to revamp the agricultural sector and make it attractive to the unemployed, collaboration between stakeholders in agriculture is key. Adding that, this will enable the sector move toward a sustainable development model that makes green industries competitive and serves green technology markets. He maintained that the Ministry will sustain the current collaborative programs in the Ministry that aims at reducing poverty and improving the quality of life for our people.
The Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu while presenting his speech expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Honourable Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development and their team for the great support given to NITDA on this programme.
He stated that the dwindling revenue from the oil sector has motivated the government to look for alternative sources of revenue for the nation. Stating that the ability to turn things around depends, to a large extent, on the degree to which we innovate.
Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, Ph.D, who inaugurated the Steering Council, stated that the committee is expected to come up with an implementable work plan on how the Portal will be of immense benefit to Nigerians as well as promote Agri. Business in Nigeria.