THE Federal Government has unveiled a mobile phone learning platform that is based on interactive voice response technology for farmers across the country.
The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) will manage the process.
The Federal Government inaugurated the NIRSAL Farmers’ Business School in partnership with Successory Nigeria Limited and MTN Nigeria in Abuja, saying the initiative was in line with the agency’s mandate on technical assistance to farmers.
The Managing Director, NIRSAL Plc, Aliyu Abdulhameed, said the NBFS would provide convenient training on good agricultural practices to Nigeria’s smallholder farmers seeking improved access to vital information critical to the success of primary production cycles.
He added that through the partnership, the training would provide support mechanisms that plug information gaps, boost entrepreneurial capacities and improve access to commercial finance.
Abdulhameed allayed concerns that the platform might be too sophisticated and expensive for some rural farmers to use.
According to him, pre-design research and situational analyses took such concerns into account, hence, the product was a multi-language, offline on-the-go platform that could be accessed via any mobile phone.
The NIRSAL boss stated that the cost of subscription to the service was very minute, as parties in the partnership took cognisance of the financial ability of farmers to subscribe for the training.
“The platform is important to NIRSAL Plc, its owners – the CBN, the Federal Government, banks, and other investors in agricultural primary production, as it will promote the inclusion of farmers in the use of ICT and limit physical classroom engagements in line with the new normal,” Abdulhameed stated.
Speaking further, he pointed out that the platform was also of great value for NIRSAL’s officials in the field who had been wading through towns, villages and bushes to perform their training and capacity building assignments.
Also speaknng, the Chief Sales Distribution Officer of MTN Nigeria, Adekunle Adebiyi, said the telecommunications company was a natural collaborator in initiatives that meaningfully connected, informed and educated Nigerians.
He added that MTN’s network connectivity in Nigeria would serve as the conduit for a continuous and cost-effective interaction between NIRSAL Plc and farmers, which would lead to improved productivity and earnings across board.