Agriculture: food and nutrition has been a major global focus in recent times and to see this sector become sustainable with the current global economic issues in the world today, it has become imperative that governments look for sustainable solutions for their economies to increase their GDP.
This necessitated the need for Edah with its aims to map existing farms and produces of farmers in Edo state Nigeria in order to gather data, visualize and open up the agric system in the state to attract investors and share farmer’s success stories.
This was the case with Edoagrihub field enumerator’s as the major goal as narrated before, during and after the field work was among others, was to map existing farms/farm produces and farmer’s data in Edo State, particularly in Orhionmwon local Government Area with a view to analyze and visualize regularly the data output as it will be a veritable tool to aid decision making for government to project the activities of farmers and tell their stories.
On this premise, we began work on a bright Friday morning, after the previous day’s journey to a land of great agricultural opportunities residing in a community known as Abudu in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
The team intimated the community head and elders with some farmers present, about the purpose of visit and to seek their cooperation. The purpose of the visit the team reiterated was that EDAH as a service tool will help farmers with the relevant information they need to work better, People will be better informed about the agriculture sector and see opportunities for investment/ more innovation in the sector, help grow the sector which will mean more jobs, businesses and economic growth and the relevance of open data and how utilization of data can spur economic growth
The hospitality of the communities was outstanding as kola nuts, bush meat, different meals, fresh Palm wine (aka. Palmy), security etc were provided to the team.
After the long speech about the purpose of visit, some mouth-chewing sessions began as they went about with the farmers collecting data alongside drinking some fresh palm wine.
The farmers, who were in very high spirit after listening attentively to the goals of Edoagrihub on data collection accompany us to their various farmlands to be captured via technological devices.
The exercise was mind-blowing to say the least, as most farmers were excitedly visualizing the future of their farms from been a mere farm to becoming a viable commercial entity with short and long term benefits with lots of thanks to the supporting organizations that made this initiative a reality (ODI, Information Communication Technology Agency, Min. of Agriculture & Naural Resources, Ministry of Budget, Planning & Statistics and Edo State Govt.).
We noticed Though scared of the motor-bike-riding farmers both male and female troop on the expressway accompanying us to the farms but later were relieved and excited about the fact that, effective sensitization of farmers brings about the farmer’s best in all he/she does.
As we got along from farm to farm we met a farmer called Mr. Omoruyi Johnson, who said “Now I am sure to pay my bills knowing middlemen that exploit us (Farmers) are no longer in business”.
As the days unfolded, our team visited a waterside farming camp called OZA camp. In this camp cassava farmer live and work daily in a bid to make ends meet, economically that is. These farmers from our teams’ experience will do better if their farm tools are improved to implements talking about mechanization to aid effectiveness, efficiency and timely good yield not for them only but the State at large been the largest Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria in West Africa.
We were more amused daily as farmers rolled out in their numbers, with the willingness and readiness embracing the project by transporting us to their farms within the communities assigned, guaranteed our security from any form of attack and helped to reduce to it minimum, farmer’s impersonation
Indeed the pilot initiative was a success as local innovation was deployed, the rural farmers believes it’s giving a new life to them, eliminate fraud, help get improved cassava variety, irrigation for the crops, help government, international and national investors with the private sector make better decision concerning farmers.
The farmers believes the initiative, will be a continuous exercise, as it has opened new frontiers of hope and encouragement to young people to embrace farming, get new technological trainings in the use of mechanized farming equipments.
We, as field enumerators, strongly believe that this project would be a catalyst to wake up the minds of sleeping people in our communities, help capture the interest of decision makers in investing in more transparency and inclusive initiatives like open data.
We, on behalf of the farmers, say we are grateful to Open Data Institute, Edo State Government, Information Communication Technology Agency(ICTA), Ministry of Budget, Planning & Statistics & Ministry of Agriculture & Natural resources for supporting such a great and timely initiative.