Recent statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that the inflation rate rose to 15.92% in March 2022, representing an increase of 0.22% from the 15.7% recorded in February 2022. The Bureau also said that the composite Food Index increased year-on-year (YoY) by 0.09 percentage points to 17.20% in March 2022, from 17.11% in February 2022.
In its consumer price index (CPI), the bureau said the rise in the food index was due to higher prices for bread and cereals, groceries, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, meat, oils and fats.
The above statistics are evident with a panoramic view of the current state of livelihoods in Nigeria, which gives an insight into the level of poverty plaguing the nation when it comes to food security. Staple foods such as garri, maize, rice, yams, beans, millet, potatoes and others have all risen with prices above the pocket of the common man. With the rise in food inflation, it is not uncommon for some households to have been forced to the ratio of 0.0.1 or 0.1.0 for their daily meals. This is mainly related to declining incomes or stagnating incomes that are no longer sufficient to meet the rising cost of food products.
Also recently, a report processed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) revealed that approximately 18 million people will face food insecurity in Nigeria between June and August 2022. The stakeholder report focused on acute food and nutrition insecurity in the Sahel and West Africa region.
The report says the food crisis will affect Nigerians in 21 states and FCTs, including 416,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). He noted that around 14.4 million people, including 385,000 IDPs in 21 states and Nigeria’s FCT, are already in food crisis until May 2022.
The analysis for the month of March covered states such as Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Edo, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Not to mention that in the 2021 Global Hunger Index, Nigeria ranks 103 out of 116 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2021 GHI scores. With a score of 28.3, Nigeria has a level of hunger serious. This narrative is obvious and must be changed with all practical means to bring about actions that will lift Nigerians out of hunger.
These various reports are very timely warnings to save the West African nation and region from impending famine. Although this is frightening, it does not call for trembling but swift action to ward off the danger of an outbreak of famine.
The federal government’s call and clamor of late for individuals and businesses to invest in agriculture and strive to achieve food sufficiency and reduce imports has become a public outcry. Now is the time for us as a nation to take the bull by the horns and employ all the tools and technologies necessary to maximize food production.
With modern technologies and the deployment of the right tools in place, farmers can increase productivity and achieve higher crop yield through the practice of Precision Agriculture (PA). according to the National Research Council, 1997, precision agriculture is “the application of modern information technology to provide, process and analyze multi-source data of high spatial and temporal resolution for decision making and operations management of agricultural production”.
With the adoption of the science and art of precision farming through innovative technology such as FarmSense, a technology developed by AirSmat to meet the need to increase the efficiency and sustainability of the agricultural enterprise by providing extraordinary access to real-time information that can help guide in-season decision making.
FarmSense is a device that will be placed on farmland to aid in the collection of useful information from the farm, stores and transmits the data to farmers in real time on their smartphones so that they can improve their crop productivity and secure the supply chain of the future in Nigeria and across Africa.
With FarmSense, farmers will be able to maximize yields, conserve resources such as water and fertilizer application, reduce waste and improve productivity. FarmSense is an IoT (Internet of Things) device. The functionality of the product is powered by GSM and Satellite, which enables instant internet connections anytime and anywhere FarmSense is deployed, delivering 99.9% data updates.
There is an agronomic requirement for three sensors per acre providing accurate farmland data. With the data collected, farmers can work smarter with decision making regarding which areas need attention to increase soil nutrients with fertilizer and water application. This saves even more time and money on guesswork, i.e. applying these soil improvements at random times rather than precisely to specific areas of the farm.
Addressing food insecurity in Africa is a bold passion for AirSmat to ensure that in the short and long term, through the application of technology, the continent would achieve food security to feed its people. AirSmat offers holistic services and solutions for smart and precision agriculture using artificial intelligence. The main goal of the agri-tech start-up is to help farmers and farm owners make informed decisions to maximize yields and ensure food security while increasing farm business results and balancing demand ratios. – offer and price on the market.