Anambra state, located in South-Eastern Nigeria, is better known the world over for it’s industrial prowess, multiple small/medium enterprises in the City of Nnewi, and of course the popular Onistha market located on the banks of the River Niger.

How about the agricultural sector?

Well, according to Afam Mbanefo, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing and Export in Anambra, the digitisation of the state’s agriculture sector has helped to address challenges in the value chain.

Mbanefo disclosed this at the Big Data Business Conference held in Lagos, where he talked on the topic: ”Disrupting Agricultural
Value Chain Development Through Data Analytics: The Anambra Story.’’

The commissioner added that data convergence would be the next phase in development that would sustain the economy and so the need for agricultural sector to key into it.

“Digitisation in the last mile of agricultural value chain that allows agribusiness to address a wide array of business challenges with respect to value drivers of operational excellence, supply chain orchestration and transparency.

“Productivity and gains in efficiency can also be achieved with the help of automation like self-driving tractors, irrigation, farming
and regulated production environment.

“Supply chain orchestration can be improved through platforms that better links buyers and sellers and all these, if well implemented,
will help the value chain.”

Mbanefo said that adopting digitisation in agriculture sector would help to tackle the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stipulation
that by 2030, food demand would increase by 50 per cent and population by 10 billion.

He stressed the need for government to evolve predictive and efficient strategy to tackle the FAO statistics as regards fighting hunger.

Technology at play

He explained that in Anambra, the government developed platforms and apps for farmers, where their challenges would be addressed, adding that data in agriculture would be instrumental not just for farmers who produced but for various stakeholders along the agriculture food chain.

“The e-Agriculture platform serves as a hub for data collection, communication, information management and analysis.

“The mobile app is used in publishing information that will enable farmers to know what exists in the sector.

“Data has enabled the platform to be a bankable one and a commodity exchange one and with the identification number given, farmers can easily have access to them,” he said.

He listed the benefits of the platform to also include: guide to investors, know how many farmers are in the state and what they produce, their locations, gender participation, age and educational level of the farmers.

He added that the mobile app was used in developing target strategic plans for the years’ development plan.

Data impact

He said that having all these data enabled the state government to tackle challenges of operational excellence, supply chain, transparency using technology and having good and effective policies.

The commissioner said that data also enabled the government to break gaps by developing tools that would attract youths to go into agriculture, adopt technology trainings and have sustainable development plans for every value chain.

The conference was to bring leading big data and business analytics across sub-Sahara Africa together to discuss ways businesses could take advantage of their data intellectual property to make informed business decisions.

It is also a means of urging business leaders and policy makers to shift from making intuition-based decisions to making data-driven decisions that align with organisation strategies for the growth and development of businesses.

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