10 Million Phones to Nigerian Farmers
Africa is currently experiencing a boom in its telecom industry, with Nigeria leading the market. However, many farmers in rural Nigeria still do not have access to mobile phones, which can impede their productivity. Farmers need quick access to information in order to be competitive.
Without this access, they can also be susceptible to corruption. Nigerian farmers experienced corruption related to fertilizer for years before the federal government started using cell phones to reach farmers through a program called Growth Enhancement Support which helped eliminate conniving middlemen.
Recently, the Nigerian government, with support from the Universal Service Provision Fund, announced that they will be launching a new initiative to finance the giving of 10 million cell phones to farmers, with 5 million going to women.
Farming employs 70 percent of the working population of Nigeria, but mostly in small-scale or subsistence operations. Large scale operations have been discouraged, in part, by
low soil fertility in some regions and inefficient practices.
The Nigerian government hopes that giving cell phones to farmers will help them stay competitive and abreast of market opportunities and also to engage younger farmers through the use of technology. The overall goal is to encourage the development of agribusiness.