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How to drive Public Policy Formulation in Agriculture Sector

Over the next 5 years, I look forward to a widespread application of technology to the Food and Agriculture sector. One of such application is in the form of Precision Agriculture (PA) and PA is a model of making Agriculture more profitable, efficient and sustainable towards achieving the sustainable goals two of the United Nations which is to end hunger, achieve food security and nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030.

Precision Agriculture is climate-smart and it relies upon specialized equipment, software and IT services such as GPS, mobile devices, robotics, sensors, internet of things, variable rate technology, computer based applications, remote sensing technology. It makes the practice of farming more accurate and controlled.

As climate change continues to take a toll on my country, Nigeria making the climate largely unpredictable with accompanying effects such as erratic rainfall, desertification, above average temperature etc., Precision Agriculture will help the almost 200 million Nigerians meet their domestic food needs and even create an export-led economy.

The country has had its worst hit of recession since 2016 and it is increasing its efforts to diversify its monolithic petroleum based economy to a cash-crop export led economy and she cannot achieve this by depending on traditional agricultural methods as often practiced in the Global South, she needs to leverage on the advancements of the Global North technologically to deal with the huge hunger prevalence and malnutrition that plaques her.

Public policy offers an interesting start point for effecting the change I envisage in the food sector in Nigeria and in my opinion, the way to go is to engage in high quality and relevant multi-method research and seek for veritable windows to position this evidence or fact-based research for the sake of informing policy making.

Upon engaging in quality researches, it is pertinent to raise an army of committed volunteers to be engaged in advocacy campaigns through various outlets, one of such is our invaluable start-up, MyFarmBase Africa (myfarmbase.com.ng) to educate Nigerians on the need to get the government to catalyse funding into the Agriculture technology ecosystem and create a safe space for innovative start-ups to sprout and thrive in different cities in Nigeria.

The essence of our involvement in public policy design is very critical to improve the transparency, quality and effectiveness of the policies. We can work with state agencies involved with Agricultural policy design, secure international donors in our activities towards funding our projects geared at influencing policy framework of the Agrictech industry.

We can also explore available tools including and not limited to social media, celebrity endorsements, lobbying, writing of letters, town hall meetings as a means for political persuasion. This is because I recognise that political will power is an imperative to strengthen the agritech startup ecosystem. This efforts can cascade into the setup of innovation hub for incubating Agritech Start-ups in all states in the federation and provision of startup fund to support successfully incubated ideas to go on to solve the key hunger and malnutrition problems that we have in Nigeria.

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