16 April 2024

Transforming Nigeria Agriculture through Practice, Advocacy, and Education

The CSC is happy to present its 24th individual impact case study, the latest in our ongoing series highlighting the achievements and impacts of our alumni.  

Femi after receiving his UKCAA Commercial Drone License.

Featured in this case study is Femi Adekoya. Femi is a Commonwealth Alumnus from Nigeria who graduated from Harper Adams University in 2019 with an MSc in Integrated Pest Management. Before his studies, Femi was a farmer, and he experienced firsthand the challenges faced by those in the industry. He saw that current farming practices tended to be conventional in nature and labour intensive, and farmers were often vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks. However he also saw that there was potential for new technologies and innovative approaches to address these issues. 

Whilst in the United Kingdom, Femi learned about the uses and applications of novel technologies in farming. He knew that these tools – in particular drone technology – had the potential to transform Nigerian farming practices. Drones can be used to increase the productivity, sustainability, and profitability of farms. They can increase the speed and efficiency of farming, whilst also making it safer by removing the need to handle dangerous agrochemicals directly. These improvements act to make farming a more attractive career path for young people in Nigeria.   

Upon his return to Nigeria, Femi established his startup company; Integrated Aerial Precision (IAP). The company provides a variety of agritech services to Nigerian farmers, including precision spraying, targeted broadcasts, crop monitoring and scouting, farm mapping, and surveying services. As the founder and CEO of IAP, Femi is responsible for strategic leadership, planning, and project management. He is also involved in the practical implementation of IAP’s work, as he pilots industrial drones using a license he acquired through Harper Adams whilst on award. Femi’s work requires him to leverage his academic background and his practical farming experience to bridge the gap between traditional conventional methods and novel technology. 

Femi is passionate about sharing his skills and experience with the next generation of Nigerian farmers, and he has gone on to establish an education arm of IAP, known as the Precision Field Academy. As the Vision Lead and Head of Training at the Precision Field Academy, Femi is responsible for designing and facilitating courses and mentorship programmes to develop the technical skills of young Nigerians. He runs workshops and webinars in collaboration with universities, for example the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, where he lectures on the importance and applications of drone technologies. Femi has also published a book which advises aspiring drone professionals on current thinking and best practice in the field. Across these various platforms, the Precision Field Academy has reached more than 5,000 people across at least six African countries. Most recently, Femi has secured €45,000 in grant funding for an education programme, where young African graduates will have the opportunity to learn about drone technology and business management. The first cohort of 250 young professionals recently completed hybrid training within this programme. 

Femi sees himself as a role model for young people in Nigeria, and he has frequently represented Nigeria’s youth on national and international stages. He feels that his ability to guide and educate the next generation of young Nigerians is the most significant change that the Scholarship enabled him to make:

‘With my work at Precision Field Academy I educate and build capacity in digital and precision agriculture and technologies. I have the passion to see that we raise the next generation of tech-inclined, and digitally savvy famers and agricultural professionals, particularly in Africa.’  

Femi at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization Headquarters in Rome.

Femi’s work contributes to multiple CSC Development Themes: science and technology for development; promoting innovation and entrepreneurship; and strengthening resilience and response to crises. His work also contributes to a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG1 – No Poverty; SDG2 – Zero hunger; SDG13 – Climate action; and SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals. 

When asked about the way in which his life has changed as a result of the Scholarship, Femi reflected that the experience has had a transformative effect:

‘I would say it this way: the Commonwealth Scholarship is the foundation for virtually 80% of what I do today.’

‘People knowing that I’m a Commonwealth Scholar opens the doors for me because people are interested to hear what I have to say. That’s huge. I am regularly invited to deliver webinars on drone technology and to mentor young agricultural professionals. That platform, that opportunity, that world of opportunity I would say is what Commonwealth Scholarship gave to me.’

Read Femi Adekoya’s Case Study here.