The national space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) says it is involving space science technology to shot up agricultural products for food security in the country.
Dr. Rakiya Babamaaji, the Hand, Natural Resources Management Division of NASRDA, revealed this on Monday during an interview session with newsmen in Abuja.
Babamaaji disclosed that Space science technology could be employed in agriculture through the use of Geospatial technology that requires Remote sensing and Geographic information system application.
She mentioned that geospatial technology could be adopted to map and monitor the location of natural resources, take records of Vegetation and also smart agriculture and water resources management, etc.
Babamaaji said the programme flows with the government’s plan for Food Security to ensure the country achieves Sustainable Development Goal Two, which is focused on ending hunger and increasing food availability.
“We are trying to use space technology in agriculture and we have a programme called Space Base Smart Agriculture for Food Security in Nigeria which will address food availability.
“Under the programme, there is the Crop Watch project, a platform used to monitor agricultural activities across the country using geospatial technology.
“Under this project, we are going to gather all the spatial data available with restrictions to agriculture, so that farmers can know what is happening in their farms, from the cropping to monitoring the farmland.
“The project will provide the farmers with the climate data, letting them know when to plant, when to apply fertilizer, different soil type in terms of fertility,’’ she said.
“We want to achieve this by engaging farmers on their phones, use of jingles in the radio which could possibly be transmitted in the three major languages and English to reach rural farmers.”
The official said they are partnering with relevant stakeholders in the country, including the China Academy of Science and China Remote Remote Serving Centre as technical pastures to achieve the Crop Watch Project
“We are trying to look at the challenges that prevent them from achieving maximum production in their farming activities and we have chosen a farm in Kuje and in Nasarawa to start this assessment.’’
Babamaaji, however, condemned the scarcity of data, funding to support the project, and lack of orientation of farmers on the benefits of space technology to farming.
She recalled that the management of the Agency has been pushing for new and advanced satellites that would ease the provision of data and help to plan well for enhanced precision agriculture.
“Most of the farmers don’t know the importance of using satellite or geospatial technology in agriculture, so there is need for us to create more awareness on that.’’
She said that the agency has been working seriously on the deployment of space science technology in other sectors to promote good governance and the socio-economic development of Nigeria.