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The Ogun state government has disclosed its plan in creating an Agricultural Technology and Innovation Lab so as to have an ecosystem for development of the agritech sector.
The government met with the Program Director of the PLANT Project to discuss partnership on how to establish the lab so they can develop the agritech sector under the Ogun state “Future of Ag” program.
This was revealed at a meeting held in the office of the Permanent Secretary in the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.
The government also disclosed its plan to partner with the DFID funded PLANT (Promoting Learning in Agricultural Business using New Technologies) Project to transform the agricultural sector using technology.
The Consultant to the Governor on Agriculture, Dr. Angel Adelaja-Kuye stated that under the “Building Our Future Together” Agenda, they will create an enabling environment for inclusive development of the agricultural sector in a bid to create jobs, ensure food security and prosperity in the state.
She added that the key area to focus on is youth inclusion and technology adoption as promoted by the Ogun State “Future of Ag” program of the Ministry of Agriculture.
She said, “specifically, the Ogun State “Future of Ag” Program’s “catch them young” policy promotes the inclusion of students from secondary school to university as well as out of school youth while under “technology adoption”, the focus is on promotion of introduction and adoption of meaningful agricultural technologies for sector improvement as well as development of models that create an enabling environment to generate, design, implement, pilot, scale and fund ideas that use technology to leapfrog sustainable agriculture.
“The Agribusiness component focuses on the sustainability of agricultural development through development of market-driven agribusinesses that are tested, bankable and will boost private sector confidence in investing in Ogun state.
The Consultant to the Governor on Agriculture further clarified that the Ogun State Agricultural Technology Innovation Lab (OGATIL) Project, will serve as a major enabler of the advancement of Agritech as it focused on all three (3) key areas of the Ogun State “Future of Ag” Program.
She also said, “the Ogun State Agricultural Technology Innovation Lab provides the enabling environment and support for the creation of an Agricultural Technology and Innovation Center and Ag-Lab for Ogun State as a sustainable pilot (proof of concept) that can subsequently be scaled across Ogun State.
“The purpose of the project is to entice youth into the agriculture sector via technology driven agriculture, led by the private sector.
“Looking at future trends for African agriculture, which include precision agriculture, biotechnology, IOT and automation, there is a need to improve the productivity and efficiency of farmers in Ogun State by embracing innovation and working to develop an ecosystem where innovation in African agriculture is driven by companies in Ogun State.
“OGATIL will also serve as an aggregation point that marries Private sector to Research Institutions via the MSME landscape to test agricultural methods and monetize intellectual property within the state.
“Ultimately, the goal is to incubate bankable ideas that investors would find attractive and which solve indigenous problems through Nigeria-centric innovations in agriculture.”
The Programme Director, PLANT, Mr Rufus Idris in his submission revealed that PLANT is a 5million ponds (£5.0Million) United Kingdom funded project to run over the next 3years.
He explained that the purpose of the programme is to bring everyone together within the ecosystem and to pilot solutions that can help solve the farmers need and challenges through the use of technology by supporting Incubation Hubs.
He added that they would also provide link for finance, where these farmers would be provided financial support to fund their ideas.
He said the Programme was signed in October, 2019 and was kicked start fully in November,
Earlier in his address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Dotun Sorunke noted that the intention of the State Government is to train young people on new innovative ways of farming in all the available value chain so that their success stories will spur other youths to venture into agriculture.
He submitted that this will enable the State achieve food security, job creation, and agricultural industrialization, while calling on other local and international companies to partner with the current administration to take the State to enviable heights in agriculture.