Agricultural Extension revolves around dissemination of innovations to relevant consumers-with farmers heading this end-users’ group. Innovations vary in Agriculture, and their adoptions are dependent on a whole lot of factors but the most important thing is that communication must be very clear and lucid. The place of Agriculture in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized. Especially given that rural farmers account for the greater part of the population. Despite these, the farmers also tend to lack access to the basic knowledge and information that would help them achieve maximum agricultural yield. Here comes Nasir Yammama, an agricultural innovator that is using mobile phones to bring agricultural information to rural farmers.
Nasir: Bright Sparks and Innovativeness
Nasir hails from Malumfashi, in Katsina state. He attended Government Secondary School, Minna, Niger state, from where he won many IT competitions both locally and across the globe. In his teens, he won Digital Peers International ‘Digitest’, a youth competition aimed at showcasing digital excellence among youth (Abuja, Singapore and Dubai). He also represented Nigeria and won first place in interdisciplinary category in Mtandao Afrika, an IT youth camp and contest for all African nations in Cairo, Egypt.
Nasir: Verdant AgriTech and Solution Provision for Rural Farmers
Nasir Yammama created Verdant AgriTech – a social enterprise created to support rural farmers with mobile technologies for sustainable farming and improved food production. Verdant is an AgriTech value chain company that offers solutions to support farmers and other stakeholders for improved food production using novel technologies. They aim at providing agricultural extension market information, managerial support, and access to markets & financial services to rural farmers with unique mobile technologies. For farmers in Nigeria, this technology is game-changing. It offers them a way to receive the most productivity out of their land and resources. Many farmers who are more skeptical about relying on technological sources for their products seem to lack the full potential that their crops could produce.
Verdant offers personalised agricultural information and market intelligence to crop farmers in Nigeria through a mobile application that acts as an all-round companion for the farmer from the pre-planting period to harvest and beyond. Using low-end phones, SMS and voice services, rural farmers can easily interact with the system. This eliminates the need for them to be tech savvy or to have a smart phone; and at the same time, provides job opportunities for those that will serve as administrators.
Nasir had this to say as regards his inspiration for Verdant Agri-Tech:
“The inspiration for Verdant was initially sentimental. My father was a farmer and I always wanted to be involved in Agriculture, despite having gone into Computing. I just happened to be around at a time when the world needed innovations in Agriculture. I observed the global environmental and food crisis that had arisen over the past few decades, particularly across Africa. I figured that I could employ my skills in building technical solutions and apply them to agricultural development, as opposed to any other industry or phenomena.”
Some of the features of Nasir’s app include parameters for:
- Land: which gives an overview of field maps, historical reports, GPS tracking, field navigation and soil sampling grids for the farmer’s usage.
- Crop: which enables farmers find seed varieties with traits that are adapted to their soil type and maturity zone. It also offers a custom seed guide tailored to their specific geography and crops.
- Maturity: which measures the maturity of a crop by viewing current and past growing degree days’ data for a specific farm’s location.
- Pest Control: which provides weed management recommendations by region and crop type. Also, recommends pesticides, insecticides and directions of their application.
- Harvest and beyond: which enables the farmers record full history of crops from when they are sown through to harvest; record chemical and fertilizer use, including type, rate, and date applied; and keep track of machinery maintenance. The app then offers access to nearby agro-industries, news, quotes, prices, markets information and tips.
Using their access to scientific data and a partnership with financial institutions and even governments, Verdant intends to turn information into insights for the farmers and present it to them in a convenient manner that will enable precise decision making on the farm and also offer them unique services like access to market, agricultural credit, index insurance and warehousing so as to get more productivity and value out of their farming and thereby guarantee food security and improve living standards. Verdant brings together all the stakeholders and major players in the agricultural value chain as well as the overall industry under one platform. This involves the farmer, buyers & agro-industries, research agencies, governments and financial institutions.
Nasir’s passion for Nigeria’s agricultural development has taken him to unexpected heights – from being mentored by world-renowned business tycoon, Sir Richard Branson, to landing on the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list for 2017 – and he is just getting started.
Featured image source: ha.rfi.fl