What is ICT?
ICT (Information and communication technology) is an umbrella term that include any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and e.t.c, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such videoconferences and distance learning . ICTs are always involving and has been contributing immensely in Agriculture. Appropriate application of ICTs will help any organizations and nations in development plans. The application of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in agriculture is increasingly important in Nigeria. If ICTs are fully utilized in agriculture field , traditional knowledge could be improved and farmers could benefit from it.
ICT has created more awareness over the years and still creating more by getting farmers even those at the grass root level vital information needed to promote and market their produce, prices: fall and rises of market produce, weather information e.t.c this were able to achieve by introduction of cell phone to the farmers. According to the statement extracted from one of the article of Nigeria’s minister of agriculture Professor Akinwunmi Adesina , stated: “The national bureau of statistic has estimated the number of farmers in Nigeria to be 14 million. The FAO also has reported a similar number. From the result of our sampling which showed that 71% of the farmers do not have any phone, we can project to larger population of 14 million and arrive at an estimate of 10 million farmers who probably do not have phone”. Lots of significant change has been made over the years. Farmer now have access to first hand information with the help of mobile phone.
ICT can transform Nigeria’s agriculture in different ways because it can go a long way in making agriculture more reckoned with and acceptable among the Nigerian youth and people in the world at large. ICT has the ability to remodernize and repackage the way agricultural activities is being carried out and also has the ability of changing the perception of Nigerian youths by making it look cool and more sophisticated.
Some of the ways ICT will or can transform Nigeria’s agriculture are:
Publicity: The world is now fast becoming a global village whereby you can be in Nigeria and yet participating in an ongoing events in France or Canada, events such as : Agricultural conferences or seminar, symposium, workshop, summit e.t.c. All these can be done in real time with internet aided facilities with which Nigeria’s farmers that are well informed and enlightened can benefit from it, by so doing other farmers at the rural community level can also get trained by the enlightened ones, they can as well put it into practice at their various levels. Social media has really been of help during our generation, I always say that our generation is blessed and more opportune; we are well informed than any previous generations that have ever been in existence. Twitter, Facebook,Google+,wordpress,blogs, all these are vital mode of sharing information that has a lot to do in transforming agriculture in Nigeria and in the world at large. ICT is a vital tools in agricultural publicity simply because the two goes hand in hand for a transformation, it’s a two ways phenomenon.
GPS Innovation: ICT can help immensely in agriculture transformation and one of the various ways is the innovation and usage of GPS (Global Positioning System), the use of the GPS makes practical a systematic sampling of an agricultural field of any size or shape. With portable software, so that soil sample may be taken. With systematic soil samples, the appropriate amount of fertilizer can be applied to different part of the field. The use of the GPS can easily pay for it self in the cost of saving on fertilizer and other chemicals. Once crop is planted, the same GPS guided procedure can be used to survey the plant disease or insect. Data on field size and needs size can be collected and available computer software used to calculate the materials list for the treatment of the field.
Data Storage: This is another way ICT can transform agriculture, keeping the records of agricultural produce goes beyond manual handling sometimes, data add a powerful dimension to agriculture. Livestock is a good example of data storage: keeping the data of animals, birth rate , mortality rate , till the time day grow for sales will help in detailing running cost of Agricultural produce, this process can be carried out by using software packages like: Microsoft word, Microsoft excel, Microsoft Access e.t.c.
Agriculture and rural transformations are key development strategy for south west states in particular and Nigeria in general. Nigeria has a vast rural community with majorly unsophisticated base. Therefore, ICT becomes vital key in other to foster development and transform agriculture to make it more admirable among the youths. This implies that if the rural communities must not be left behind in the effort to creating knowledgeable society in which ICT becomes key to socio-economy development, there is the need now, to bridge the gap in the digital divide in information technology aimed at building capacity of rural dwellers to enhance agriculture and rural transformation.