Digital information hub to improve agriculture trade in central, eastern Africa

The newly appointed executive director Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) Mr Enock Warinda (L) chats with one of the agricultural experts during the opening of the ASARECA consultative meet on Thursday in Entebbe. Photo/ Paul Adude

The executive director Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) Enock Warinda has said the digital ASARECA knowledge and information hub is set to improve trade and productivity of agriculture among member states.
“The hub brings all sorts of data in regard to agricultural research for development in eastern and central Africa, the hub brings with it an e- library which provides documents, journals which the farmers may want to use to improve productivity and trade” he said.

Mr Warinda made the remarks during the ongoing consultative review and planning workshop on knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation for climate relevant R&I under CAADP-XP4 program in Entebbe.
“The experts gathered to discuss how ASARECA can gather the data, process the data and take it back to the farmers so as they can improve on their productivity, access to the market and trade” he said.

Mr Warinda said the e-portal will be launched next year in April during the ASARECA’s general assembly.
“The monitoring and evaluation experts who are meeting here will process the data share with us on the e- portal. We will process and take it back to the farmers as a ready product of information to guide them on when to plant, how to plant, know the good agronomic practices and connect with each other and scientists” he said. 
Mr Warinda said the data centre that will cost $250,000 (Shs 889 million) will enable policy makers advise legislators on planning for the agricultural sector.
The Director for internal audit, monitoring and Evaluation at the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) in Cameroon Mr. Christopher Suh said it’s a welcoming idea to bring together experts from the region to share knowledge on agriculture.

“Monitoring and evaluation has been left behind in most of the countries in the sub region, we have not been collecting data adequately enough but now we are going to learn and enhance the collection of quality data for sharing among member countries” he said.
Mr Suh said data sharing will open opportunities in agriculture that were lacking in the past in the region.
“Within the sub region they have been limited international projects, partnerships with those advanced countries because we didn’t share our data adequately within the member countries” he said.