Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has tasked young Nigerians to leverage on the opportunities brought by digital technology in order to drive the agriculture sector
Osinbajo said youths are currently devising different means of advancing development in the agricultural sector by using technology.
The Vice President said this while speaking during the presidential panel session of the African Green Revolution Forum at the International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana; with the theme “Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems in Africa.”
Participating alongside the Vice President on the panel, which was moderated by a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, was Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo; Prime Minister of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente; and Africa Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Josefa Sacko.
According to him, several tech companies are already in the agricultural space. He further noted that one of the advantages of technology was a collaboration, which is a major feature of digital technology.
“What we found is that there is far more collaboration than before, and there is far more transparency; you can see practically everything and anyone who is connected one way or the other. And people learn faster because of a lot of collaboration”, Osinbajo said.
He said, “People can go online and find out what a company is doing; some companies are linking investors to farmers, and it is so easy to find out what they are doing by simply going to their website. Some of the Fintech companies are also in that space helping to make payments; helping to do transactions, and a lot them are doing well just by building the space.
“The way it is going; frankly, I can’t see how it will not completely revolutionalise agriculture because practically everywhere that digital technology has touched, it completely revolutionalised. And I don’t think we have a choice. What we are going to see is that, by and large, digital technology is simply going to change the face of agriculture in Africa.’’
He also noted that agriculture was one of the largest employers of labour in Nigeria, stating that more young people in Nigeria are now interested in agriculture because of the impact of technology.
He said, “With respect to the place of agriculture in our economy, it is central. But speaking on how we have absorbed digital technology, one of the most unique features of what digital technology has done is that it has brought in a large number of very young people into agriculture.
“Today many young people are going into agriculture, by using the use of digital technology. Most of the digital platforms that we have that service the agricultural sector are owned by young people who increasingly see the possibilities in agriculture.”
He added, “Aside from the various uses of technology for purposes of tracking movement of farm products, extension services and other advantages, one of the most important advantage is the fact that young people are now very interested in agriculture; they are investing in agriculture and they are looking at the innumerable possibilities in the entire agro-allied value chain.”