The Nigerian government has revealed plans to distribute around 10 million mobile phones to farmers in the country, in order to boost agricultural practice and crop production.
This was revealed yesterday (Wednesday) by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ibukun Odusote, speaking at Igan-Ipabi in the Ijebu-East Local Government Area of Ogun state, South Western Nigeria.
With the distribution of mobile phones to farmers, she said agricultural production in Nigeria would receive a major boost. She also described the intervention as a vital aspect of the various steps the ministry is taking to ensure there is food security in Africa’s most populated country.
“As part of the electronic-wallet which we are promoting, the handsets will be the tool with which we will communicate to farmers in the rural areas. Deep into the interiors, we will be able to communicate with them. We are actually working with the Ministry of Communication Technology, so they are talking to the network providers. They will extend their networks into rural areas where normally they will say there is no economic viability,” Odusote said.
She also stated the mobile phones are intended to be distributed to farmers at the grassroots hence network providers are required to improve upon their service coverage.
She added: “The Federal Government will be putting some support into this; they will go into the hinterlands and expand their network so that we can have access.”
The mobile phones will be procured directly from the manufacturers, some of whom have already expressed their preparedness to collaborate with the agriculture ministry on the project which is expected to be flagged off before the end of the first quarter.