The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) with support from USAID, has established the National Food and Agricultural Statistics System (NFASS) to ensure that data related to the agricultural sector is accurate, timely, consistent, disaggregated and accessible to facilitate planning and monitoring, and decision making in MAAIF, local governments as well as inform private sector investment decisions.
“Collecting data has been a challenge to MAAIF because as you’re aware, data is very important for planning. If you are planning you must know what you are planning for, what you have in the country and what you are expecting to send out. Collecting data has been a problem because the process has been under Uganda Bureau Of Statistics (UBOS), and UBOS is also having a challenge in terms of getting real Agriculture data,’’ the permanent secretary to the MAAIF, Mr Pius Wakabi, said during the launch of at MAAIF head offices in Entebbe on Wednesday.
He said they are to use the parish chiefs to collect these data. “We have given them tablets whereby they collect real data from the field enter it and it comes directly to our data center and we shall be collecting data on an annual basis and we shall not be waiting for five years to collect data the way it has been. Therefore we shall be able to know each and every year what we are picking from where and which quantities we are picking,’’ he added.
A total of 55 districts operating under the Agriculture cluster Development project, have been selected to start with, before the program extends countrywide.
The State Minister for Animal Industry Hon Joy Kabatsi said through generating credible agricultural statistics, MAAIF will be able to make evidence-based policy and undertake effective planning, investment analysis and monitoring and evaluation of agricultural sector.
“With USAID support through Feed the future Uganda –Enabling Environment for Agriculture Activity, MAAIF has developed the climate change strategy for the agriculture sector to galvanise efforts to empower stakeholders to take measures towards the reduction of the negative impacts of climate change and variability on agriculture,” said Mr Kabatsi.
The outgoing US Ambassador to Uganda Ms Deborah Malac said: “I am glad to note that the government of Uganda has taken advantage of the resources provided by the United States government to improve its institutional and technical systems in order to address these and other complex challenges facing the agricultural sector.”
She noted that to date USAID’s $25 million investment through the Feed the Future Uganda Enabling Environment for Agriculture Activity has improved the ability of several government institutions to formulate and implement policy.
“I therefore believe that this data centre will generate high Quality statistical data on agriculture to support and drive evidence-based policy and investment analysis, planning and decision making for the sustainable development of the agricultural sector,” Ms Malac added.