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May 27, 2024

Food Security: Varsity Don Urges Govt to Prioritize Digital Training for Farmers Nationwide  

Adeolu Ayanwale, an Agricultural Economics professor at Obafemi Awolowo University, has emphasized the importance of digital training for farmers nationwide to enhance food production in Nigeria. 

This call was made during a recent workshop organized by the Commonwealth of Learning, Canada, in collaboration with OAU and the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI). 

Ayanwale highlighted that the limited use of technology in Nigeria’s agriculture has been a significant challenge hindering sectoral growth. He stressed the essential role of digital training in achieving enhanced and expanded agricultural output.

“Digital training simply means teaching farmers how to use digital tools on their farms and in various phases of their crops’ value chain – crop production, crop growth and development, crop marketing,” he said.

“The federal government should embrace teaching farmers how to use digital devices such as phones, radio, and internet for production and marketing, such that they can begin to market their produce on WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter among others.

He noted that engaging farmers in digital training will go a long way in helping to improve farmers productivity, adding that the government should be more interested in it in order to stabilize food inflation.

“But when we build capacity in this situation, and each and every one is able to produce enough food, the food inflation would come down, then there would be achievement of zero hunger, which is the Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG), so that nobody would go hungry,” he said.

Ayanwale stated that since the start of the workshop series in March 2023, over 500 train-the-trainers had been trained intensively and empowered to go back to their communities to step-down the training.

“Our training is all-encompassing as we train the farmers on how to plant, grow, preserve, package, harvest, transport, market and export their produce. Also, we talk about developing a savings culture, accessing financial support from the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) among others,” he said.

Likewise, Olufemi Oladunni, the executive director at ARMTI, encouraged vegetable farmers to follow the spacing guidelines provided in their training when applying fertilizers to their crops.

 He advised against fertilizing during the rainy season and recommended adopting agro-ecologically friendly practices, such as using organic manure instead of relying solely on inorganic fertilizers.

“What we are trying to do is to develop farmers by capacitating them, so that they can produce more for their immediate family, neighbours and nation at large.

Kemi Idowu, from the Department of Soil Sciences & Land Resources Management at OAU, highlighted the challenges farmers face due to climate change, particularly in managing soil water and fertility.

She recommended that participants utilize training on various techniques such as water application methods, nursery management using plastic pots, and employing shade structures like low tents for raising seedlings.

Idowu emphasized that through the training, farmers can now differentiate types of fertilizers and understand how to apply them, as well as produce their own compost manure.

One participant, Opeyemi Olaobaju, expressed gratitude to the workshop organizers and promised to use the training and funds provided wisely.

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