The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) with support from Irish Aid over the weekend handed over computer and other accessories worth about $45,000 to farmers for early warning on food and nutrition security.
The FAO Acting Country Representative and Head of Programme, Mwesigwa David said though the cost of the equipment is not much, but the main investment is on the training so that the district council will be able to factor this cost and help the farmers and the country.
He disclosed that the items include computers, Global Positioning System (GPS) and Ipads “which will be used mainly for data collection by the district network on food and nutrition security. And they will be able to support district to be able to collect and analysis data and present it as part of an early warning system for food security”
Mwesigwa David said they have trained farmers on early warning and food nutrition since it is important that farmers “know about early warning system, because if they want to plant in one district and they are experiencing infestation of grasshoppers it’s important that people are warned early of what they need to do. It also relates to disease of livestock we want to inculcate in the district so that they have the ability and capacity to detect and responds in time.”
He added that “if this is done well they will be able to budget and plan so that they will be able to produce high quality and quantities in terms of food production, so this information once collected will be shared among the farmers to utilize.
The FAO Acting Rep. maintained that this is an important activity within the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO since food security indicators are key that needs to be monitored and it is key to report early warning issues especially before food and security comes in, because of this “we trained staff of the ministry and partners to be able to collect data that will inform policy makers on what is it they need to know just before problems about food and nutrition come in. We may be talking about floods, rains, infestations of crops, and late distribution of seeds. All this early warning indicators will let people know what to do in time so that they are able to respond quickly”.
He said the programme started with five districts and now it’s eight and the equipment has been procured for the eights districts,” but we need other donors to help in capacity building and training. By 2017 January they will be able to roll out to all the districts”.
Mohamed Sheriff, National Task Force Leader for the Food and Nutrition Security Early Warning System, said the Task Force is a network that implements the Food and Nutrition Early Warning System which is a nationwide project.
He said the project is a multi- national platform where they have trained people from the different levels from different background that has to do with food and security system, adding that the training on Early Warning system in the area of food and nutrition security informs them on how to implement and mitigate action that will not take them to emergency.
Sheriff stated that the first part of the project started with the capacity building of the farmers; second phase is to cascade the project to other areas, to monitor food and nutrition early warning system.
He said there were ten modules including cropping calendar, crop forecast tools, food security tools, nutrition forecast tools, livestock production and marketing information, fisheries and forestry products.