Agric officials trained on countrySTAT
Monday, March 31, 2014
Over 40 Ferrous officers within the Ministry of Agriculture recently ended a two-day capacity- building training workshop on Country STAT, at the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure building, along the MDI road in Kanifing.
The training, which was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, was organised by the Department of Planning, under the Ministry of Agriculture, with funding from the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP). It is meant to implement and strengthen the collaboration between statistical institutions, Ministries of Agriculture and other relevant institutions in the country.
Speaking at the ceremony, Aba Gibriel Sankareh, the head of planning who doubles as the coordinator of CountrySTAT informed the participants that CountrySTAT is a web-based information system that allows gathering and monitoring of national and sub-national food and agriculture data in compliance with international standards. Easily accessible and maintained, he said, “it provides a solid framework for improved accessibility to reliable and timely data, which is essential for implementing better policies and investments in agriculture.”
The head of planning stated that the implementation of this system would also help to strengthen the collaboration between statistical institutions, Ministries of Agriculture and other relevant institutions in the country.
He explained that the National CountrySTAT Secretariat that comprises members from different institutions is responsible for the maintenance and updating of the system. The collected data is standardised according to international standards and is made available to all users in a single access-point.
For his part, Sulayman Touray of the CountrySTAT unit, who underscored the importance of the training, said when data is collected there is a process that’s carried out, called the validation, standardisation and verification before it is put into the system. He pointed out that, CountrySTAT is Gambia owned and it is here to endure, saying the CountrySTAT originated from GlobalSTAT to countrySTAT and now they are executing it at the regional level.
Touray disclosed that CountrySTAT is being carried out in all the sub-Saharan countries, noting that all the countries are part of the network.
For his part, Kebba NS Jammeh of Kuntaur Agriculture Station stated that information is key in any activity related to development. He thus described the training as very significant. As he put it, it will enable people to improve in different areas not only in agriculture but also in anything related to data issues.
Jammeh urged the organisers to continue this training to regional level where it will be synchronized to the data that are collected in each region. ‘I am optimistic that if there is an organised team at the regional level it will be easy when we reach at the country level,” he noted.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Borry Mansa Demba from the National Environment Agency (NEA), thanked CountrySTAT for coming up with the initiative, saying “this step-down training workshop is significant because it exposes them to know more about CountrySTAT.” He urged his fellow participants to share the knowledge gained from the training with their colleagues in the various organisations.
Author: Samba Jawo