By Omolola Pedro
The Ogun State Government has launched an integrated digital support platform, Ogun State Farmer Information Management System (OGFIMS), an initiative created with the aim to offer one-stop resources to farmers and other value chain actors in the state. The platform is an initiative of a partnership between by the Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP), and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Speaking during the inauguration ceremony in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, said that the initiative was an effort to unleash the full potentials of the agricultural sector and ensure that farmers have access to agricultural opportunities for improved productivity.
“The digital agricultural initiative fits perfectly into the agricultural agenda of the state to support small-holder farmers, enhance food security, nutrition security, job creation and link manufacturers to the agricultural process”, he said. According to Odedina, the state government had made deliberate inclusiveness plans to ensure that small-holder farmers are not cut off from the opportunities created to drive sustainable supply to industries, through a strategic partnership with the private sector and intentional collaboration with all relevant agencies that have the mandate and resources to support agriculture. “We want to make Ogun State the centre of agricultural excellence, so our smallholder farmers can benefit from opportunities in programmes that will strengthen the value chain and this can only be done if data is available. That is what OGFIMS is aiming at”, he stated.
While also speaking at the inauguration, the Commissioner of Budget and Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, praised the initiative, saying the government had shown interest in new ideas that would augment the agricultural potential of the state. According to Olabimtan, “OGFIMS would add value to the state’s agricultural road map, as it would enhance linking stakeholders to opportunities and updating them with information on agricultural best practices”. The Senior Special Adviser to the Governor of Ogun State on Agriculture, Dr. Angel Adelaja-Kuye said that the digital platform would serve as a database and repository of information and knowledge. Adelaja-Kuye added that the platform would enable farmers be better informed of new agricultural policies, training, events and business opportunities, among others.
Similarly, the lead project consultant, OGFIMS, and lead GermPlasm Health Unit of IITA, Dr. Lava Kumar, explained that the digital platform is an instant and accessible resource for information, communication, coordination, registration of farmers and value chain actors. The digital platform would help in mapping, advisory, e-marketing and other applications to further improve the agriculture and agriculture business sector in the state, he added. Also, the OGSTEP Taskforce Team Lead from World Bank, Abel Lufafa, stressed the need for all stakeholders to work as a team to ensure the success of OGFIMS, noting that positioning farmers for future development would demand a lot of information.