Official: Kwara begins digital census of farmers, value chains

The Kwara state government has identified farmers’ census, through the digitisation of agricultural value chains, as a key parameter to ensuring the success of the State’s Agricultural Transformation Plan, an official said.

Newsmen report that the Plan was launched earlier in the year for effective planning and support to the sector in the state.

“Digitisation of the 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,” the Technical Assistant to the governor on Agriculture, AbdulQuawiy Olododo.

He was speaking at the opening of a stakeholder sensitisation workshop on the digitisation of the agricultural value chain, on Monday, in Ilorin.

“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.

He added that the state could not embark on data capturing of farmers without the input of the farmers on how the programme would 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 the agricultural value chain in the state and every information that will be taken will be hosted in the cloud. This means that in the years to come we can always fall back on these data.

“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 like, that we are sure are truly and genuine farmers in the state.” He added.

The Permanent Secretary in 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 chains in Kwara is to carry out an enumeration/headcount of farmers in the state as well as those involved in the project.

“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 Femi Adepegba said the stakeholder engagement was meant to address the concerns of farmers on the digitisation of the 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 the agricultural sector digitised. The reason for this is to ensure that the government truly supports agriculture in the state and make it one of the leading states in agriculture in Nigeria.

“It is also to ensure that the government gets accurate data that will guarantee the right attention is given to the agricultural sector through various inputs.”

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