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THE LAUNCHING OF THE FARMER DIGITALIZATION AND FARM REGISTRY PROJECT (FDFRP): TUESDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER, 2015

 

THE LAUNCHING OF THE FARMER DIGITALIZATION AND FARM REGISTRY PROJECT (FDFRP): TUESDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER, 2015 AT 09:30AM AT BAOBAB HOLIDAY RESORT CONFERENCE ROOM

The Executive Summary

1. The Planning Services Unit (PSU) organized the Launching of AfDB‘s FDFRP pilot project on Farmer Digitalization and Farm Registry at The Baobab Holiday and Resort 1st September 2015. The overall objective is to significantly increase public access to official and other statistics across Africa, while at the same time support African countries improve data collection, management, and dissemination. Under the African Information Highway (AIH) program, data portals/open data systems with common IT platforms have been developed and installed in all 54 African countries and in 16 African sub-regional and regional organizations.

Launching

2. The launching brought together participants who were from organizations/institutions/agency directly or indirectly associated with data, policy formulations, environment and natural resource social and economic development.

3. The objective of the launching was to introduce the country project of AfDB ‘s initiative of African Information Highway (AIH) formulated in November 2012 as part of its statistical capacity-building program. The FDFR project will provide a sophisticated Information Technology platform to generate digitized agricultural maps and implement registries for farms and farming. Such a platform will also include the process of extracting real-time information for planning and other decision making through advanced Business Intelligence and Business Analytics tools.

Presentations by the technical Team leader

4. After the opening ceremony and official launching a presentation and discussion preceded on the implementation and outcome of the project. The participants understood the overall objectives and the activities of the project and how each of the stakeholder organizations can contribute effectively to the implementation of the project, the stakeholders identified most of the critical areas borrowing from the last experience of other projects. The two major events of the day took place and were well attended by all relevant government departments/institution or agencies, civil society organizations and UN Agencies. The participants commented that the project would be useful analytical tools to be applied in our agricultural development assessment and evaluations.

 

1.0 Introduction

 

5. The Planning Services Unit (PSU) Farmer Digitalization and Farm Registry (FDFR) pilot project was launched by Honorable Deputy Minister Ousman Jammeh at the Baobab Holiday and Resort in Kololi, 1st August 2015. Planning Services organized the launching in collaboration with the AfDB. The main objective of the launching was firstly to introduce the project’s objectives and activities to the stakeholders who are going to assist in the implementation of the project. The second objective was to build capacity of the stakeholders in other to enable them support the initiative for the attainment of the project goal and objective. The participants appreciated the useful analytical tools of the technology and the benefit it could generate to farmers, policymaker, planners and the government and citizenry as a whole.

2.0 Summary of the Session

2.1 The Launching

6. August 1st 2015 - 9.30am – 12.00pm The Deputy Minister of Agriculture Hon. Ousman Jammmeh launched the project after the speeches by the AfDB African Information Highway (AIH)Technical Lead and the representative from the AfDB Mr. Rafik. The PSU Officer-In-Charge and Head, Mr. Bakary K. S Sanyang, welcomed the participants and introduced the project to the stakeholders highlighting the importance of the reliable data in the socio-economic development of the country; nevertheless generating reliable agricultural statistics through modern technology application can propellant to sound agricultural policy reforms and implementations. Mr. Rafik gave an overview AfDB’s initiative on Farmer Digitalization and Farm Registry piloted in five (5) African Countries.

7. Hon. Ousman Jammeh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, acknowledged the importance of data as emphasized by The Head of State who double as the Minister of Agriculture. He inform the gathering that this technology could provide the evidence required to develop and monitor effective development policies. Hence the Government has also put in place strategies to combat food insecurity through the implementation of various technologies such the establishment of Gambia Agricultural data base (GNAID). He further lamented an essential component of any development planning is data. Without which any effort to plan for future growth and welfare of it’s people cannot be grounded in reality and therefore may be severely flawed.

8. He also emphasized that the project is very relevant and important to not only to agriculture but the environment and natural resource management Hon. Jammeh also acknowledged and thanked the funding organizations: the African Development Bank (AfDB) for providing the funding through AIH Technical Lead.

Photo1: Launching statement

2.2. Family photo and tea break

9. After the launching, the participant converged and had family photos.

Photo 2: Family photo

2.3 Presentation by AIH Technical Leader

10. Mr. Rafik in his presentation he indicated that the FDFR project will provide a sophisticated Information Technology platform to generate digitized agricultural maps and implement registries for farms and farming. Such a platform will also include the process of extracting real-time information for planning and other decision making through advanced business intelligence and business analytics tools.

11. He noted that during implementation of the initial phase entire coverage is required thereafter a sample selection method will be drawn representing the entire farmers.

12. In summary the presentation outline was as follows:

Project overview

Project Objectives

Project expected Outcome

Project design and implementation

Operational mechanism including data collection

Modeling and Analysis

Direct and indirect benefit

 

2.4 Plenary Session (Questions and Clarifications)

13. The discussions triggered following key messages

 Satellite images are used in many applications such as geosciences assessment, astronomy, and geographical information systems. One of the most important quality factors in images comes from its resolution which most often covers large area. In this case, it was pointed that in addition to satellite information physical visitation of sites gathering real-time data to serve as complementarity to affirmed results.

 The message send to farmers as part of the recommendation from the analysis, whilst majority of our farmers are illiterate, that should not be a major factor impede communication. It was emphasized that many community has change agents being Government, NGOs, Civil Society Organization staff who could be used to help farmers interpret message received.

 

However, the participant noted that the community radio could also be used to disseminate the recommendation(s) emanated from analysis, it could serve as a powerful tool in knowledge dissemination and education.

 The technology developed for the project many agreed that could generate reliable and timely data and information useful for decision making and better

 

 

Planning at all time. It was also recognized that the security features help in the collection of reliable and accurate data. As it does not allow forgery if all necessary steps is adhere to.

 It was stressed that land put to cultivation and total surface area estimation with the use of this application is not under the project doings. This program is not in build in the system. In the same vein the pastoral situation and other livestock information patterning to graze land availability and animal water points, this is not supported by application. Thought, this could be added in template in the future.

 The participants observed the limitation of internet connection as in many areas experiences. But the supports offline mode data collection which requires little or no internet during form filling or data collection is applicable.

 The supervisors are identified to support the data collectors in term of training and building their capacities when the need comes.

 The issue of security of the tablets in the hands of the data collectors was raised. It clear that each tablets given goes with strict conditions. Defaulters are subjected to disciplinary measures depend the manner in which the material was handle according to the memorandum signed.

 

3.0 Conclusion

 

14. Judging from the participants’ the launching workshop was very informative but too short. This could be attributed to one thing that is the poor internet connection experienced during the simulation exercise. They would rather have liked to spend more time to go through the processes thoroughly because what was learned from this workshop could be used in the project implementation proper.

The workshop was also a very useful exercise for the PSU and her partners because they received useful information from the participants which undoubtedly could go a long way improving data collection data and management. 

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