A representative of Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Mr. Patrick David, has said that the AMIS CAPI system which cost $600,000 (N240 million) would provide an unparalleled access to agriculture data to various stakeholders across the country and, in turn, bring remarkable growth to the agriculture sector. He revealed that following the food crisis that caused extraordinary increase in the prices of food to about 150 per cent in 2008, AMIS was established as an inter-agency platform to enhance food market transparency and encourage coordination of policy action in response to market uncertainty at the request of Agriculture Ministers of the G20 in 2011. David made the statement recently in Abuja during the official handover ceremony of Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) system developed through the Agricultural Market and Information System (AMIS) project to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In a bid to ensure Nigerians have easy access to more data on agriculture, FAO Nigeria had handed over the CAPI system developed with the support of AMIS for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. AMIS is an inter-agency platform housed in FAO and this particular project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. AMIS was initiated in 2011 by the Ministers of Agriculture of the G20 countries to improve food market transparency, coordination and monitor price volatility. As part of the deliverables of AMIS, CAPI System was developed in Nigeria for the collection of agricultural data. The CAPI system will be domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) for supervision and monitoring, following the handover ceremony to the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Bukar Hassan, who represented the minister said, “the only way agricultural production can be sustained is when the farmers can be able to reach out to various markets to sell their products and make some returns to enable them to invest, and therefore today’s programme gave us a unique opportunity to move away from traditional marketing system to a more digital and sustainable method where we will be able to ensure that whatever we have produced and the figures we are going to have, in terms of production, is accurate, and therefore food security will be ensured.” The CAPI system is also equipped with capacity to provide near real-time agriculture data, through crowd-sourced data from various players in the agriculture value chain. The platform has a web-based repository that will provide easy access to agricultural data producing agencies and other agricultural market stakeholders across Nigeria. The CAPI system will also impact the ability of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to execute their mandates by reducing cost of data production as it will eliminate cost of printing paper questionnaires, hiring data entry operators, and use of courier services.
Speaking at the handover, the National Project Coordinator, Mr. Olutayo Oyawale, said the CAPI system would provide an unprecedented access to agriculture information from various stakeholders across the country that will, in turn, deliver tremendous growth for the agriculture sector.
Speaking further, Oyawale said: “Real-time data gathering has always been a problem in the agricultural sector. With this CAPI System, investors, agriculture merchants, traders and farmers can make better decisions and optimise their activities in their respective roles. Today, we bring to fore, a system that will bring about a paradigm shift in the way we collect and manage agriculture data in Nigeria. The excess produce of a farmer in Kano, might be key to fulfilling the scarcity of a factory in Kansas or Kentucky in the United States of America, thousands of miles away.” He stressed that through the use of data, businesses and, certainly, players in the agriculture sector, will be able to connect with a broader range of consumers and maximise profit, adding that the focus of AMIS was on four crops: wheat, maize, rice and Soyabeans.