By Ayobami Ife, Abeokuta
An IT expert, Oluseun Onigbinde, has made case for the use of Artificial Intelligence(AI), Big data and other technologies to boost food production, ensure food security and minimize cost of farming in Nigeria.
Onigbinde who is an Electrical/Electronics engineer and Director, BudgIT, said that while Nigeria treats agriculture as the silver bullet for employment, he warned that the future of agriculture will no longer be a mass- labour hiring vehicle, citing the United States where less than 2% of her labour force is engaged in agriculture, yet the country produced over $307.4 billion of output as of 2020.
And noting with concern that there is no such example to draw from in Nigeria, he wondered if there was anybody building a cutting-edge technology to transform the country’s agriculture sector and leapfrog it into the post-modern world.
“While Nigeria treats agriculture as the silver bullet for employment, it is pertinent to know that the future of agriculture will not be a mass-hiring vehicle. Less than 2% of the US Labour force is involved in agriculture, producing over $307.4 billion of output as of 2020.
“In fact, the proportion of workers in food
production in China decreased steadily from 60% in 1991 to 25% in 2019,” he said.
He, however, submitted that the future of agriculture rests on automation and the intuitive use of data to generate insights at a machine level, urging the next administration and other critical stakeholders to move towards using
AI, big data, blockchain and other technological means to drive the nation’s agric-economy.
Onigbinde spoke on Saturday while delivering a lecture at the 25th Annual Convention and 24th Annual Lecture Series of the Alumni Association of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He argued that technologies have the capability to transform the agriculture industry by enabling farmers to make more informed decisions about crop management, improve crop yields, and reduce waste among other benefits.
He said, “if agriculture is to become a business and to make meaning in our lives, it must be at the forefront of
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize the agricultural industry, which has been a primary source of food and livelihood for centuries. AI technology can increase crop yields, reduce waste, and help farmers make better decisions, increasing efficiency and
“The impact of AI on agriculture can be seen in various aspects, ranging from crop management to livestock care, from supply chain management to precision agriculture.”
Highlighting the importance of
Big data in agricultural revolution, Onigbinde noted that it has the potential to revolutionise agriculture by enabling farmers to make more informed
decisions and optimize their operations.
He said, “by collecting and analyzing large amounts of data, farmers can gain insights into everything from soil health and weather patterns to crop yields and
“Blockchain technology on its part, can enable smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts, with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller directly written into lines of code, stressing that this can automate processes and reduce the need for intermediaries, increasing efficiency
and reducing costs.
“Farmers can collect and analyze data from sensors, satellites, and drones with Artificial Intelligence to determine
their crops’ best course of action. AI algorithms can help farmers identify areas of their land that need more or less water, fertilizer, or other materials. This information enables farmers to use resources more efficiently and make more informed decisions.
“Big data analytics can create
precision farming techniques, such as precision irrigation and planting. This allows farmers to optimize resources like water and fertilizer and increase crop yields. By using sensors to monitor soil moisture levels, farmers can adjust
irrigation systems to deliver water only where and when needed, reducing water waste and improving crop yields.
“Precision farming can predict the optimal time to harvest crops based
on crop maturity and weather conditions using sensors and machine learning algorithms.This can help farmers to maximize crop yields and reduce waste. Big data analytics can analyse data from sensors, GPS, and other sources to monitor crop yields.
“This information can help farmers identify areas of the field performing well or poorly and make informed decisions about crop management. Overall, precision farming can help farmers optimize crop production, reduce waste, and improve sustainability by leveraging technology to collect and analyze data on crop growth, soil health, and weather conditions.
“Big data can help farmers predict weather patterns and other environmental factors affecting
their crops. This information can help with adjusting planting schedules and making other management decisions”.
“Big data can be used to optimise the supply chain, from tracking inventory levels to predicting demand for different crops. This can help farmers reduce waste and increase profitability.”
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