The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) says its Automated Irrigation System would make farming more attractive to young people and help farmers to cultivate all year round.
The Director-General of NASRDA, Prof. Seidu Mohammed, made this known on Monday in Abuja when he led the management of the agency on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.
NASRDA is an agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) and supervised by the National Council on Space Science Technology.
The director-general said the innovation would encourage young people to show interest in farming.
“We make use of signals from navigation satellite to determine locations in terms of longitude and latitude. This has been tested on different soil types and it also takes care of various crop varieties.
“The system is able to create a perfect intervention in agriculture and it makes agriculture smarter, precise and enables the young ones go back to agriculture
“It is a product that will enable the farmer cultivate products as early as three months; you can be at the comfort of your home and irrigate your farm.
“Between 8a.m. and 9a.m. for instance, the system constantly checks the condition of the soil and reports on the screen, and once the soil moisture gets below 15 per cent, it triggers up the pump and it irrigates the whole farm.
“And once the soil level gets to up 50 per cent it shuts down,’’ he explained.
Mohammed added that with the machine, there was no need to be physically at the farm for irrigation.
Responding, the minister of FMST commended the project, saying such technology would help farmers to produce agricultural produce to feed the nation and enhance foreign exchange.
He said automated irrigation system produced by the NASRDA would also help to achieve one of the ministry’s objectives.
“I am excited that this is coming up at a time when we are working hard to ensure food security in Nigeria.
“The present administration is making sure that we reverse the situation of the past where we had to import a lot of food.
“Space science and technology is not just what a lot of people think.
“It is far more than that, arising from the knowledge that we get from space science and technology, we can work on all the vital sectors of our economy including agriculture.
“There is no sector that is left out, every sector benefits from innovations arising from space science and technology.
“Today, what we have witnessed here is very important, this is the first indigenous automated irrigation system in the country,“ Onu said.