The federal government has advocated for the use of drone technology to assess soil fertility in Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri stated this in a statement on Thursday, December 17, signed by the Ministry’s Chief Information Officer, Ezeaja Ikemefuna.
Shehuri who made this known during the opening ceremony of the Virtual 2020 Global Agricultural Technology Summit on Wednesday December 16, said that the use of drone technology will boost production across all commodities value chain of comparative advantage in the Agricultural sector.
He stated that the drone technology would be used to assess fertility of the soil, determine its suitability and forecast the harvest for any particular production enterprise including livestock and fisheries.
He said, ‘’ The use drone for technological driven precision farming to sensors to determine the critical moisture needs and fertilizer requirement to optimize our production and yield. These are untapped areas within Agricultural sector that should attract investment without further delay.
‘’The era of precision farming is around, there is no doubt that the drone play essential role that will take farming to a new level in a cost effective way.
‘’The small holder farmers contribute 80% to our total food supplies; a little above 32 million hectares are currently in use out of over 92 million hectares of arable land available. There is potential to expand agricultural production for more inclusive growth. We are able to record positive growth amidst Covid 19 Pandemic, even though the growth is sluggish it shows the resilience of the sector that is capable of providing platform for safe Investment.
‘’Investment opportunities in Agriculture are diverse in Crops such as Rice, Maize, Sorghum, Wheat, Yams, Cassava, Potatoes and Gingers. Other commodities of economic interest include crops such as Oil Palm, Rubber, Cocoa, Cashew, Sugarcane, Sesame and Cowpea. The Livestock and Fishery are other areas that are attractive for investors.’’
Shehuri noted that the unique position of Nigeria as the biggest market in Africa especially in African Food Supplies Chain is an opportunity that a potential investor can leverage on for high yielding return on investment within a short period of time.
”The environment and climate for investors has improved considerably; the global ranking of Nigeria on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business has moved upward to No 131 and by 2023 we will attain No 70’’.
’This is attributed to robust incentive schemes provided to attract investors by the Federal Government of the Republic of Nigeria. According to him, the schemes include Pioneer Status, Ease of Registering Business Names, Tax Holiday, etc.; for the investors who may target export crops, there are attractions such as Export Development Fund and Export Adjustment to fund commitment and easy repatriation of export proceeds to investors’ designation. Genuine investors are welcome and can always take an advantage of Visa on Arrival Policy’’.
‘’the Ministry has the goal to achieve Food Security, Economic diversification and Job creation for an inclusive growth.
”These are goals for many of us from developing countries of the World where Agriculture is the mainstay of Economy. The Global World population is 7.7 billion people and by the end of year 2025, it is projected to hit 8.0 billion; this is a challenge that can aggravate hunger, malnutrition and poverty across the Globe. The low income countries are particularly vulnerable and this include Nigeria,” the Minister said.
Daily Times gathered that the 2020 Global Agricultural Technology Summit has other speakers inclusive of the Minister of Science , Technology and Innovation, Malaysia, Honourable YB Khairy Jamaluddin, Chairman, Global Agritech Summit ,Mr. Dailan Muhammad Ravi, Group Chief Executive Officer ,Aerodyne, Mr. Kamarulzaman Muhammed among others