The Federal Government has unveiled an agricultural web portal to help Nigeria attain self-sufficiency in food production.
The portal, www.eagriculture.com.ng or www.eagriculture.org.ng was developed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the nation IT implementing agency.
Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, while commending the government agency in Abuja said the portal will help increase patronage of Nigeria’s agricultural products locally and internationally.
According to him “our produce will also enjoy quality control and provide necessary information to importers of our farm product.”
According to the Agric Minister, “we will collaborate with your Agency (NITDA)on this laudable initiative and we are starting right now by constituting a working team that will work further on the contents of the portal because it is very key for the effectiveness of the project.”
Ogbe urged the team to make provision for sources of agricultural finances on the portal to enable farmers know how to source for credit facilities.
Dr. Vincent Olatunji, acting Director General, NITDA, who led a top management team on a working visit to the office of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the project became imperative in order to enable an ICT-driven agricultural sector that enhances agricultural self-sufficiency and food security component of the change mantra.
Olatunji said that the portal “is a one-stop shop for all relevant stakeholders in the agricultural sector to unlock the full potentials of agriculture as business,” adding that the information on the online platform would increase the agricultural value chain from the farmers to the final consumers such as agro allied companies.
Olatunji cited the Rwandan example on coffee plantation as a success story on how to leverage ICT to develop agriculture, and that the country’s coffee agriculture sub-sector developed relatively quick due to the use of technology.
The features and functionalities of the portal includes Community information access point for farmers and other industry stakeholders nationwide, link to bulk purchase buyers, logistical resources and other opportunities for farmers and other industry stakeholders, NITDA said.
The agency said that the portal basically serves as data collation and dissemination repository, whereby information on local and global dynamics, market trends, commodity prices, and other relevant data are found.
Olatunji further explained that the agric portal creates access to e-Learning services and field training resources for industry focus groups like agriculture extension workers and other field operatives, access to updated farming techniques and practices, and other relevant information and resources for farmers and other industry stakeholders.
The NITDA Ag. Director General asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to take ownership of the portal; reactivate the working group which has been working on the project for the past four years, initiate a stakeholder forum on the portal’s functionality and formally launch the portal after it has been certified okay.
“It is envisioned that the escalation of National e-Agriculture Web Portal, led by FMARD with funding and collaboration from NITDA, will enhance, and sustains value chain capacity, by engaging new and empowering old stakeholders with fully interactive and actionable e-agriculture platform components,” he added.