Drive for technological know-how-pushed growth in agric

Barbie Espinol

Technological know-how is a critical economic driver specifically in the agric sector. In accordance to industry experts, the adoption of engineering in agriculture, usually recognized as agritech, is desperately essential to increase agricultural output and improve farmers’ profits. Previously, a quantity of agritech begin-ups are growing to the event, therefore increasing hopes of increasing food creation, developing positions and tackling foods insecurity, DANIEL ESSIET stories.


HIS situation resonates with those people of agriculture and financial advancement authorities, who unanimously argue that know-how is important to driving development in the agric sector and, by extension, the economic system generally.

So, when Prof. Chiroma Maigana of the Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture, College of Maiduguri, Borno Point out, reiterated his posture that obtaining accelerated agricultural expansion and improved livelihoods are only probable if technology is integrated throughout the agric value chain, he certain spoke the minds of other industry experts in the sector and, in truth, standard Nigerians.

The agriculture skilled advised The Nation in an interview past week that technological innovations in agriculture are crucial for boosting productivity and attaining scale, whilst at the very same time optimising generate and minimizing squander. He mentioned the adoption of engineering in agriculture, a lot more popularly identified as agritech, would aid in fixing many difficulties across the spectrum of the regular agriculture benefit chain that for Nigeria to feed by itself, significant reforms, significantly all those that favour the adoption of advancements in technological innovation, are needed across the sector.

Aligning with Maigana, a business enterprise growth expert, Kenneth Obiajulu, said higher consideration ought to be presented to creating creation capacity in the agricultural sector as properly as higher price agro-processed food items by using on the back of technologies.

In accordance to him, there are structural worries inhibiting the agricultural sector from reaching its complete probable. He shown some of them to involve limited obtain to engineering, credit history and marketplaces, amid other folks.

Obiajulu stated the difficulties in the sector have built technologies-led interventions to disrupt the market vital. He pointed out that there are loads of agritech chances, ranging from the offer of credit history to the market of inputs to logistics to transport the harvest. He managed that the agric sector holds tremendous probable for technologies adoption, looking at the sheer size of the population.

Obiajulu is correct. According to the United Nations (UN), the earth will have to have to make 70 for each cent extra meals in 2050 to meet the growing desire, and technological know-how can assist in raising agricultural output.

The import of the UN projection and suggestion are definitely not dropped on stakeholders and the authorities in the agric sector, wherever the push to flip to technologies to reach a a lot more robust and resilient food items technique has obtained important traction. Not a couple agriculture and financial growth professionals believe that that a complete and radical revamping of the agriculture sector, by the use of know-how (agritech), is essential in the way food stuff is manufactured, eaten and how squander is managed.

A typical thread that runs via their presentations at many fora is the recognition of the elementary function and opportunity in the agricultural sector to not only ensure foodstuff security, but also improve economic improvement.

They, nevertheless, recognise the existence of a multitude of challenges and obstacles to the sector’s progress these kinds of as poor industry details, lack of infrastructure, very poor plan and regulatory environments, and climate alter, amongst other folks.

But, the fantastic factor is that leveraging technological innovation, in accordance to them, could support get round the troubles. Obiajulu explained, for instance, that he anticipates a upcoming with considerable advancements in farm mechanisation and automation, including farm robots using around labour intense responsibilities and lessening drudgery.

He claimed Nigeria demands a sturdy innovation weather and supporting infrastructure to make it well-positioned for agri-foodstuff technologies to acquire root.

For the Nation Supervisor/Deputy Managing Director, OCP Nigeria, Caleb Usoh, applying modern-day technologies to the agricultural sector will help increase meals output, performance and earnings. He said the sector holds a huge probable for agritech start out-ups.

With Nigeria  forecast to have a inhabitants of about 250 million by 2050, Usoh explained in general need for food items will maximize, and coverage makers, farmers and investors  will have to  appear to new agriculture systems to produce greater crops and  enhance yields.

He supports the use of precision technologies and massive-data analytics by agro-business people to travel innovation in farming, admitting using crop checking technologies to analyse the fields, along with sensible irrigation units, digitalised farm management devices and drone know-how to map out the crops and to oversee the distribution of fertiliser and pesticides.

An international consultant in rural agriculture and Senior Lecturer, College of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun Condition, Prof. Kola Adebayo, famous that multiple start off-ups are by now seeking to alter the agric landscape with the use of ground breaking company styles.

According to him, some of them are working on a variety of technologies that not only create a feasible small business, but also assistance improve income, noting, nonetheless, that the big complications faced by farmers include things like absence of data on farm inputs, unorganised credit and absence of industry linkages.

Adebayo famous that a variety of agritech organizations have come into play to help farmers provide greatest price for their develop.

