Agriculture’s Ten (10) Most Recent Innovations and Technologies in Nigeria

Agriculture’s Ten (10) Most Recent Innovations and Technologies in Nigeria

According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Nigeria is rich with 70.8 million hectares of agricultural land, and the most popular crops grown on Nigeria’s soil are rice, yam, millet, and corn. Nigeria boosted its rice production from 3.7 million tons in 2017 to 4.0 million tons in 2018. Despite this, just 57 percent of the 6.7 million tons of rice consumed in Nigeria each year is produced locally, leaving a 3-million-ton gap that must be imported or smuggled into the country illegally. To enhance domestic production, the Nigerian government prohibited rice importation to the country in the year 2019.

In Nigeria, which is the most populous country in Africa, food insecurity is on the rise; according to World Bank development indicators, nearly 8% of the population was undernourished in 2015, up from 6% in 2007. Besides, The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), availed that the agriculture business in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow from US$200 billion in 2015 to US$1 trillion in 2030, posing both a challenge and an opportunity for small farmers and investors in the continent.

Agriculture in Nigeria is in desperate need of reform, yet it remains a critical component of the country’s economic development. Nigeria, with its rich agricultural resources, needs a diversified economy rather than one that is heavily reliant on petroleum. It is unjust for a country with such agricultural potential to rely solely on crude oil to sustain its economy. Innovations to strengthen the agriculture sector should be adopted for Nigeria to effectively diversify its economy and avoid the consequences of just relying on oil. Nigeria was rated 119th on the 2017 Global Agricultural Innovation Index, according to a recent study published by the Global Innovation Index. Last year, the country was rated 114th. Apart from noting Nigeria’s lack of inventive prowess, particularly in the agriculture sector, the Global Agricultural Innovation Index also raises worries about the country’s food industry’s low level of exploitation.

Nigeria has therefore transitioned from a traditional corporate model to a startup economy during the last five years. However, it appears that relatively few entrepreneurs have looked into or operated in the agriculture market. According to the 2014 Hunger Index, it was revealed that Nigerians are facing food shortages leading to a high increase in hunger among Nigerian citizens, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, acknowledged hunger and poverty in the country in 2017. Given that agriculture accounts for 24% of Nigeria’s GDP and was the primary driver of the economy previous to the discovery of petroleum.

Additionally, Agriculture was once thought to be the profession of a poor and uneducated man in Nigeria. However, as more people turn to agriculture as a source of income, attitudes are changing; the sector now employs nearly two-thirds of the workforce and accounts for 37% of GDP rise in Nigeria’s economy. Subsistence farmers are increasingly turning to innovative technologies to increase their production and marketing. This includes everything from collaborating with companies that provide drone technology and remote sensing to using social media to interact with other companies in the industry. With a population of over 200 million people, Nigerian farmers, businesses, and governments face a huge demand for their products.

Agriculture’s Ten (10) Most Recent Innovations/Technologies in Nigeria

Smallholder farmers in Nigeria are turning to innovative technology to enhance food productivity and marketability as the food crisis deepens. Food insecurity is expected to climb by 2 billion people by 2050, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for more than half of the increase.

1. Recent Irrigation Techniques:

Using improved water control techniques, modern water system strategies have made it possible to increase farm output. Many types of water system hardware, such as siphons, dams, and sprinklers, are now in use in Nigeria. The River Basin and Rural Technology Development Authority ought to be supported by the Nigerian government to help increase agricultural productivity in Nigeria. Surface irrigation, localized irrigation, drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, sub-irrigation, and manual irrigation are some of the most prevalent methods of irrigation used by farmers for the artificial delivery of water to the soil in Nigeria. The current irrigation system plans in Nigeria include; Bakalori, 13,557 hectares, Zamfara; Hadeja Valley, 6,000 hectares, Jigawa; and Kano River, 15,000 hectares, Kano, others are Dadin Kowa, 2,000 hectares; Middle Rima, 4,333 hectares; and Gari, 2,114 hectares water system plans arranged in Gombe; Sokoto and Kano/Jigawa state individually.

2. Improved Holding, Manufacturing, and Transportation Modes:

Advances in science and technology have made it easier to move farm goods throughout Nigeria. Transporting fish and meat in refrigerated trucks is one example. Chemicals are often employed to extend the life of crops. Farm storage is a significant part of farming in agriculture, this is because not all of the farm’s output is consumed or sold immediately. Other agricultural items must also be stored to be used as needed, as a result, farm storage is vital for the preservation of farm goods for future consumption. Types of farm storage include; barns, trenches storage system, silos system of storage, cribs method of storage, bags and sacks method of storage, and shelves storage system.

