Agriculture continues to be the foundation and bedrock of the Nigerian economy. Over 35% of Nigerians make their living and main occupation from subsistence agriculture. It is the way millions of citizens feed their families, and gain income from selling their produce at local markets.
Nigeria’s agricultural sector is not advanced and is mostly based off small and scattered farms across the rural areas. Large commercial farms are few and far between, but the trend is leaning towards a new approach to farming in Nigeria, and Agrictech is taking centre stage.
What is Agritech?
Simply put, Agritech (agriculture+technology) refers to the use of technology to aid in the production, yield, efficiency and profitability in agriculture.
This technology can range from the simple use of automated irrigation set-ups to the use of drones and robotics to analyze and record processes and progression in the planting, growing and harvesting cycles.
This relatively new approach is being readily embraced by Nigerian farmers because it has the potential to improve yields significantly which will lead to better profits, better efficiency and greater exposure.
There is also a big push from government organization, the private sector and NGO’s to optimize this sector to improve the production of agriculture produce which will lead to the country being able to feed its own people and also be a leading exporter of produce in the region.
Agritech Start-Ups are Surging in Nigeria
Agrictech in Nigeria has been getting a lot of attention of late and many of the sprouting companies are competing for funding that seems to be readily available. Investors and venture capitalist companies seem eager to dump money into Agritech start-ups with the bet that they will reap a heavy return.
This is due to the huge up-side that Agritech holds. It is a relatively untapped sector, that is now heating up and getting a bit crowded.
Benefits of Agritech in Nigeria
Since most farming is done on a very small scale in Nigeria and mostly by the hands of rural people, there is vast room to improve efficiencies with relative ease and minimal capital outlay. A small operation may start with just a couple tractors, computers, irrigation tracks and a drone – this could be the foundation that can sprout a huge commercial farm.
- Low capital needed to start
- Training and tech-support readily available
- Funding available from local and foreign sources
- Cheap labour available by locals
- Increased produce output
For the common person, Agritech in Nigeria may sound complicated and expensive, but in reality it can be approached from a simple perspective. Use basic technology to help improve your farms yield. This involves tracking, documenting, researching and introducing new harvesting practices.
You do not need to purchase several hectares of land to begin – use what you have. Even if it is your backyard or small family farm. Understand the current methods of farming and learn as much as you can. After a few months you can now begin to lay the framework for new methods and new technologies.
The simple use of a cheap drone, can drastically change the way you see and understand the landscape surrounding your farm. You will be able to monitor, track and see what happens in all sections of your farm from hundreds of meters away. You will not have to trek the entire farm to understand what is going on. Drones can even be used to spray fertilizer and pesticides.
Harness the Power of the Internet
- Research local pests and diseases
- Understand the best planting and harvesting cycles
- Learn from your elders – those who have farmed for years know a lot!
- Watch YouTube – you will find millions of videos
Knowledge is everywhere. Especially on the internet. There is no reason why Nigerians should not be utilizing it to their fullest ability. We are told to go to school to become doctors , lawyers and engineers. They do not mention farming. Nigeria needs more efficient farmers. Nigeria is blessed with very fertile soil, temperatures and many other natural resources.
There is no shame in becoming a farmer. Agritech makes it cool. We learned about a young lady in Northern Nigeria, who at the young age of 24 owns and runs a very successful vegetable farm.
Watch this linked video to see how she did it. She started small, and used local labour to help with plantings and harvesting. She learned from her mistakes and uses simple technology to improve her yield.
The Sky is the Limit
Take advantage of the surge in the agritech in Nigeria and realize that farming can become a viable and lucrative endeavor that can generate income, jobs and a sense of pride.
There are many agric NGO’s that love to help “budding” farmers and entrepreneurs. Network with like minded folks and share knowledge and best practices amongst yourselves.
Each new farmer that embraces technology will slowly help Nigeria feed herself, her neighbors, Africa, and the world.