By Adeola Badru
A leading agri-business expert, Azeez Oluwole, is set to launch Africa’s first agricultural electronic centre in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, in his efforts to change the digital-data narrative of Africa’s agricultural system.
Oluwole, the Chief Executive Officer of FarmKonnect Agribusiness Nigeria, while unavailing the plans at the weekend, during a press conference, said he has concluded arrangements to begin the operation of the first Agricultural Electronic Extension Service Centre on African soil in Ibadan, Nigeria.
He said the Agricultural Electronic Centre, aims at promoting agriculture in Nigeria and Africa at large, by producing a generation of smart farmers who are data-conscious and can make data-driven decisions in their respective endeavours in the agricultural value chains.
Oluwole disclosed that the two components of the initiative are FarmKonnect Agricultural Electronic extension Service Centre (FAgEX) and FarmKonnect Institute for Data and Agricultural Studies (FIDAS).
He noted that both efforts have the specific goal to provide input services to stakeholders in the agricultural value chains through Information Technology, training, research and business/professional consulting.
According to the CEO, the initiative was an integral part of the company’s mission to glamourize agricultural practices in Africa and contribute to food security and nutrition through the agricultural real estate of modern technologies and methodologies.
He said: “FarmKonnect Agricultural Electronic Extension Service Centre (FAgEX) is established with the intent to accelerate controlled environment farming practices in Africa. Leveraging modern technologies such as satellite imagery, drones, electro-optic systems, global positioning system, geographic information system, on-site sensors, etc.”
“FAgEX will enable us to monitor and receive live feeds from all our farms and greenhouses anywhere in Africa. With this initiative, we can also control certain operations such as irrigation and humidification remotely. This is first of its kind on African soil.”
While speaking on the institute for data and agribusiness studies, Oluwole, a retired Naval Commander said: “Apart from setting up new systems or creating enabling environments for digital agriculture in Africa, there is also a need to improve human capacity by increasing digital-data learning of farmers in the continent.”
“Hence, FIDAS is established primarily to increase knowledge and skills acquisition of stakeholders in the demand and supply sides as well as the business, dimensions of the agricultural value chain. This initiative will help businesses, individuals and government to capture inherent values in data and insights towards tailored value delivery in the demand and supply sides of the agricultural value chain.”
“It will also raise more business-oriented professional farmers through classrooms and field exposure to modern agribusiness practices.”
“The vision of FIDAS is to enhance the use of smart processes, people and technologies for data and insights generation that help stakeholders make an informed decision towards responsible production and achieving food security in Africa by 2030 and beyond, while the mission is to contribute to the quality and data-driven workforce that can help Africa to transition into a new path in the digital data economy.”
“It aims to enhance quality research in the agriculture industry as well as help young entrepreneurs, emerging business leaders and professionals to understand inherent values of big data and data analytics in the industry,” he said.