Kwara State Government on Monday identified farmers’ census through digitisation of agricultural value chain as a key parameter to ensure the success of the Kwara State Agricultural Transformation Plan launched earlier in the year for effective planning and support to the sector in the state.
“Digitisation of agricultural value chain is the bedrock of the success of the Agricultural Transformation Plan. In that plan, we have six major players in 27 implementable programmes which we believe will transform the face of agriculture in the state if well executed,” Technical Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture AbdulQuawiy Olododo said at the opening of stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop on digitisation of agricultural value chain.
“Farmers databank has to be the number one thing on the Agricultural Transformation Plan. This is simply because we know the importance of data. For us to achieve huge success, we need to work with data. It will give us a strong foundation upon which we will work on. Without robust and reliable data, we cannot achieve success in the agricultural sector.”
Olododo said the state could not embark on data capturing of farmers without the inputs of farmers on how the programme will be run for a successful outcome.
“The most interesting thing about the exercise is that it is not just about headcount or registering people. For the first time in the history of Kwara State, we will be digitising agricultural value chain in the state and every information that will be taken will be hoisted in the cloud. This means that in the years to come we can always fall back on these data,” he said.
“Another beauty of this exercise is the authenticity that comes with it. This means that there are levels of verification before a farmer or value chain player is confirmed. Because some of the problems in the past were that we had some who were not genuine farmers in the data. We had instances in the past where non poultry farmers were captured for assistance meant for poultry farmers. So, you cannot get good results from such an exercise. For us, we want to build a reliable data of maize farmers, rice farmers, poultry farmers, fishery farmers and the likes that we are sure that they are truly and genuine farmers in the state.”
For her part, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Hajia Maryam Nurudeen, represented by the Director Planning Research and Statistics Shamsudeen Aregbe, said the project would develop a database on all the agricultural value chains in the state.
“I want to state that the objective of the digitisation of agricultural value chain in Kwara State is to carry out an enumeration/headcount of farmers in Kwara State as well as those involved in the agricultural value chain. The project, which is currently ongoing, shall develop a database on all the agricultural value chains in the state for effective, efficient agricultural planning, intervention and management,” she said.
The consultant in charge of the exercise and Principal Partner SME Capital Limited Mr Adepegba said the stakeholders’ engagement was to address the concerns of farmers on digitisation of agricultural value chain and for easy recognition of the team while on the visit to their farms.
“We have partnered with the government to work hand-in-hand to get agricultural sector digitised. The reason for this is to ensure that the government truly support agriculture in the state and make the state one of the leading states in agriculture in Nigeria,” he said.
“It is to ensure that the government gets accurate data that will guarantee that the right attention is given to agricultural sector through various inputs.”