Business News of Friday, 5 April 2013
The first ever interactive online platform providing open access to all agricultural spatial data and information in Ghana was on Wednesday launched in Accra.
The website jointly created by the USAID/ADVANCE and the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services (CERSGIS) of the University of Ghana, Legon, aims to provide agric related spatial data set in a user friendly mode to stakeholders of the sector.
Other aims include improving spatial management and dissemination in Ghana; providing online tools for extracting and sharing data and information on agric; and creating opportunities for enhancing quality of data and dissemination.
Launching the website, Mr Foster Mensah of the CERSGIS, a non-profit self supporting organisation, said the website was a good source of reference for commercial and smallholder farmers as well as development partners in the agric sector. The site with the address www.gis4ghagric.net enables the user to explore data on crop farms, production volumes, agric commerce, agricultural facilities, soil characteristics, topography, climatic conditions, and cover/land use, crop/land suitability, socio-economic indicators etc.
“This is just the beginning but the challenge is how to sustain the system, which will largely depend on the collaboration with partners“, Mr Mensah said.
He said CERSGIS intended to create work spaces on the site for development partners and interested institutions that might be interested for their projects to be mapped and put on the site Tom Carr, Chief of Party, USAID/ADVANCE Programme, said the project was initiated because there was no such data set available on Ghana’s agric sector.
“It is an open site for all projects. We have created a much more dynamic system for accessing the data on the agriculture sector in Ghana,” he said.
CERSGIS, which would manage the website, was established by the University of Ghana and the Environmental Protection Agency to provide remote sensing and geographic information systems services and to support research and teaching in the application of GIS and Remote Sensing.
ADVANCE (Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement) programme is a USAID-funded project, re-designed in 2011 to comply with USAID’s new Feed the Future strategy.