Certainly, a selection of modern start off-ups working in the food stuff engineering and agriculture engineering sectors have merged. Some of the agritech commence-ups, The Country learnt, are doing the job to improve source chains, making use of significant details analytics and artificial intelligence to optimise farm administration.

Many others are focused on farm finance, storage monitoring and digitalisation of regional markets. In Nigeria, food agritech corporations are reported to have drawn about $50 million in investment.

A single of them is Farmcrowdy Constrained, Nigeria’s initially and main agritech firm established in 2016 by 5 young Nigerians led by Onyeka Akumah. Farmcrowdy has lifted $15 million for 25,000 farmers.

Akumah mentioned agritech was starting to be extra and far more mainstream. Whilst pointing out that sustaining Nigeria’s rising populace involves raising agricultural manufacturing by 2050. He reported this will need adoption of systems to improve results. He maintained that there is a require for a potent electronic footprint to enable farmers and agro-corporations uncover a competitive edge, enabling them to satisfy the shifting wants of both of those growers and close prospects.

From the outset, Farmcrowdy Minimal was purely a group farming system seeking to address the dilemma of farmers’ obtain to finance. Nowadays, the organisation has taken an integrated method, seeking to disrupt full source chains with digitalisation.

In the light of chances in the agriculture price chain, Akumah said the firm will aim on the use of engineering to build tools and means that farmers will need to have to boost food items protection as a result of 6 company concentration — Farmcrowdy Structured Finance, Farmcrowdy Coverage, Farmcrowdy Advertising and marketing, Farmcrowdy Tech and Data, Farmcrowdy Foodstuff and Farmcrowdy Aggregation. He said  the  corporations have been set up to provide people throughout the entire agriculture price chain, prioritising stakeholder obtain to greater yields, lessen charges, and smarter marketing and advertising.

Akumah said Farmcrowdy Food items is a 1-end e-commerce platform for contemporary food items and groceries. He reported due to the fact inception in April 2020, Farmcrowdy Foods was capable to total in excess of 3,000 orders in its first 90 days, by its  cellular application on the Google and IOS app retailer.

He mentioned that Farmcrowdy Food items is set to launch its e-commerce platform in which buyers can acquire new foods and get value for their monies, adding that its Trader platform, a a person-end-store, was developed to present main processors and international purchasers the chance to purchase commodities right from farming clusters and aggregators by optimising the industry accessibility to African farmers and improving their cash flow and boosting their yields.

He stated Farmcrowdy Trader has a mobile application that allows quick farmer’s knowledge profiling, advisory services, procurement, agency banking, coverage, and microcredit for tiny-holder farmers.

This calendar year, Farmcrowdy acquired Most effective Foodstuff Limited to present a broader livestock output and processing option to the meat industry. With the acquisition, Farmcrowdy took a the vast majority stake in Best Foods, an agribusiness group fashioned 16 a long time ago and concentrated on the processing of livestock and promoting of agricultural generate.

Akumah claimed the acquisition provided Farmcrowdy the chance to continue on to increase its livestock benefit chain with an enhanced process for livestock creation and processing to get to the wished-for high specifications healthy for area usage and export wherever needed. He mentioned that Farmcrowdy’s eyesight is to empower the foodstuff industry to develop its comparative benefit by electronic systems. To this conclusion, the corporation, he claimed, aims to establish an ecosystem that connects all get-togethers on the benefit chain, bringing together foodstuff area abilities and know-how.

The Nation learnt that when the corporation begun in 2016, creating two commence-ups in the agritech space was a problem, but now, there are about 30 start out-ups in the space even as additional are cropping up just about every working day.

In accordance to Akumah, an ecosystem has already emerged for entrepreneurship in the room, with Farmcrowdy amassing a network of more than 300,000 farmers, cultivating across 17,000 acres of farmland and rearing three million broiler birds and deploying cash for farming projects across Nigeria.

In April 2018, Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, frequented Farmcrowdy at their Workplace in Lekki, Lagos, as a part of his tour to start out-ups and tech hubs throughout the nation.

Through the check out, Akumah offered Osinbajo with a certification of sponsorship for his 10 maize farms on Farmcrowdy system.

Farmcrowdy’s Co-founder & Chief Advancement Officer, Ifeanyi Anazodo, mentioned by means of collaboration with federal government organizations, the organization was doing the job to produce localised source chains. He expressed his perception that bringing revolutionary technological methods to agricultural procedures retains massive financial potential.

Maybe, to underscore the developing agritech place in Nigeria, the Agricultural and Rural Administration Teaching Institute (ARMTI) stated it has acquired significant expertise in the place of agricultural training for marketplace executives and   farmers.

ARMTI Executive Director Dr. Olufemi Oladunni reported agriculture technology  has become a lot more significant than at any time prior to, including that the use of contemporary systems to improve produce, make improvements to food stuff excellent and advertise sustainability in the agri-food items price chain will inspire a lot more youths to enterprise into agriculture.

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