FG, FAO Harps on Developing Human Capacity for Sustainable Agricultural Devt

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Gilbert Ekugbe
To achieve sustainable agricultural development for an all inclusive economic growth, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have emphasised on the need to build human capacities to ensure effective data management for the nation’s agricultural sector.

Both parties argreed that application of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) equipment on data generation, analysis and management remains the key instrument for effective policy formulation and tracking the implementation of projects and programmes in the development process of any country.

It is as a result of this that FAO as part of events to mark this year’s World Food Day, donated some ICT equipment to the ministry to strengthen its data management process.

It explained that the project is one of the interventions by the organisation to strengthen institutional capacity for improved data and information systems for policy, planning and tracking of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by the Director, Planning and Policy Coordination Department, Alhaji Zubairu Abdullahi, while receiving the equipment stated that the FAO’s gesture would help in building staff capacity and skills of officers and ensure effective data management for sustainable agricultural development in the country.

The handing over ceremony of the equipment was held in Abuja recently.
The Permanent Secretary commended FAO Nigeria for initiating the project and complementing with the provision of necessary ICT equipment and said it would ensure effective data management in the ministry

He pointed out that the equipment which includes; desktop computers, tablets, printers, local area network, memory cards, internet modems, monitors, projectors and presentation pen, would greatly support the Ministry not only in tracking the SDGs but will also help in analyzing the sector’s performance at the national, regional and continental levels.

He assured that the equipment would be fully utilised by relevant officers in the Ministry for data collection, analysis and management of projects and programmes for the overall development sector.

In his remarks, the Country Representative of FAO in Nigeria, Mr Fred Kafeero, represented by the Assistant Country Representative in charge of Programmes, Dr Suleiman Abubakar, said “FAO in collaboration with FMARD commenced training exercises since last year to equip the statistics experts with the appropriate knowledge and skills required for generating and analyzing data as well as making inferences on statistics using cost-free ICT analysis software packages, adding that about 160 staff have already benefitted from the training including those from FMARD and FCTA”.

He informed that the organisation has carried out various interventions, which include: the sensitization of stakeholders on the global SDGs and core set of statistical data for monitoring agriculture, food security and nutrition, training of data managers on data generation and analysis.

Others are providing and piloting innovations and technologies for the actual data generation and management including local area network facilities for seamless internet connectivity for the statistics units. He disclosed that four states of Adamawa, Cross River, Kano and Lagos as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have benefited from the project.