Food is one of the basic needs of man and in popular parlance, a hungry man is an angry man. According to FAO (2021), agriculture employs about two-thirds of the entire labor force in Nigeria and is the highest non-oil export. Despite these facts, the performance of the sector is stifled by production hurdles which have led to a rise in food imports (FMARD, 2008).
Some of the production issues include overdependence on rainfall for farming, smallholder land holding, poor quality of farm input, poor record-keeping, inadequate knowledge of market intelligence, weak extension service system, and post-harvest losses.
Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava but Africa’s largest consumer and importer of rice, both of which staple foods. The country also performs poorly in livestock development as it cannot produce enough protein products to meet the protein needs of individuals and allied industries. Livestock production is hampered by low productive breeds, inadequate access to feeds and grazing lands, frequent farmer-herders conflict, unavailability of processing facilities, and low technical knowledge of animal management.
All of these shortfalls call for a consensus shift from the usual methods of farming to a smart way of farming which will ensure, maximizing the little available resources to enhance crop and livestock production through well-thought-out farm management practices. Attempts like this should be welcomed in the wake of present realities such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic which has ushered in a new normal in every aspect of our existence.
Also, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, human mobility has been greatly restricted, which makes it difficult for farmers to continue their routine farming process. Introducing the concept of backyard farming (family farming) will be a veritable way to coping and ameliorating the problem of food crises which is in line with the non-pharmaceutical guidelines for COVID-19. Through backyard farming, families can be involved in crop and animal production and not leaving it to only the farmers.
This proposed training is focused on enlightening key stakeholders such as the staff of Agri-based research institutes, agricultural consultants, extension officers, and grow-out farmers on modern techniques that can smartly enhance food production. Some of those techniques include; aquaponics, hydroponics, smart water management, digital farming, market intelligence, the concept of produce to product, the use of enterprise resource planning application to managing farming operations; a good example is the ‘asmartfarm’ app developed by McGeorge Consulting Ltd.
At the end of the training, participants will be able to:
1. start a smart farm within three months after the training;
2. apply the knowledge acquired during the training on existing farms within three months after training;
3. train at least 50 other farmers each within twelve months after the training; and
4. identify lessons learned during implementation of knowledge gained within twelve months.
— Smart Agriculture Development
— Digital Farming: The Future of Agriculture (to include ICT and Crop Protection)
— Innovations in Livestock Farming
— Concept of Family Farming (Backyard Farming)
— Concept of Produce to Products (Value Chain Development)
— Hydroponics, Aquaponics, and Smart Water Management
— Improving Farm Resilience through Record Keeping
— The Use of ERP Apps such as ‘asmartfarm’ for Farm Management
— Health and Safety Considerations in Agriculture
— Gender Inclusion in Agriculture
— Practical Sessions (Aquaponics, Hydroponics, Smart Water Management, deploying and using ERPs, smart livestock management).
— Visit a Smart Farm.
The Cashew Value Chain Project is a software solution designed to address identified constraints relating to cashew development in Nigeria and West Africa, and it helps the Government, Lead Farmers, SHFs and the public to development strategies of poverty reduction, food security and agricultural diversification. Cashew is highly value. The project is to acquaint stakeholders in this value-chain on how to contribute to the reduction of rural poverty by concentrating its support on small-scale cashew producers and processors. This would increase the production and revenue base for the rural poor and with it the production of many raw materials for industrial development and export the data collected by the application. The project encompasses the following components namely:
— Production Development
— Extension and Training;
— Book Keeping
— Bankability or Access to funding