14 March 2018

Nigeria: 80% of Farmers Old, Slow in Technology Compliance - CFI

Photo: PHOTOESSAY: How a Housemaid Defied Odds to Become a Model Farmer

Agnes Nyinawumuntu, a former housemaid is today a model coffee farmer in Rukara, Kayonza District. From a 10 hactare coffee farm, she earns millions and employs dozens of people, New Times reports.

Nigeria's agriculture needs more involvement of the youth as the majority of farmers are old and slow in technology compliance, Cooperate Farmers International (CFI) has said.

Mr Akinwale Alabi, Co-founder of CFI, said on Wednesday in Lagos that 80 per cent of Nigerian farmers were digital immigrants (elderly people) with only 40 per cent technology-compliance.

Alabi spoke in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.

"The remaining 20 per cent are young farmers with 90 per cent acceptability of technology; there is this excitement about technology and farming among them,"he said.

Akinwale said that Nigeria was growing slowly in agricultural technology.

"Technology has helped to solve a lot of problems ranging from accessing bank facility to gauging the quantity of rain needed in a soil for a particular plant.

"With innovation, some many people and banks are beginning to see light in agriculture.

"Although, it is slow, it is beginning to grow gradually; there is no much investment right now, but it will soon pick up," he said.

Alabi said that all the equipment and innovations in place for agricultural technology were health-friendly.

He noted that the younger farmers adapted to technology fast, and expressed the hope that older ones would soon increase their pace of adaptation to technology.

The CFI co-founder told newsmen that training and exposure would enable old farmers to move forward I agricultural technology. "Apart from training, there is the need for awareness or knowledge sharing platform where farmers can come together and assess their performances based on the use of a particular technology.

"The essence is: let the farmers see agriculture beyond farming."

He emphasised the need for funding agricultural technology.

"For farmers to go into agricultural technology, there is the need for funds but arrangements are in place for farmers to access loans.

"We are working with stakeholders to channel an avenue where we can create massive funds to let people start seeing the benefits of agriculture through technology.

"If you have funds, you can have a farm enterprise, " *He told newsmen.

He hailed research institutes especially the International Institute of Tropical Agruculturr (IITA) for ensuring that agriculture was not left out in technology.

"It is a gradual process.

"By the time we get there properly, then you know that agriculture is big, " he said.



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