From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, has recorded another first by being the first city in Nigeria that played host to the first agricultural electronic centre in Nigeria towards changing the digital-data narrative of Africa’s agricultural system.
The centre was officially inaugurated by the state governor, Seyi Makinde, during a ceremony held at the international headquarters of FarmKonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Plc, at Bashorun, Ibadan. Apart from the electronic centre, the headquarters also hosts
Ibadan had recorded many firsts in Nigeria and Africa, by being the first city to host the first university in Nigeria – University of Ibadan, first television station in Africa – Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), first skyscraper in Nigeria – Cocoa House, and so on.
The ceremony was witnessed by dignitaries, including Chief of Staff to the Oyo State governor, Chief Bisi Ilaka, who represented Governor Makinde; Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security in Ekiti State, Dr. Olabode Adetoyi, and his counterpart in Osun State, Mr. Adedayo Adewole; Head of Sub-Saharan Agribusiness in Africa for International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Debo Akande, who is the Director-General, Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA); South West Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Marcus Ogunbiyi; and Chief Executive Officer of FarmKonnect, Azeez Oluwole.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), commercial banks, and international community were also represented by powerful delegations at the ceremony, which showcased how to address food insecurity in the country, by moving into the next phase of modern day agriculture, which is practice of precision agriculture and climate-smart farming towards driving food security and nutrition through real estate of modern technologies and methodologies to eradicate hunger.
Speaking on the occasion, Makinde, who lauded the company for coming up with ideas that can help to eradicate hunger, promised that his administration would ensure creation of conducive atmosphere for private sector to thrive in the state. He added that FarmKonnect has shown that one can actually live in Nigeria and with a click of button get already demarcated farmland in other parts of Africa and beyond.
He noted that farmers have always had challenges with aggregation, storage, and transportation of their goods. He said the ideas brought by FarmKonnect would bridge the gaps, apart from catering for farmers that do not have bank accounts and would also encourage collective farming, instead of the age-long practice of farming in isolation.
The South West Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Marcus Ogunbiyi, commended FarmKonnect, saying the company is executing the three vision of the ministry in revolutionising agricultural practice in Nigeria. In the same vein, the Director-General of OYSADA, Dr. Debo Akande, said: “I believe this is the first of its kind in the whole of Nigeria.”
The CEO of FarmKonnect, Azeez Oluwole, noted: “It is high time we looked towards deliberate and aggressive collaborative investments into food security. Food insecurity will lead to scarcity, scarcity breeds conflict, conflict is the father of war. We may build other sectors as safety nests, but if hunger takes away our security, the safety nest will be plundered.”