The FarmKonnect Agribusiness Nigeria PLC, on Thursday, inaugurated the first African agricultural electronic center in Ibadan, to promote precision agriculture in Nigeria and Africa at large.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the electronic center which is conformed with global standards, comprises: classrooms, auditorium, computer training rooms, 51 man capacity data collection and analysis center, among others.
Speaking at the inauguration, the FarmKonnect Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Azeez Saheed says the projects are FarmKonnect Agricultural Electronic extension Service Center (FAgEX) and FarmKonnect Institute for Data and Agribusiness Studies (FIDAS).
He says both have the specific goal to provide input services to stakeholders in the agricultural value chains through information technology, training, research and business/professional consulting.
Saheed noted that the initiative was an integral part of its mission to glamourise agricultural practices in Africa.
He added that it would contribute to food security and nutrition through the agricultural real estate of modern technologies and methodologies.
“FAgEX leverages on modern technologies such as satellite imagery, Drones, Electro-Optic systems, Global positioning system, geographic information systems, on-site sensors, among others.
“FAgEX will enable us to monitor and receive live feeds from all farms, greenhouses anywhere in Africa.
“With this initiative, we can also control certain operations such as irrigation and humidification remotely,” he said.
He emphasised the need to improve human capacity by increasing the digital-data learning of farmers in the continent.
Hence, FIDAS he said was established to increase knowledge and skills acquisition of stakeholders in the demand and supply sides as well as the business dimensions of agricultural value chains.
According to him, FIDAS will help businesses, individuals and government to capture inherent values in data and insights towards tailored value delivery in the demand, supply sides of agricultural value chains.
It would also raise more business-oriented professional farmers through classroom and field exposure to modern agri-business practices, Saheed said.
“FIDAS has a general goal to produce a generation of smart-farmers who are data-conscious and can make data-driven decisions in their respective endeavors in the agricultural value chains.
“The project, first of its kind in Africa will ensure the integration of big data and cloud-based ecosystems that will connect various data points.
“This will enable stakeholders in any part of the agricultural value chain to make informed decisions,” he said.
Saheed noted that the facility would partner with technology hubs from the Netherlands, India, USA, UK, China, Russia, Sweden and Nigeria to provide data-driven solutions to farmers.
The FarmKonnect CEO emphasised that FAgEX would create about 700 jobs in Nigeria alone.
He added that FAgEX would be supported by the detachable squadrons of 2 to 3 vehicles which are mobile laboratory, equipment platforms for transport of drones and testing equipment to farms.
“If authorized by the government, the third vehicle will convey armed personnel, these vehicles are equipped with inverters, generators, beds and baths to enable overnight working at farming sites.
“With the solutions of our on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Nigeria (RAIN), we may be able to mitigate risks of kidnaps on farms,” he said.
Saheed, an integrated farmer and Agri-prenuer, remarked that the project was privately funded by patriotic Nigerians who believe in the goal and brand.
He however urged financial institutions, cooperatives and governments to collaborate with the firm to achieve its goals.
Also speaking, Dr Debo Akande, the Director-General, Oyo State Agri-business Development Agency, said the state government prioritised agri-business/agriculture lately.
Akande remarked that the government focused on four areas: education, health, security and expanded economy which is to be built on agri-business within the state.
Also, Dr. Machus Ogunbiyi, the South-West Director, of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture said the ministry focused on food security, wealth and job creation.
While commending FarmKonnect for supporting the ministry’s agenda, Ogunbiyi pledged to support the firm to create enabling environment for private sectors to thrive in Nigeria. (NAN)