ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) said today it has received two awards in two categories at the Agri Fin ALE Awards 2021.
The awards were under the category ‘Use of Digital Data to Serve Smallholders’ and ‘Innovations in Public-Private Partnerships Benefiting Smallholder Farmers’.
Under the first category, the agency was able to create a Data Hub which consolidates all existing data sources from the ATA into the Data Hub.
By doing that, ATA said it was able to utilize the data from seven different ATA projects for more comprehensive analysis and decision making.
The ATA Data Hub was also utilized to further support the ATA’s Agriculture Commercialization Clusters of 2.5 Million Farmers, develop more detailed farmer profiles, and position the Data Hub as an open resource that can be leveraged by government ministries, private sector partners and other stakeholders in a variety of ways.
“This recognition will serve as a big boost for the Ethiopian agriculture and for the agency as it recognizes the works, we are doing to help the smallholder farmers we strive to serve.” ATA CEO Dr. Mandefro Nigussie said.
“Having a tool such as 8028 which is the biggest IVR system in Africa and other similar tools such as the National Market Information System (NMIS), backed by various partnerships with various stakeholders will help assist the relentless works that are being done to improve the sector,” Dr. Mandefro said.
The Agency has also won in ‘Innovations in Public-Private Partnerships Benefiting Smallholder Farmers’ category for its work in using the 8028 Farmer’s Hotline, and elocust3m tools for conducting surveys for identifying and locating the occurrence of the Desert locusts, and sending out an alert to inform or warn farmers in the nearby woredas or kebeles based on the predicted movement of the Locust.
Director of ICT for Agriculture at the ATA, Temesgen Gebeyehu said the hotline has been steadily growing and has been providing crucial information to farmers in the past few years.
Apart from supporting efforts to fight off Desert locust, the platform has also been conducting voice and SMS based surveys for identifying the presence of crop disease and pest infestations such as Wheat rust, Maize lethal necrosis, fall armyworm and others.
“The platform has also been providing important information to smallholder farmers, Development agents, and agricultural experts so that they can use it to break the spread of these diseases,” Temesgen said.
Launched in February 2014 in four regions, the 8028 Farmers’ Hotline currently runs on 210 phone lines and is available in five languages.
The service recently surpassed the 48 million calls mark from 5.5 million registered callers.