USAID donates IT equipment for agriculture data collection

By
Iddi Yire, GNA

Accra, Sept. 9, GNA – The United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) has presented tablets and other
information and technology (IT) equipment to the Statistics Research and
Information Directorate (SRID) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

The electronic equipment and software valued
at GH₵900,000.00 are to enhance the collection of agricultural statistics.

The equipment would minimise human error in
agriculture data collection and analysis, as well as improve overall data
quality and credibility.

Mr Andrew Karas, the USAID Mission Director,
handed over the equipment to Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, a Deputy Minister, MoFA
in-charge of Crops; in the presence of Dr Hannah Bisiw, a Deputy Minister,
MoFA, in-charge of Livestock.

The donation included 3G tablets fitted with
global positioning system (GPS), which would help SRID produce credible data
and information to support appropriate and effective policy analysis,
decision-making and planning.

In Ghana, policymakers often lack quality
data, as well as the capacity to analyse and communicate findings.

Funded by USAID, the Agriculture Policy
Support Project (APSP) assisted SRID to design, develop and implement a
Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) data collection system in
support of the Ghana Agriculture Production and Market Price Survey.

Dr Alhassan lauded the United States
Government for its immense support for Ghana’s agriculture sector over the
years.

He expressed gratitude to the APSP of the
USAID for supporting the SRID of MoFA with the equipment to help enhance
agriculture data collection, management and dissemination in Ghana.

He said the persistent constraints of
delayed survey completion, low data quality and rising costs incurred using the
traditional data collection approaches constituted a basis to explore new and
modern tools for collecting data as the CAPI system sought to help them to do.

He said the advantage of a CAPI system in
shortening the period of data collection and assisted cost savings as well as
improved data quality had led SRID to seek assistance from APSP to develop a
CAPI system to modernise data collection across the districts and regions of
Ghana.

He said the mandate of SRID within the MoFA,
is to provide relevant, accurate and timely agricultural statistics and
information for agricultural policy formulation, planning, project
implementation, monitoring and evaluation for efficient communication within
MoFA and the public.

“With the introduction of the CAPI system,
including the use of android based tablets to administer electronic
questionnaires and the direct transmission of data collection to serves, the
Ministry has been ushered into a new and improved phase of agricultural data
collection, that should make available reliable, accurate and comprehensive
data for decision making within and outside the Ministry,” Dr Alhassan said.

Mr Karas said the equipment and software
would modernise the Ministry’s approach to data collection with cutting edge
technology and systems, enabling real-time mobile data collection on 3G Android
tablets.

“It will significantly improve the
Ministry’s capacity to undertake field surveys and collect, secure and analyse
data. I cannot overstate the importance of this. Effective policies require
comprehensive knowledge about the people impacted by them,” he said.

He said the software and equipment was just
the first step; and that the organisation was taking a holistic approach to
ensure quality agriculture data collection in Ghana.

He said 150 MoFA officials at the district,
regional and national levels were trained to effectively collect data for
Ghana’s Annual General Agriculture Production and Marketing Surveys.

Mr Walter Nunez Rodriguez, the Chief of
Party of the APSP, said the APSP is a five-year Feed the Future project, with
the goal to improve the food security-enabling environment for the private
sector investment.

GNA

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