On 18-19 May 2022, the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) and Permanent Interstate Committee for drought control in the Sahel (CILSS) jointly organized a workshop in an hybrid format on the development of database on agricultural statistics in Niamey, Republic of Niger under the theme “Agricultural Database Development for Better Policy Making and Ensuring Food Security” that gathered representatives who are responsible for agricultural database development from 12 African francophone Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), including Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.
The workshop was presided over by H.E. Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Issaka Zabeirou, who chaired the opening ceremony in the presence of Dr. Mahalmoudou Hamadoun Maiga, Regional Center of the AGRHYMET (Assessing sustainability and effectiveness of climate information services in Africa), Director General of Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), Dr. Mohamed Abdellahi Ebbe, and Dr. Ismail Abdelhamid, IOFS Director of Programmes and Project Office, who delivered the statement on behalf H.E. Mr. Yerlan A. Baidaulet, IOFS Director General. All statement were unanimous in agreeing on the importance of database and statistics to cover the issues of ensuring food balance in OIC Member States, including search for reliable statistics and upload of the indicators in the IOFS data visualization platform.
The Workshop also listened different international organizations delivering presentations on how to utilize agricultural data for policy making and compare the different platforms created by other organizations, which helped the participants to learn how to use the information of agricultural database to formulate policies that can be beneficial for their agricultural sector development. Among such presentations, it is important to highlight that of Ms. Diana Dushniyazova, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Kazakhstan Aerospace Authority clearly demonstrated the various use of satellite data for agricultural purpose. Representative from Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations (FAO), Mr. Salar Tayib and Ms. Aydan Selek, have discussed about the data sources of Food Balance Database and how to utilize data for policy making, Dr. Ali Eissa, Representative of Arab Organization of Arab Development (AOAD) has discussed about the indicators of food security and agricultural sustainability. CILSS representative, Mr. Jean Claude, introduced the ECOAGRIS Platform and the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS), through Dr. Waraporn Saelee, shared its experience on the National Agri-Food Information System (NAIS), while Mr. Abu Husain Mohammad Kamruzzaman, IOFS Database Program Manager, made a valuable introduction to IOFS Food Balance Database.
It is important to note that the IOFS Delegation was assisted at the Workshop by the Senior Liaison Officer, Mr. Abdula Manafi Mutualo, who also moderated some sessions of the event that was held within the framework of CILSS expertise in dealing with inadequacies of existing information systems in the West African countries and in line with ECOWAS integrated regional information system on the agricultural sector called “ECOAGRIS” established in January 2005, as well as within the establishing process of the IOFS Food Balance Database, which is to monitor the food security level of OIC Member States.
At the end, representatives of agricultural statistics from IOFS/CILSS common Member States were more knowledgeable on IOFS Food Balance Database and the ECOAGRIS platforms. The participants are also i) were trained with the objectives, functioning and content of both platforms; ii) learned how to use the platforms (parameterization, data entry, data validation and generation of indicators); and iii) reviewed the indicators of the agricultural production module in order to define the most relevant indicators to be filled in by all participating countries, and received certificates of participation.