3. The Use of GIS Technology in Nigeria:

As fields depend on location, GIS software is becoming a very important tool for precision farming in Nigeria. Educated farmers can use GIS software to map current and future changes in rainfall, temperature, crops, plant health, and other variables. It also allows farmers to use GPS-based treatments with smart machines to optimize the application of fertilizers and pesticides; because they do not have to treat the whole field. Another significant advantage of GIS-based agriculture is the use of satellites and drones to obtain vital data from a bird’s eye view of plants, soil conditions, weather, and topography. Such information greatly increases the accuracy of decision-making in Nigerian agriculture, although GIS has been used in Nigeria for other uses, it has become an important tool in agriculture in Nigeria, and the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture has used GIS technology to improve agriculture in Nigeria. There are various GIS platforms used in Nigeria, including; ArcGIS, QGIS, and SAGA GIS are all utilized in agriculture in Nigeria.

  • Modern Drones usage in Nigeria:

Farmers may use drones to precisely quantify crop biomass, plant height, weed presence, and water saturation on specific field sections. Drones deliver better and more accurate data with higher clarity in resolution than satellites. When drones are handled locally, they offer critical information faster than scouts. Drones are also regarded as unequaled allies in the fight against insects; the invasion is avoided by spraying pesticides on the hazard areas with drones, all while decreasing the risk of chemical poisoning from direct contact. Even though of the fact that drones are easy to operate and can capture massive amounts of data in a short amount of time farmers in Nigeria still find it difficult to use GIS for precision in farming. Two types of drones are suited for agriculture: fixed-wing and multi-rotor drones. 

  • Better agricultural tools and equipment used:

Recently in Nigeria, the days of utilizing simple agricultural implements are long gone. Agriculture has become significantly slower and less productive as a result. Halos, manual fertilizer drills, combine harvesters, tractors, and manual planters are examples of machines that have helped boost output agricultural production in Nigeria, and also make farming operations in Nigeria a lot easier and faster, thereby creating a convenient and suitable way for farmers to engage in agricultural activities and promote the productivity of crops in Nigeria.

  • Soilless Farming:

Another modern agricultural invention employed in Nigeria is soilless farming, which involves dangling the roots of crops in the air and misting them. The process, which takes place in a controlled environment, has several advantages, including the fact that it uses very little water, energy, and manpower. Crops are also easy to harvest and pests are few. Plants may be grown without soil in soilless farming. Any method of growing plants without the need for soil as a rooting medium, in which the nutrients taken by the roots are given by irrigation water is classified as soilless farming, Hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics are examples of soilless agricultural systems used in Nigeria.

  • Soil and Water Sensors

Nigerian farmers have also employed soil and water sensors, which are critical in today’s agriculture. These sensors are durable, discreet, and affordable. Even smallholder farmers in Nigeria are finding that soil and water sensors are cost-effective not only to use, but also to deploy on their farms, and offer a variety of advantages. These sensors, for example, can monitor moisture and nitrogen levels, allowing the farm to use this information rather than relying on a pre-set schedule to determine when to irrigate and fertilize. This not only results in more efficient use of resources and cheaper costs but also contributes to the environmental sustainability of the farm by saving water.

  • Satellite Imagery:

Satellite imagery has become a veritable tool not just in environmental management both also in the management of natural resources and monitoring of agricultural products in Nigeria. They are many satellite imagery platforms used in Nigeria which are Land sat, ESRI imagines, and hyperspectral. Real-time crop imagery has become possible as remote satellite imaging has become more advanced. It’s not just bird’s-eye photos; these are photos with a resolution of up to 5 meters. the use of satellite imagery has allowed the farmer to observe the crops as if he/she were standing next to their farm, but without having to do so. Even a weekly aerial photo view can save the farmer a lot of time and money. This system/ remote sensing technique can also be linked to crop, soil, and water sensors, allowing farmers to receive reports as well as appropriate satellite photos when hazard thresholds are reached.

  • Weather Condition Monitoring:

Regardless of the way that we poke fun at our neighborhood meteorologists, automated weather conditions technologies are getting increasingly advanced. farmers utilize dedicated onboard and portable farm technologies, as well as mobile apps that run on almost any consumer smartphone, which are used to access internet weather services that are solely focused on agriculture. This technology can provide enough prior warning of frost, hail, and other weather events for farmers to make preparations to safeguard their crops or at the very least limit losses. The use of weather prediction platforms is very important in the Nigerian agricultural system, especially in the northern part of Nigeria, it can help farmers detect the weather system and how it may influence their crop production or their farm yield, as well as help farmers know what type of crops to grow in a particular period.

