December 1, 2017 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
German International Cooperation (GIZ) in partnership with the Sierra Leone Chamber for Agribusiness Development (SLeCAD) on Tuesday November 28th, 2017, concluded a day’s workshop on Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) at the Family Kingdom conference Hall, Aberdeen in Freetown.
According to the organisers, AMIS seeks to collect, process and disseminate information on the situation and the dynamics of agricultural markets in the country.
Speaking during the workshop, chairperson of the programme,Sadiq Sillah, who also doubles as chairman of SLeCAD, said the workshop was very much important to the development of the nation, adding that the country can’t feed itself hence there was every need to invest in Agro business as an emerging economy.
“For so long, people in Sierra Leone thought agriculture is for poor people ,but rather agriculture is also for highly placed people in society,” he said.
The SLeCAD chairman encouraged young people to be engaged in Agro business in Sierra Leone, stating that it would sustain food security in the country.
SLeCAD’s Executive Secretary, Ahmed Nanoh,said the chamber was established to promote private investment in Sierra Leone and that they have been doing so since 2009 to date.
He said they have been offering services like value chain addition and promoting knowledge management systems in the country.
Mr .Nanoh stated that access to market was very key and that without a structured market, one cannot develop the agricultural sector, especially Agribusiness.
“Making information system as a priority is very critical in the development of Agribusiness in Sierra Leone,” he said.
He observed that it would be good for the country to have a perfect marketing information system about the product, where it is available, who sells it, the price, and the quantity, thus thanking GIZ and partners for helping them up the initiative.
GIZ ‘s Representative ,Jacques P. Sam ,said as a country, Sierra Leone was now one step closer because the consultant has investigated the information system so as to know the one for Agribusiness in the country
He encouraged everyone to provide their sincere opinion on the findings so as to better the information system on Agribusiness in the country.
Whilst doing a power point presentation on AMIS, Chinedu Ehujuo and Diego Barreiro spoke about the benefits of the system, what it’s about, the issue of warehousing, trending of prices, comparisons, and information amongst a host of others.
One of the presenters, Chinedu Ehujuo,said through the AMIS early warning, security would be made possible, citing example of the recently Fall Army worm which farmers didn’t know about but with this system they would be abreast with every emerging disease.
For Diego Barreiro, AMIS seek to collect process and disseminate information on the situation and the dynamics of agricultural market, stating that the key beneficiaries would be farmers, traders and processors.
The African Initiative Universal Development (AIUDO) lead Consultant & Technical Advisor, Samson Kabonda, disclosed that consultants have done feasibility studies to establish a functional information system.
“Information helps in good decision- making and early warning alert system, though there are already information system in the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) in Sierra Leone,” he said.
The lead consultant said some of the key findings during the research were demand for information on livestock, predominating current channels of dissemination, value chain commodities in demand, amongst others.
He revealed that AMIS has been successful in other parts of the world including Mali, Togo, Nigeria Guniea, among other countries, adding that it has impacted to promote food Security, poverty reduction and regional trade, thus urging partners to invest in the system.
He said the means of transmission can be the internet, radio, print, email and SMS, stating that radio is the most effective means of reaching people in the country.