Ghana agriculture gets far-reaching information system

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Hon. Nii Amasah Namoale, has received USD101, 500.00 worth of ICT tools for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the smooth implementation of ECOWAS Agricultural Information System in Ghana.

The item which was presented by Sylla Bertine from UNOPS, consist of 40 computers, 8 servers, 14 software, 12 printers, 13 scanners and 12 UPSes  is to assist the Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture to provide accurate data base records of statistics of Agricultural produce on the market. The event was to officially launch ECOAGRIS (ECOWAS AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION SYSTEM) in Ghana.

The Deputy Minister noted that ECOAGRIS will be a dynamic instrument for monitoring agriculture in West Africa, which will allow to have updated information for the development, monitoring and evaluation of all the initiatives undertaken in the framework of the implementation of ECOWAP/CAADP.

According to Namoale, the purpose of ECOAGRIS is to give policymakers access to reliable data, information and analysis to allow them to formulate and monitor agricultural policies and development strategies, better manage food safety issues in West Africa and also promote trade in food products.

The design process of the Regional Agricultural Information System (ECOAGRIS) started in 2007 and went through several stages, including

  • The definition and validation of the concept note of its implementation at regional and national level which was held in Ouagadougou in May2007
  • The adoption of guidelines also held at Cotonou in April 2008
  • The adoption of objectives and result of AGRIS held at Dakar, Senegal in June 2009
  • Validation of a guidance note that also took place at Abuja in August 2009 and finally
  • The formulation of the final terms of references for the implementation of the system (ECOAGRIS) held during the Cotonou meeting from the 3rd to 8th October, 2010.

The Deputy Minister of Food and Agricultural disclosed further that Ghana, together with other six West African nation,s is going to benefit from the implementation of information system within the agricultural sector and it is expected that ECOAGRIS will provide countries within the sub-region with dynamic performance monitoring of national and regional agricultural information data.

 As part of the implementation of ECOAGRIS, several major activities were identified and agreed upon. These are

  • Development of Information system and databases at country and regional;
  • The establishment of mechanisms (national coordination structure and regional committee) to manage the system ECOAGRIS
  • The installation of local networks and their interconnection at country and regional level, thereby facilitating access and sharing of Agricultural information;
  • The acquisition of Information Technology equipment in the agricultural sector of Member States; and finally the implementation of a capacity building programme.
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