In a bid to strengthen food security via credible and timely data and information planning, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has distributed ICT materials to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Items distributed include desktop computers, tablets, printers, local area network equipment, memory cards, internet modems, monitors, projectors, memory cards and presentation pens, among others.
In his remarks at the event which was part of the activities to commemorate this year’s World Food Day, the Assistant Country Representative of the FAO, Suleiman Abubakar, who represented the Country Representative of FAO, Mr. Fred Kafeero, said data and statistics are crucial in planning and execution of agricultural policies, plans and strategies.
He pointed data and statistics as a key factor in monitoring the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with regards to food security and nutrition.
“As part of the strategy to support the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to strengthen its data and statistical systems, FAO launched a Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) – ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Improved Data and Information Systems for Policy Planning and Tracking the SDGs in Nigeria.The project development objective is to enable inclusive and evidence-based decisions, policies and strategies for agriculture and natural resources at selected federal and state institutions.
“It is expected outcome, therefore, is to reinforce the competences of the statistics units of the participating institutions and departments to generate, analyse, store and disseminate credible and timely data and information for policy planning and tracking the SDGs”he explained.
According to Abubakar, the project which supports various interventions such as the sensitisation of stakeholders on the global SDGs and core set of statistical data for monitoring agriculture, food security and nutrition is implemented in four states of Adamawa, Cross River, Kano and Lagos as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja.
He said the ICT equipment is expected to help smooth operations in the statistics units of the ministries and to also facilitate the effective Coordination of data and statistics generation in the ministries and other government departments.
He said “Our expectation is that the Statistical Coordination Committees, which I am told were actively operational in your ministries in the past, can be resuscitated for proper harmonization and validation of the data and statistics within the ministries and for developing the relevant tools and templates for data sourcing subject to certification by the National Bureau of Statistics”
He further revealed that the equipment will be distributed in all the states involved in the project which includes Adamawa, Cross River, Kano and Lagos as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,
Ernest Umakhihe, while receiving the ICT equipment, said the application of ICT equipment on data generation, analysis and management remains a key instrument for effective policy formulation and tracking the implementation of projects and programs in the development process of any country.
“The gesture of FAO Nigeria for initiating the project and complementing with the job provision of necessary ICT equipment would no doubt help to capacitate the skills of officers and ensure effective data management for sustainable agricultural development in the country.
“Indeed, the provision of these ICT materials would greatly support the Ministry not only in tracking SDGs but also in analysing the sector performance at national and continental levels for overall socio-economic development across the country,” he concluded.