Maximising The Agricultural Sector Through ICTs

by Odimegwu Onwumere

The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the
agricultural business is gaining momentum in Nigeria with many farmers
becoming aware of its importance, consequently creating an enabling
situation to maximise the advantages accruing from the scheme. But this is
not just happening; there are challenges and success accounts that are
aiding the accomplishments to be attained.


The enlightened farmers and lovers of agriculture are doing everything
within their ambit to create awareness for the unaware to be aware about
the importance of ICT as it relates to agriculture. They are using the
media – Television, Radio, Newspapers, Social Media and town-criers to
sensitise people. Unlike before there was no or poor access to ICT
facilities in the country, the case is different today.

Many households are able to purchase electricity generating sets in the
event that there is no electricity supply from the authorities, to power
their ICT gargets. Poles-apart before 1999, when Telephony Company was not
discentralised and few financially rich people were exposed to using
telephone, over seventy percent of Nigerians now own handsets to do their
businesses. Even, in the recent past, there was a promise by the
authorities to provide local farmers with over ten thousand handsets to
assist them in communication, which number of handsets is going to be
improved later.

Experience & Impact

Otherwise known as E-Agriculture, its emergence is boosting the level of
production and sells in the agricultural and rural development across the
country. The perception by farmers on how to aim, enlarge, estimate and
function, are somewhat made easy. The disparity between farmers in the
rural and urban areas is insignificant. They are now operating on the same
level in innovation, dissemination of information about their produce. The
understanding of this rather new phenomenon in Nigeria is evolving in scope
and many people understand the area and are growing as it is growing.

What used to be specialties of those who formally majored in education in
the area of agriculture are being simplified through ICT. Inter alia, it
can only take a farmer to surf the Internet and acquire the knowledge that
he or she wants to acquire: Be it on crop growing, irrigation/water
management, applying fertilizer to the soil, control of pest, casing of
crops, how to harvest farm produce, transporting post-harvest and handling,
transportation of food products, crop storage and safety, marketing and
amongst others. All these are being made easy to farmers by ICT.

Over-again, ICT is making farmers to run their endeavours at a very low
cost and they are being exposed to their counterparts across the globe.
Through videoing, drawing, photographing, process descriptions, and other
information in digital arrangements, those in the business of farming in
the country are able of linking up with other farmers from around the
world. ICT is helping farmers to create any document they want to showcase
to the world without error. They are able to transfer money through ICT
gargets devoid of high risk of criminal activities in the streets. The
money or document transferred gets to its recipient with an equal speed of
air. Today, some persons who are educated on how to use and apply ICT in
the agricultural sector did not have to be formally educated persons.

Capacity building:

ICT is building confidence in the agricultural sector. Participation of
individuals and group are on the augment. ICT is building ability across
the country. Agriculture is being made to be in the public glare, different
from the days of yore, when one has to go inside the bush to identify with
the types of crop specie that were being sought-after for. In its aptitude,
ICT is creating employment opportunities for all and sundry both in the
administrative department and the technical without significant notice in
the exodus of people from one district to another, where they are looking
for a maximised environment to practice agriculture.

In their wisdom, farmers are having prospective price astuteness to sell
their produce with the aid of the acumen derived from ICT. They are also
capable of taking decision with stakeholders across the sphere. The skill
for farmers to forecast what to plant and what not to plant in any season,
is no longer farfetched. With the knack of ICT to dictate weather
condition, farmers are taking appropriate intelligence on the method they
could use to fight flooding and other menaces that are occasioned by
climate change.

Enabling environment:

Tariffs for ICT are being slashed. The country is not ignoring this change
representative. Many foreign goods are being consigned as contraband,
therefore creating facilitating environment for farmers. ICT practice in
the country is not being attended with isolation or with any gender bias.
Anybody can use ICT in any positions – be it leading or led.

The authorities are really making serious investment on ICT
road-and-rail-networks and making ICT amenities readily obtainable to the
agricultural sector without or less sweat. And with the Land Act Decree of
1978 (which amongst other Items in it), states that the government owns the
land, telecoms masts are being erected at strategically important locations
to enhance ICT familiarisation across the country. The cost of internet
connectivity is being subsidised. ICT is permitting young people to engage
in agriculture. They are no longer seeing it as a business or practice for
the aged, which was what agriculture used to be in this clime.

Many are taking the opportunities created by ICT to engage themselves;
thereby pulling out from streets as loafers. This phenomenon is holding
sway with many using it enthusiastically and upgrading in new manufactured
technologies as they are manufactured. It has become a valuable engagement
with people wanting to improve in their area of specialty of agriculture.
It is enabling the rural communities to develop and boost their
sense-of-worth, keeping them thinking and compelling them to seeing better
future than what obtains in their immediate environment.


To keep the success story of ICT in the country effective, there should
however be unequivocal support from the authorities to farmers; and ICT
should be welcomed as a remedy for furthering agricultural assembly in
copious ways. Innovative practices have to be upheld without hindrances, to
enable farmers have the continuous access to policies of the authorities
without having a biased frame of mind. Volunteer-groups sensitising and
forcing the interest of farmers on the need for ICT consumption, should not
be in dearth. Changing of technology should be ubiquitous as it is
obtainable in the developed world. More websites have to be created for
veritable use to stimulate people with any on-ground information. Adequate
capital has to be formulated through loan facilities to enable farmers meet
up with their needs of ICT.

The role of ICT in maximising agriculture is gargantuan. Power supply has
to be improved to enable ICT lift farmers in the country to the peak where
they belong. This has worked very well in the so-called developed world.
ICT lifted that world from being underdeveloped to the undeviating
developed world that it has become today. Every aspect of ICT has to be
made available to farmers at their door steps, just as the authorities are
subsidising the cost of internet connectivity.

ICT should be made a mandatory course of study at the tertiary level.
Intensive mentoring and crusade concernin

g ICT should be fad. There should
be no barrier on this matter between the elite and the masses. The elite
should assist the masses to leap off from economic conundrum. E-mail
hackers and SMS message trackers have to be discouraged by instituting
their anti-squad. Since the youths are vulnerable to succeed, they should
be highly encouraged to exploit E-Agriculture, for the country to maximise
the benefits of ICTs in the agricultural sector.

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