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Internet as a model has been described as the new propelling force that can transform any rural economy and industry. The inspiration of this writing is anchored on what China is doing to transform its agricultural industry. In China, farmers are having their products reaching their customers in urban China and the rest of the world.
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According to Asian Development Bank (ADB), the “Internet Plus rural economy” model refers to an economic phenomenon of applying internet technology—e.g., mobile internet, IoT, cloud computing, and other big data applications—to improve the efficiency of the rural economic sector, from farmers’ daily consumption to the production, processing, and circulation (trade) of agriculture products. The coverage of internet applications encompasses the following main areas: 
  1. Establishment Of E-commerce Platforms And Associated Business Processes And Models.
There is a need to build agro malls and retail stores where quality agro-products are sold through various platforms, including e-commerce. This will take the collaboration and synergistic efforts of small and large farm holders to build various outposts. Nigerian farmers should normalise having food, fruits and vegetables retail stores as we have seen in the USA, EU and China.
  1. Streamlining Of Agriculture Logistics.
The concept of streamlining in agricultural logistics is to facilitate the ease of supply chain management. Agro farmers need to collaborate with agritechs, who have the necessary tools and resources to help them in the distribution of their products. Furthermore, smallholders can collaborate across the board to build a strong supply chain logistical process. The proliferation of digital platforms needs to be assisted by the development of efficient transport and logistics to realize e-commerce business transactions. Especially for perishable agriculture products, such as fruits and vegetables, the postharvest interventions for temperature-controlled logistics and delivery and the use of protective and small packages are key to reducing postharvest losses and maintaining quality along the value chains from harvest to the point of consumption. Several studies on postharvest practices in horticulture value chains in South Asia found a 2%–19% loss in food quantity and values during each of the harvest, wholesale, and retail stages. Accordingly, cold chain facilities including shading and cooling facilities at harvest, primary processing facilities, transfer vehicle, and other logistics infrastructure as well as their productive connections, to reduce transaction distance, time, and cost are required to support the successful high-value agribusiness transactions generated by e-commerce.
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  1. Provision Of Extension And Coordination Services To Farmers.
The next step towards incorporating the Internet into the agricultural process in Nigeria is by providing network centres where smallholder farmers are educated, organised and coordinated in other to ensure that they are effectively covered, so that they can monitor the process of how their products are shipped to various destinations. Furthermore, the deployment of digital technologies and IoT will facilitate the access of the wider farming communities to relevant and real-time knowledge transfer and services required for commercial agriculture, including (i) financing; (ii) machinery and services; (iii) quality inputs, farming technologies, and advisory services; and (iv) risk management measures to mitigate exogenous risks of macroeconomic, market, disaster, and climate change. Providing extension and coordination services help in improving the free flow of internet agriculture. Access to such information and service helps farmers in effectively responding to growing market demand and increasing farming income. As most digital technology services are provided via mobile phone apps, they present the good potential for cost-effective upscaling to serve millions of farmers with highly diversified profiles. 
  1. Building Tracking Platforms.
Strengthening of coordination and traceability of product flow from farm to fork (or from farm to table—i.e., from harvest to the point of consumption) through a traceability system that is enhanced by information and communication technology (ICT). Using a mobile app to scan the quick response or QR code, customers can access information such as cultivation base; sampling time; results of pesticide concentration test planting (pruning, splitting, and watering); harvest; and sales transaction data. Access to such information helps strengthen customers’ confidence in the product’s quality and brand. Featured image: Business
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This article was first published on 29th January 2022 and updated on January 31st, 2022 at 12:48 pm


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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