NITDA, USAID Unite to Combat Food Insecurity

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With a staggering 70 million arable acres, capable not only of sustaining Nigeria but the entire African continent, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) expressed the Agency’s eagerness to collaborate with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other stakeholders in addressing food insecurity in Nigeria.

The Director General conveyed this commitment while welcoming representatives from USAID, led by Josh Woodard, Senior Digital Advisor at the Bureau for Resilience, Environment, and Food Security, to the Agency’s Headquarters in Abuja. Their visit aimed to conduct a swift appraisal of Nigeria’s digital agriculture landscape and explore avenues for partnership with NITDA.

Inuwa remarked, “President Tinubu has made bolstering agriculture to achieve food security a top priority, and at NITDA, our mandate extends beyond just formulating the National IT Policy. It encompasses leveraging IT to enhance productivity across all critical sectors, including agriculture.”

“This is why we undertake numerous initiatives to develop an agriculture strategy with IT at its core, making it an appealing venture for the younger generation,” he elaborated.

Inuwa outlined that NITDA has identified six emerging technologies that will play a pivotal role in achieving food security in Nigeria. He stated, “We are currently conducting an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy co-creation workshop, collaborating with various stakeholders to devise a strategy for AI implementation in agriculture, health, education, and more.

“We are exploring the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) in agriculture, encompassing crop monitoring, soil management, precision irrigation, climate surveillance, and livestock monitoring.

“The utilization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for pest detection, water management, yield evaluation, and more is also underway.

“Additionally, we are exploring the potential of Blockchain technology for farm produce traceability, record-keeping, and quality assurance.

“Our endeavors in Robotics aim to enhance agricultural productivity through automation of physical farm processes such as weeding, harvesting, and tractor operations.

“Furthermore, we are harnessing additive manufacturing to revolutionize the agricultural sector’s manufacturing capabilities, producing bespoke crop and soil monitoring devices, among other innovations.”

In highlighting NITDA’s dedication to fostering Nigeria’s digital ecosystem, Inuwa referenced the recent launch of the Nigeria Startup Portal, which has already attracted over 12,000 registrations. He shared plans to label these startups, granting them access to incentives.

Josh Woodard of USAID affirmed that the meeting sought to gain insight into Nigeria’s digital farming endeavors, with the aim of enhancing the integration of digital technology in agriculture.

He disclosed that USAID, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, recently unveiled the Global Food Security Strategy for Nigeria (2024 -2029), underscoring their commitment to collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure food security in Nigeria.

Discussions during the meeting centered on the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA), its achievements, expansion plans, and the invitation extended to USAID to participate in these initiatives.

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