#NES25 How data analysis can address challenges of food security in Nigeria – Experts

Fresh spices and fruits on display at a market in Abuja, Nigeria

Data analysis is the panacea to the challenges of food security in Nigeria, the Managing Director of Crest Agro, Oyetunde Solaja, said on Tuesday.

Mr Solaja said data shows the documentation of the available products, markets and relationship between farmers and the market.

Speaking as a discussion leader at the 25th Nigeria Economic Summit on the theme ‘Access to High-quality Inputs and Distribution,” he said data has a key role to play in the agricultural sector.

“First, there has to be enough data to know at least what and what can we produce and who is the off-taker,” he said.

Mr Solaja said regulation should be complied with to ensure farmers are not cheated and should provide basic amenities in the conditioning centres.

Conditioning centres are facilities that help preserve produce and link farmers to the available market.

They mostly serve as warehouses and have good storage capacity for easily perishable goods.

But Mr Solaja said the government should hands off the conditioning centres, saying government control of the facility was the weak point of the past management.

“Once you have these conditioning centres, it is going to encourage even investors. One of the big challenges with investors is how do we solve the challenge of linking with the right people and knowledge of his linking partners,” he said.

“With conditioning centres, farmers do not need to worry their head when the produce is out. The linkages must be there so that the farmer does not look for market for his produce,” he said.

“This is the only way to open up the rural economy, not necessarily from the national grid but through off-grid solutions.”

The expert said there is also another part the government has to play, which is control of the quality of the products to ensure standards.

Also speaking at the event, Ndidi Onwuneli of Leap Africa said the private sector is creating access to data for farmers as they are the first and foremost entrepreneurs in the sector.

“There is tremendous potential for the private sector to take a lead, and the civil society to take a lead. We don’t need to wait for the government to do everything,” she said.

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