The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs held a Soft Launch of the Information Communication Technology Agri-Extension App which was held at its headquarters today on Thursday.
The session was lead by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture ( IICA’s) National Specialist, Mr. Craig Thomas while Agricultural Assistant Three, Petranilla Estrada-Joseph explained how to use the App during a detailed presentation with Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Samantha Marshal along with other technical and senior staff.
The ICT App is an application that is designed to provide farmers and other stakeholders within the agricultural sector with the means to remotely access agricultural information.
Its Objective is to streamline and improve the interaction and exchange of information between extension workers and farmers and facilitate access to priority information to respond to producers` problems.
In addressing today’s session, Minister Marshall commended the role that Mr. Thomas played in this achievement and noted how delighted she was to see that technology is finding its rightful place in the development of the agriculture sector.
“For us to do this at this time, I think it’s excellent. The truth is, agriculture is growing immensely and so with the limited number of district officers that we have, we have to maximize the resources we have and I think that this is a perfect opportunity that persons would be able to assess the App, not having to wait hours or days to see their district officers, but would be able to access the App and to be able to get the information they require. “
The App came about as a result of meetings which the minister was engaged in with IICA where she sought assistance for local farmers.
The app is a pilot project involving three countries- The Bahamas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda.
Work on the App began back in June to get it up and running with minimal funding.
Thomas acknowledged the local team members within the Ministry of Agriculture who have worked along with IICA in putting together certain aspects of the App which is now available on Google Play Store and the IOS.
“Thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture for letting the technicians work along with ICA to achieve where we are today and as I would have said the App will be launched next week at COTED to the ministers of government.”
Senior Extension Officer Mr. Owolabi Elabanjo welcomed this initiative
“This is a new era for agriculture/agricultural extension when it comes to information dissemination. This is going to really extend and strengthen the way we work in agricultural extension.”
He also disclosed that the extension division has also acquired a modern printer to produce information for those farmers who might not be able to log into to the internet so that information can be accessed either way.
The information available is well tailored to meet the local needs and understanding of all farmers.
Information on the app according to Estrada-Joseph includes water needs, soil needs and nutritional facts. Information on production and harvesting is also among the many tips being offered on the App.
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