Nigeria: Digitalising Agric Can Boost Nigeria’s Economy – Report

A report by the Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) has said that unless Nigeria deploys digital platforms to improve efficiencies in production, transactions, stakeholder relations and investment opportunities, the country will not be able to drive economic development or attract investment in the agricultural sector.

The monthly FDC publication released yesterday noted that if well handled, the sector could facilitate economic growth through inter-sectoral linkages and provide sustenance for households.

It added that in the last two decades, agriculture contributed at least 20 per cent to real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria.

It, however, stated that the sector has not been able to adequately drive economic growth due to Nigeria’s oil-focused economic structure and internal sectoral problems.

According to the report, if the government focuses its efforts on encouraging the growth of the digital platforms, it can lower the cost of information dissemination to farmers from investors and the government.

It noted that it could reduce the production costs by providing an avenue for easier access to agriculture tools, equipment and machinery as well as aid the investment process by connecting farmers with credit facilities and interested investors.

The FDC report noted that paying attention to the digitalisation of agriculture will reduce the time it takes to transfer funds and provide a smoother transaction process between farmers and stakeholders.

It said: “If the government wants to promote the use of digital agriculture platforms in Nigeria, it must assist in tackling some obstacles these platforms face.

“One problem is the low skill level in the agriculture sector. Without technically skilled personnel, these platforms are at risk of producing poorly designed solutions, which will discourage investors.

“Also, the companies will not be able to build a platform that can adequately tackle the underlying information and communication issues. If the government wants to promote digital platforms, the government must encourage more graduates to pursue a career in agriculture.

“A way to encourage this would be through incentives for graduating from this field like scholarships or grants for students interested in agriculture and technology.”

The report urged the government to encourage the use of digital agriculture platforms by providing incentives for digital agriculture start-ups.