Mr Samson Ogbole, the co-founder of Ps Nutrac, an agro-allied company, says soil less farming is the only way to ensure food security to feed the growing population in Africa and Nigeria.
Ogbole told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that Nigeria’s 450 million population could not continue to depend on cutlasses and hoes, rather it should adopt technology-infused agriculture.
He disclosed that there were several technologies that could be applied in the various value chains to drive soilless farming.
According to him, soilless farming involves hydroponic for vegetables and ‘aquaponics’, using fish wastewater for plants and ‘aeroponics’, a process of growing plants in the air or moist area.
NAN reports that hydroponic farming is the method of growing plants using a soil less media, which can include a wide variety of examples as: gravel, peat, vermiculite perlite, old rubber tires, rockwool, and expanded clay aggregates.
Ogbole said that these devices were affordable technologies that could ease farming activities, adding that technology was the only way to attract youths into agriculture.
“What we are doing is to bring technology into agriculture; we believe that agriculture in the future will not be based on hoes and cutlasses.
“According to the President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, cutlasses and hoes should now be in the museum.
“If we want to feed 450 million people, we cannot do that using hoes and cutlasses, there is the need to infuse technology.
“We also understand that if you need youths to pick up agriculture, you cannot tell them to use cutlass and hoe you need to make agriculture enticing and the only way to do that is to bring in technology,’’ the agriculturist said.
Ogbole said that ensuring food security involved all- year- round production of crops in high quantities to meet the growing food demands of Nigerians.
The agriculturist said that we have different technologies such that depending on the value chain or where you want to plant you can pick up any of the technologies.
“For example, we have soil-less farming where you grow your plants without using soil.
“Regardless of access to water or not, you can still grow crops. We have Hydroponic, Aeroponic and Aquaponic on one end and we also have what we call cross-industry technology on the other end.
“In cross-industry technology, we bring in other technologies; for instance, for a farmer, who wants to adequately monitor his farm of about 100 acres, you don’t need to look for people that will help you go round to survey the farm.
“We now have drones to monitor that.
“Much more, there are technologies which can be put on plants that it becomes possible for the plants to send you messages showing how they are faring per time.
“So, with that, you do not need to wait for the plant to start showing symptoms to know the plant is sick or dying, and with N10,000 to N20,000 you can get these technologies,’’ Ogbole said.
The agriculturist stressed said that a smart farm of two plots could produce a yield of 15 acres when properly managed.
Source: ANA|COMPATRIOT MAGAZINE