NewsWest AfricaGhana's agriculture gets boost as new online platform launches

Fri,18Apr2014

Posted on Thursday, 04 April 2013 13:19

Ghana's agriculture gets boost as new online platform launches

By Lawrence Quartey

Ghana has launched an online platform that will improve access to data and the system is expected to boost agriculture.

 

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ghana's Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services (CERSGIS)  at the University of Ghana in Accra jointly developed the platform.

The use of Geographical Information Service (GIS) technologies will provide essential information such as locations of small holder farms, aggregators, processors, tractor service providers, warehouses and weather stations.

Agriculture contributes about 25 percent to Ghana's Gross Domestic Product and employs more than half of the country's population.

The GIS online platform is expected to increase the efficiency of all value chain actors and industry leaders as managers base critical management decisions on reliable data.

"Ultimately, it is our hope that Ghana's agricultural industry will become competitive in the domestic and global markets.

"It is comprehensive date site that will provide agric-related spatial data sets in a user friendly mode to stakeholders of the sector," said Foster Mensah of the CERSGIS.

"This portal is a good source of reference for commercial and smallholder farmers as well as development partners in the agric sector."

The site, which CERSGIS will manage, is supported by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which will contribute data sets and the ADVANCE (Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement), a USAID-funded project, and other development partners.

The platform is set to improve spatial management and information dissemination, provide online tools for extracting and sharing information on agriculture and create opportunities for enhancing quality of data and dissemination.

The portal www.gis4ghagric.net allows users to explore data on crop farms and production volumes among other things.

Tom Carr, a USAID official said lack of data sets on Ghana's agriculture sector inspired the project.

"It is an open site for all projects. We have created a much more dynamic system for accessing the data on the agriculture sector in Ghana," he said.

"CERSGIS intends to create work spaces on the site for development partners and institutions who might be interested for their projects to be mapped and put on the site."



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