  1. Pervasive Automation and Biotechnology:

In the agricultural technology business, the term pervasive automation refers to any technology that minimizes operator load. Autonomous vehicles driven remotely via terminals, as well as high-precision navigation technologies such as RTK navigation systems that optimize seeding and fertilization routes, are examples. The ISOBUS standard has already been adopted by most agricultural equipment, putting us on the cusp of an agricultural reality where balers, tractors, and other agricultural equipment can communicate and even function in a plug-and-play fashion. Biotechnology in agriculture is another modern technology used in Nigeria and it is utilized in agriculture to boost plant growth and yields, increase pest and disease resistance, and improve the nutritional value in fact, biotechnology-derived chemicals are thought to be present in up to 80% of all processed foods today. Examples of biotechnology in agriculture range from genetically modified crops to the Sterile Pest Technique (SIT) for insect control on fruit trees and grapevines.

      It is important to note that the are many other advanced agricultural innovations and technology not been used in Nigeria, due to a lack of necessary funds to buy the latest agricultural technology used by developed countries all around the world, and another reason why Nigeria is also precedented with the shortage of modern agricultural technology is that Nigeria government shift their attention towards the use of crude oil, its exploration, exploitation, and importation of crude oil which it serves as the main source of income generation to the Nigerian economy.

Importance Of Agricultural Technology

Agricultural innovations and technologies have enormous benefits to the use of agriculture in Nigeria, during the prehistory, classical, and middle ages era of human existence, the method of farming involved the use of excessive effort, energy, and a lot of time consumption for the cultivation of crops and plants for man survival and these made agriculture in the ancient time a difficult task, due to lack of mechanized equipment to make agriculture more efficient, but now with the advancement of modern equipment in agriculture, it has made agriculture more efficient and easier to undertake all over the countries in the world with Nigeria not exempted, the use of modern technology has helped Nigeria in the production of large agricultural products with limited time and in an enormous quantity. 

 Agriculture technology provides several benefits which include;

• Agricultural innovations/technologies in Nigeria have increased crop yields and these in return have helped in the production of food crops and cash crops in large quantities in the country, thus making Nigeria the seventh-ranked in the most recent World Bank assessment of African nations’ agricultural and farming performance in the world.

• The use of agricultural innovations and technologies in Nigeria has helped the Natural environment to be less harmed since less water, fertilizer, and pesticides are needed, resulting in reduced food prices, therefore making the agricultural process in Nigeria much more Eco-friendly and less harmful to the environment leading to sustainability of the environment for the present and future generation.

• More worker-friendly amenities; less chemical discharge into rivers and groundwater. Thus, the use of agricultural technologies and innovations has helped improve the water quality in Nigeria due to less pollution of water bodies, therefore aiding in the protection of aquatic life from extinction.

• Agriculture in Nigeria has benefited from robotic technology through the use of drones and other sophisticated technologies for farm use. These technologies make monitoring and managing natural resources such as air and water quality easier. It also gives farmers more control over plant and animal production, processing, distribution, and storage.

In due course, it is important to note that Agriculture accounts for over 22% of Nigeria’s GDP and more than 90% of employment, with the potential to boost the country’s GDP by 21 trillion naira in three years. Because the Nigerian government, corporate sector, and computerized biological systems are all focused on agriculture, there is no better moment than today to begin investing in or practicing farming. Even investors are now supporting a wide range of agricultural activities. Agriculture is also a focus for social business organizations like the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Additionally, agriculture like practically every other aspect of our life today is being revolutionized by technological advancements. Agricultural production will arrive sooner, fresher, and more cost-effectively thanks to cutting-edge agricultural technologies being used recently. Finally, agricultural technology will become increasingly computerized shortly.

About Christopher Ezeadichie 3363 Articles
Ezeadichie Onyeka Michael is the Co-Founder of Haelsoft, a Professional Services Company in Nigeria that provides Information and Technology Services for small and big size companies in Nigeria(Africa). He is an Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist with Expertise in Web Technology and Digital Marketing. He has developed & Implemented Digital Marketing Strategies(Campaigns) for top brands across sectors in Finance, Telecommunication, Ecommerce who operate in the African market. His professional experience includes key roles at Google Business Group(Nigeria), Google Women on the Web (Nigeria), Edubridge Consultant and Wild Fusion where he has trained over 500 Entrepreneurs on how to use various Web Technology products to succeed online. Customer centricity, User Experience, Conversion optimization are 3 pronged framework he applies around the often-frenetic world of web analytics to ensure that clients stay competitive in the market. He believes that investing in talent is the key to long term success for brands across Nigeria (Africa).

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