NITDA partners DFID on smart agriculture projects

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has announced a plan to create six million jobs in the Agricultural sector under a partnership with the Department For International Development (DFID).

The agency disclosed this through a statement by its spokesperson, Hadizar Umar, on Friday.
NITDA said the jobs will be created through the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture project.

Through the initiative, the agency said it aimed to create the jobs in the next 10 years in the agricultural ecosystem.

According to the statement, the LINKS Deputy Team and Innovation Lead, Bello Yakassai, spoke on the project during a visit to NITDA in Abuja.

Mr Yakassai said the project will support the development of a vibrant and diversified economy in three key northern Nigerian states of Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa.

He said the programme would focus on the development of high potential pro-poor value chains, supporting them to become productive, competitive and attractive for investment at every level.

“We are fascinated with the similarities in the visions of what we are both doing. We would like to build a relationship and consolidate one another to come up with an impactful project. The innovation component of (the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture) NAVSA, is commendable because it can transform the sector.

“We are working on the various value chain that can transform the agricultural sector. We want to see what new technology can be brought into the programme and this is the reason we are here and see what you are doing,” he said.

NITDA’s Director-General, Kashifu Abdullahi, informed the guest that it has become expedient for NITDA to venture into how to integrate Information and Communication Technology, (ICT) into agriculture because of the economic diversification agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“If you look at the digital economy, you would see that it is evolving into having a digital or virtual market place. We have looked at our strength as a nation and we have identified agriculture as one of our strength,” he said.

Mr Abdullahi said the agency was open to collaboration with DFID, “because we have a common agenda,” adding, “we will look at the term of reference of the collaboration and change it to benefit the two parties because nothing is cast in stone.”

While reiterating the various initiatives of the agency to support the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), Mr Abdullahi said ICT has been identified as a catalyst for economic diversification.

“Digital economy is the new oil and this form the reason the Agency come up with issuance of licences to data companies as part of our regulatory function,” he said.

He described the regulatory function of NITDA as developmental, saying it is not aimed at stifling businesses but create opportunities.

Earlier, the NITDA Director of e-Government and Regulations, Vincent Olatunji, said there is synergy in what NITDA and DFID are doing. He said the next state NITDA wants to focus on after Gombe is Jigawa, which is one of the states already identified by DFID.

He said there is nothing new in what the agency is doing but the innovation embedded in it makes the difference.

He said NITDA and DFID had decided to constitute a think tank to look at the term of reference on how the partnership would work.


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