The Potential of Mobile Technologies in Nigerian Agriculture

An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Kashim Bukar Shettima founded the Barbedos Group in 2002. As the chairman and chief executive officer of the conglomerate, Kashim Bukar Shettima leads Barbedos Ventures Limited, one of the leading fertilizer and agricultural product importers and distributors in Nigeria.

In an interview in early September, the external relations officer of IBM West Africa Ltd., Charles Moyela, recommended that Nigerian farmers take advantage of information and communications technologies to increase yields and improve agriculture in the country. He pointed out that mobile phones in particular have significant value in helping farmers obtain crop insurance and reasonable prices for crops.

In 2012, the Nigerian federal government introduced what now serves as an example of mobile communications in the realm of agriculture. The Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) is intended to improve fertilizer and seed distribution channels throughout the country. With the implementation of the GES electronic wallet system, the federal government has effectively tracked and delivered fertilizer subsidies for 3.4 million farmers, a number that is expected to increase to 5 million by the end of the dry season. Due to the success of this program, several companies are working to implement similar direct-supply systems.

As mobile technology enables programs like GES, fairer pricing, and easier access to crop insurance, agriculture in Nigeria will become more efficient and farmers will become less vulnerable to corruption and natural hazards.