In this age of exponential technological advancement, innovation has become the prime drivers of economic growth, especially in countries that have embraced it. And for Nigeria not to be left behind, she must aggressively adopt innovation in every facet of her economy. Innovation is considered by experts to be a critical component of business productivity, competitive survival and economic growth.
In the world today, technological innovations present vast opportunities for product innovation – the introduction of new types of goods and services, and process innovation – enhancement of internal production processes and methods. Someone defines innovations as the intentional introduction and application within a role, group, or organization, of ideas, processes, products or procedures, new to the relevant unit of adoption, designed to significantly benefit the individual, the group, or wider society.
There is an urgent need for us as a nation to change our way of solving socio-economic problems, but rather address our challenges using more effective processes, services, products, tools, models and methods engineered by innovation. This must cut across every industries and sectors such as agriculture, education, healthcare, financial institutions, power generation and distribution, construction, security, transportation and others.
As innovative activities critically depend on human capacity to learn, we can learn or copy what others are doing so as to better the generality of our lives. We shall look at how it affects a few industries in this article.
About 70% Nigerians are into agriculture, yet the nation is practically battling for food security. She is not producing enough crops and grains to feed her teeming population but imports tons and tons of food every year. A comparison of agricultural production patterns in the United States and Brazil show that the number of people engaged in agriculture are less, yet their production and output are enormously big enough to feed their countries and for export. The difference is due to the crude methods we engage in agriculture in most of our communities.
Technological change has been a major factor shaping agriculture in the last 100 years, yet we have not embraced it in practical terms. That is to say, technological innovation and institutional change have a profound effect on the evolution of the agricultural sector. It is very obvious that innovative agricultural solutions in commercial crops and livestock/poultry production can change the course of our nation for good. Hence, we must device new methods, enhanced customs, or devices used to address our agricultural issues.
We are in dire need of using innovative techniques to produce and distribute food in the country, namely; from producing high-yield seed varieties, to mechanised farming, to the preservation of farm produce, to technological knowhow to counter the effects of climate change, etc. Agricultural inputs like water, new seed varieties, fertilisers, pesticides, equipment, and new management practices are what this innovation would propel. For example, a new pesticide may increase yield, reduce economic risk, and reduce environmental protection.
In general, adopting innovative agriculture would lead to yield-increasing, cost-reducing, quality-enhancing, risk-reducing, environmental-protection increasing, and food storage/shelf-life enhancing.
The countries that matter today in agriculture got there through innovation. For instance, agriculture in Brazil has shown impressive growth over the past two decades. This is largely been driven by productivity improvements and structural adjustment resulting from broad economic reforms, as well as new technologies developed by agricultural science. It is by adopting innovation in agriculture that Nigeria can go a long way to boosting her productivity, creating employment and attain food security.
About the Author
Tony Ajah is a Business Growth Strategist, and the Principal Strategist, TA Strategic Solutions, a Lagos-based firm that provides strategic business development services for budding entrepreneurs.
His ideas are highly sought after by leading Nigerian print media such as Punch Newspaper, Daily Sun, Effective Managers Series- Daily Independent, Financial Standard, Business Day, M2 weekly, BrandWork Nigeria, BrandCrunch, ReguLetter (an international journal), amongst others. Tony has written hundreds of business articles that have been shared on several media platforms around the world both online and off-line.
He is also a seasoned idea strategist, trainer and professional speaker and his voice has been heard in numerous establishments across Nigeria and beyond.
Tony has worked closely with some of the brightest minds in the industry. He is a member of several professional organisations within and outside the country, and also an alumnus on Federal University of Technology Owerri.