From Samuel Bello, Abuja
The Federal Government, yesterday, launched the first indigenous automated irrigation system that would ease process of fostering plant growth for farmers in the country.
Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, launched the latest technological innovation which was put together by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASDRA) and presented to the public in Abuja.
Onu said the product would be a viable solution for individuals in the agricultural sector and also proliferate job opportunities for youths interested in agriculture.
He assured Nigerians the readiness to make sure that not just agriculture, but other sectors must benefit from technological innovation, which is based on knowledge that is innovation driven.
“There are two major benefits, we can now have agriculture all year round, because very often farmers farm only during the rainy season. With this new product, during the dry season, sunlight would help operate the solar panel to have power in very remote areas of the country to power the irrigation system.
However, Director-General of NASDRA, Prof Mohammed Saidu, said that the Automated Irrigation Technology Intervention System will make agriculture smarter, precise and attract young ones to agriculture.
Saidu added that the device had been tested on different soil types from organic, sandy and clay soil in the last six months, adding that it can be controlled from the comfort of one’s home.
He implored the Private Sector to invest in the new technology for maximum financial dividends.
NASDRA Acting Director General of Centre for Basic Space Science, Nsukka, Mr Bonaventure Okere, however said buying the product costs a sum of N50,000 depending on the size of farmland.
“To get one, it depends on the specification because of the cost and the size of the farm and pump. For 15 by 15 hectares, you can get one for N50,000 with a smaller pump. The system indicates when the crops are hungry for water and signals are sent and in the comfort of our homes, it supplies water to large farms to various places and this takes care of different soil types.
“The precise time for the automatic way is between 8am and 9am and when it’s between that time the system checks the condition of the soil and reports to the owner,” Okere explained.