BusinessDay

UN creates access to agricultural data for Nigerians

In a bid to ensure Nigerians have easy access to more data on agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Nigeria on Wednesday handed over the Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) system developed with the support of the Agricultural Market and Information System (AMIS) to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The CAPI system will be domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) for supervision and monitoring, following the handover ceremony to Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, who was represented by Bukar Hassan, the Permanent Secretary at the ministry.

At the request of Agriculture Ministers of the G20 in 2011, following the food crisis that caused extraordinary increase in the prices of food to about 150% in 2008; AMIS was established as an inter-agency Platform, to enhance food market transparency and encourage coordination of policy action in response to market uncertainty.

As part of the deliverables of AMIS, CAPI System was developed in Nigeria for the collection of agricultural data.

The focus of AMIS is on four crops: wheat, maize, rice and soybeans. AMIS is an inter-agency platform housed in FAO. This particular project of AMIS is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

Read also: Nigeria among 41 countries needing external assistance for food-FAO

FAO conducted a pilot use of AMIS CAPI system for 18 crops, covering a period of 4 months, from four markets and ten Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Kaduna State, using a well-coordinated crowdsourcing operation in the State in November 2016. The pilot exercise engaged about 801 farmers and traders combined in Kaduna state, the coordinators said.

“The only way agricultural production can be sustained is when the farmers can be able to reach out to various markets to sell their products ‎and make some returns to enable them to invest,” said Bukar Hassan who represented Minister Ogbeh.

“Therefore today’s (Wednesday) programme gave us a unique opportunity to move away from traditional marketing system, monitor and evaluation system to a more digital and sustainable method where we will be able to ensure that whatever we have produced, figures we are going to have in terms of production is accurate, and therefore food security will be ensured,”

The CAPI system is also equipped with capacity to provide near real-time agriculture data, through crowd-sourced data from various players in the agriculture value chain. The platform has a web-based repository that will provide easy access to agricultural data producing agencies and other agricultural market stakeholders across Nigeria.

The CAPI system will also impact the ability of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to execute their mandates by reducing cost of data production as it will eliminate cost of printing paper questionnaires, hiring data entry operators, and use of courier services. The solution will also reduce data production time by providing near real-time data from the field to data processing units of the MDAs. In addition, the system will enable a proper monitoring and evaluation of data collection via the use of GPS data submission alongside every data collected.

Speaking at the brief handover event, the National Project Coordinator, Olutayo Oyawale, said the CAPI system will provide an unprecedented access to agriculture information from various stakeholders across the country that will, in turn, deliver tremendous growth for the agriculture sector.

Oyawale said the AMIS platform is one of the measures put in place by the FAO and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation as way to prevent food crisis in Nigeria and assist the country to achieve food security.

“Real-time data gathering has always been a problem in the agricultural sector. With this CAPI System, investors, agriculture merchants, traders and farmers can make better decisions and optimize their activities in their respective roles,” Oyawale added.

AMIS was initiated in 2011 by the Ministers of Agriculture of the G20 countries to improve food market transparency, coordination and monitor price volatility.  AMIS participating countries include all G20 Members as well as Spain and seven additional major exporting and importing countries of the four agricultural commodities which AMIS covers (namely wheat, rice, maize and soybeans).

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.