By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke
World food agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme have, on several occasions, raised an alarm over the looming and impending danger of food shortage in Nigeria. Both agencies, as of March 2018, said that it is possible for food shortage to affect 5.8 million Nigerians.
Despite the large expanse of land that cuts across the country from the North, South, East and West, it’s very shocking and rather sad that there’s not enough food to go round.
But then, this was not the case in the past. Agriculture was the mainstay of the Nigerian economy: groundnut pyramids from the north; cocoa from the west; and kola nut from the east.
In 1956, Nigeria struck something sweeter and juicier than agriculture. On that fateful day, in the village of Oloibiri, the country discovered oil and agriculture took a back seat.
The country literarily abdicated and abandoned every other sector for oil thus making the Nigerian economy a mono-product economy. From one oil boom to another, Nigeria was revelling in the pool of petrol dollars while agriculture that has the possibility of gainfully employing and feeding Nigerians took the backseat. Agriculture cried and cried for attention but was neglected. This is why some people have described oil as a ‘curse’ rather than a blessing to the country.
Now, agriculture is very frail and everyone including the government is running helter-skelter to revive it. And oil has lost its fanfare.
Interestingly, technology has a solution for almost every problem. In the case of agriculture, digital farming is the tech innovation being used to solve the Nigerian food crises. Digital farming or agriculture is the use of new and advanced technologies, integrated into one system, to enable farmers and other stakeholders within the agriculture value chain to improve food production.
How digital farming works
Technology as earlier said has a solution for almost everything. It simply depends on how you deploy it. For those who ‘hate’ farming, digital farming is perfect for you. And the story of digital farming is incomplete without referencing Farmcrowdy. Farmcrowdy can be described as the first digital farm in Nigeria.
With digital farming, you do not need to own a farm. You simply invest your money in any of the available farms advertised on the digital farm platform and at the end of the harvesting cycle, you get your return on investment plus interest. The reason why this works is that digital farm platform provides support for farmers to guarantee improved crop yield and preservation of harvest. This will, in turn, reduce food waste and increase food production.
The e-commerce is a foolproof business model that has been tried and tested by Jumia, Nigeria’s no 1 shopping destination and it has really been successful so far. As such, it is nonplus that the e-commerce business model is being replicated in other sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Can digital farming tackle food shortage in Nigeria?
Food shortage is a threat to Nigeria’s existence. This is not supposed to be the case in Nigeria because of the availability of large expanse of fertile lands. Thankfully, digital farming arrived and every Nigerian now has the opportunity to play a role in Agriculture even though they do not need to work on the farm. This is the real catch. Therefore, it is very possible for digital farming to tackle food shortage.
Digital farmers cannot do it alone. All stakeholders must come together to find a solution to the food shortage crises in Nigeria. For now, the digital farmers can only do as much.
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