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Food Security: NITDA, USAID To Partner In Tackling Food Insecurity

To address food insecurity in Nigeria, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has stated that the organisation is willing to collaborate with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and pertinent stakeholders. With over 70 million arable land, NITDA has enough food to feed not only Nigeria but all of Africa.

The Director General made this known while receiving representatives from USAID led by Josh Woodard Senior Digital Advisor Bureau for Resilience, Environment, and Food Security, at the Agency’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja. The purpose of the visit was to have a rapid landscape assessment of digital agriculture in Nigeria and partner with NITDA.

Inuwa said, “One of President Tinubu’s areas of focus is boosting agriculture to achieve food security, and at NITDA we were set up to develop the National IT Policy, and IT policy is not just about developing IT but developing IT to boost productivity across all critical sectors including agriculture.”

“That is why we do a lot of initiatives in trying to see how we can build an agriculture Strategy with IT in mind and make it a more attractive business to the younger generation,” he added.

Inuwa stated that NITDA has identified six emerging technologies, that will aid in achieving food security in Nigeria. He said “We have an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy co-creation workshop going on, which started on Monday, where we are working with the ecosystem to develop a strategy on how to use AI in agriculture, health, education, and so on.

“We are working on how to use the Internet of Things, (IoT) in agriculture for crop monitoring, soil monitoring, precision irrigation, climate monitoring livestock monitoring, and so on.”
“We are working using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, (UAVs) to facilitate pest detection, water control, yield assessment, and so on.”

We are working on using Blockchain for the traceability of farm produce from farm to store, record keeping, quality assurance, and so on.”

“We are working on using Robotics to enhance productivity in agriculture in terms of automation of physical farm processing like weeding, harvesting, tractors, and many more.”

“For additive manufacturing, we are working on using it to upscale our manufacturing industry in the Agricultural sector for the production of crop and soil monitoring devices, customised equipment, and many more.”

Speaking on NITDA’s commitment to ensuring that Nigeria develops its digital offering in-country, Inuwa noted that the Nigeria Startup Portal was launched during the week with over 12,000 startups registered so far. He said they would be labelled after which they could have access to incentives.

Earlier Josh Woodard, USAID said that the meeting was to enable USAID to have first-hand information on what Nigeria is doing in digital farming to see how to enhance the integration of digital technology in agriculture.

He revealed that USAID recently launched the Global Food Security Strategy for Nigeria (2024 -2029) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

He said, “We want to work with all stakeholders to ensure food security in Nigeria.”

The meeting discussed the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) the success stories the initiative has recorded, the expansion strategy it is adopting and the call on the USAID to be part of the initiatives.

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