By: Linda Dede Nyanya Godji Incoom.
In a two-day Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on a National Agricultural Data Infrastructure, key stakeholders from the public, private, and development partners unite to address the critical need for a harmonized agricultural data infrastructure to drive Agriculture and Climate Resilience.
The workshop, hosted by the Government of Ghana and convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat, brought together experts and decision-makers to deliberate on the establishment of a Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) to revolutionize data management in Ghana’s agricultural sector. The event was funded by the Open Society Foundations (OSF), and in partnership with Farmerline, AICCRA and Esoko.
In an opening address, the Senior Director, Trade Oceans and Natural Resource Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mr. Paul Kautoke, emphasized the urgent need to foster consensus, spearheading a DPI that would effectively manage agricultural data in the country.
In his presentation, the Adviser, Agriculture & Fisheries Trade Policy at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Benjamin Kwasi Addom, shed light on the indispensable role of a well-coordinated and efficient data infrastructure in Ghana’s agricultural sector, particularly in the face of pressing climate change issues.
The Guest of Honor, Mr Iddrisu Yakubu, the Director of the Multilateral Relations Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Coordinating Ministry of the dialogue, emphasized the crucial role of robust agricultural data infrastructure.
“As we stand at the crossroads of technological advancement and the imperative to mitigate and adapt to climate change, the role of robust agricultural data infrastructure cannot be overstated. For Ghana, where agriculture plays a central role in the livelihoods of a significant portion of the population, harnessing the power of data is not just a choice but a necessity.” Mr. Iddrisu Yakubu said.
Participants acknowledged the challenge posed by the existence of multiple data repositories, leading to duplication and fragmented information. They agreed that harmonizing and coordinating these resources would greatly accelerate developmental initiatives within the agricultural space.
Dr. Abu Sakara, in his closing remarks, emphasized the need for a harmonized system within a DPI and a robust cyber security measures to safeguard the integrity of the data infrastructure.
Representatives from various institutions attended the workshop. These include the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), CSIR, GMET, EPA, MESTI, IFDC, Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana, ESOKO, Farm Radio Int., Farmerline, Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA), Ghana Cocoa Board, media organizations, and the financial sector, which plays a pivotal role in agricultural development.
The sessions covered a range of topics, including showcasing existing climate-resilient agricultural data systems in Ghana, designing the architecture of the DPI, exploring market and business models for monetizing data, and addressing governance and administration aspects of the infrastructure. The forum provided a platform for the adoption of agricultural data standards across the Commonwealth, highlighting the significance of collaboration beyond national borders.
The establishment of a harmonized agricultural data infrastructure holds immense potential for Ghana’s agricultural sector.
In conclusion, accurate and consistent data will empower policymakers, researchers, and farmers to make informed decisions, optimize resource allocation, and implement effective strategies. This coordinated effort will enable targeted interventions, promote sustainable practices, and mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture, ultimately ensuring improved food security, resilience, and sustainable agricultural development.
As Ghana makes strides towards transforming its agricultural landscape, the call for a harmonized DPI resonates as a critical step forward. The workshop’s outcomes and the shared vision among stakeholders will pave the way for a data-driven future, fostering innovation, inclusivity, and collaboration in Ghana’s agricultural sector.