National Project Coordinator of Agricultural Market and Information System, AMIS, Mr. Olutayo Oyawale in this interview, among other issues, explains how AMIS can help in solving food crisis in Nigeria.
Why has it become necessary to galvanize a collective action in support of the global food security drive of the UN?
The world’s population is predicted to hit 9Bn by 2050, up from today’s total of nearly 7.3Bn, and with it, food demand is predicted to increase substantially.
We need platforms like AMIS for reliable data and to help us plan and formulate polices. Most of the issues highlighted are global problems, hence, resolving the food security challenges will require a multi-national and collaborative effort to integrate the best research from science, engineering and socio-economics so that technological advances can bring benefits where they are most needed. That is why it is important for us to galvanize a collective action for global food security.
What are the roles FAO and AMIS are playing in the campaign for food security especially in Nigeria where we are said to import a larger part of our food?
Contribute to the design of the Strategic Plan for Agricultural and Rural Statistics (SPARS)
Developing a system to provide the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reliable data that will aid identification of major challenges faced by the food producers and formulation of effective policies to create a more enabling environment that will result in higher yields of quality food.
As an expert in ICT, how did you become part of a drive towards global food security and what was your role in creating the AMIS CAPI System?
As an ICT expert, I’m a solutions provider. The identification of a problem and the cause of the problem aids the design a solution. I was part of the design and implementation team for AMIS CAPI system.
With the deliberate and comprehensive nature of the available data via AMIS CAPI data portal, who are the target audience and how much access will give to the data collected via AMIS CAPI System?
The general public are the target audience for the crowdsourcing use of the AMIS CAPI system, which is designed for the production of unofficial data that can address the daily data needs of all data users while the Ministeries, Departments, Agencies in Nigeria will be the users of AMIS CAPI system for the production of official data in Nigeria. The crowdsourced data will be made available to all data users.
It is important to note that the AMIS CAPI system was not setup to compete with the NBS that is the custodian of official data and coordinator of national statistical system in Nigeria. The system is setup to enable MDAs improve their Agricultural data collection process.
What are the economic benefits of having a functional data system like AMIS CAPI System in Nigeria?
These are the benefits: It improves the efficiency of agricultural data collection process in Nigeria by providing a monitoring and evaluation system.
It helps reduce the time take to produce agricultural data
It reduces the cost of agricultural data production.
AMIS CAPI system can easily integrate with systems that have commercial values to agricultural output producers and consumers e.g an agric market place.
Considering the diversified approach of most Nigerian farmers to planting of crops, will AMIS provide information on other crops aside the four major crops?
Yes, AMIS CAPI system will provide information on other crops. The four focus crops were only selected for the pilot exercise.
What are the lessons learnt during the crowdsourcing pilot phase?
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the data contributors proved very useful in the creation of a bespoke system that was able to effectively cater for the needs of the target audience.
It is more productive to work collectively than in isolation regardless of our role in the Agricultural value chain. The success of the pilot exercise is largely the result of the eventual cooperation amongst the traders and farmers in the pilot LGAs in Kaduna state.
Contrary to the common believe that humans find it difficult to accept changes, the pilot exercise proved that everyone is open to change as long as they see the benefits and positive impacts of such change.
What are the various doors of opportunities the AMIS CAPI System will open up for farmers, entrepreneurs, investors and other players in the agric value chain
AMIS CAPI system will create a virtual meeting room for farmers, entrepreneurs, investors and other players in the agricultural value chain, which will improve the exchange of information that is undoubtedly very key to business and economic growth.
The system will also provide a robust database for creative Nigerian youths that are planning to develop business solutions towards improving agribusiness in Nigeria.
What is the most exciting about this project?
That’s a tough question. Almost every aspect of the project implementation was very exciting. However, I will always remember the excitement and level of involvement shown by the farmers and traders in the pilot state after tough weeks of training and dialogues to enable them to see the benefits and importance of data/information sharing.
When will the crowdsourcing pilot data portal become available to the public?
The AMIS CAPI system and data portal are now the properties of the FMARD. I am sure FMARD will announce the release date very soon. However, the pilot data portal is available.