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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

USPF connects rural Nigeria to agriculture

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The Ministry of Communication Technology (Commtech) has expressed its commitment on the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) to really spend 80 per cent of fund to building or subsidising connectivity to the rural areas in order to boost agriculture in Nigeria.

The Minister of CommTech, Mrs Omobola Johnson gave this expose while addressing stakeholders in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Agriculture Sectors recently in Abuja and said that with the number of programs that have been conceptualised prior to the creation of the ministry, the Mobile phone Expansion BTS program is being accelerated to create the desired impact in the sectors.

According to her, the Rural Broadband Initiative (RUBI) is providing wholesale internet bandwidth to all its cyber cafes, Community Communication Centres, and ICT centres in the rural areas at a subsidised rate to ensure that people have access to internet.

“We’re not just talking about farmers here but anybody that is involved in the business of agriculture, that is farmers, traders, agro-preneurs, extension workers, policy makers, buyers among others and what we need to do to bridge that gap is to take the information that is here and transform it to a way that is relevant, convenient and useful for these stakeholders to develop their businesses.

"We’ve established an IT Innovation Fund; first venture capital fund solely focused on ICT businesses and we’ll be putting this in the seed capital in the next couple of months. But the idea of these funds is to support these entrepreneurs as we focus on agriculture in the coming months, working in partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport (NEXTT) Programme that is looking at agriculture. They are going to be giving us ideas of the needs of this particular program and how they’re going to support and they’re also going to put some vent capital funds,” Johnson said.

NaijaAgroNet recorded that there is collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Investment and Ministry of Communication Technology and Finance to deliver the first online Commodities Exchange, as the Abuja Securities and Commodities Exchange have been transformed into an online trading platform for commodities.

.. Linking agrobiz, people & technology
pix: Minister of CommTech, Mrs Omobola Johnson


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