NAREI’s extension officers undergoing training to operate new data collection system

Several extension officers of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) are currently undergoing training to operate the new tablet-based data collection system.

The new gadgets, which were donated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), will strengthen the monitoring systems for gathering and assessing production data.

Digital tablets donated by the FAO

It will also allow extension officers to transmit information relating to pest and disease attacks, crop and soil type and other real time data from the fields to the server at NAREI’s main office.

NAREI’s computer specialist, Andre Razah told DPI on Tuesday, that the training course is at phase two, with approximately 75 officers from Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten benefitting.

He said the agency wants to ensure that every individual operating the digital handbook understands the system entirely. As such, NAREI’s information technology team is currently hosting one on one tutorials across the various districts.

To ensure the new system is maintained and works effectively, NAREI will also provide each device with one gigabit of data every month.

The FAO had made similar donations to the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) earlier this month, which will see the advancement of its field monitoring capabilities.

NAREI extension officers undergoing training

The $3 million donation included 30 tablets, 10 of which were handed over in April of this year, tablet cases, a server, a backup battery, external hard drives and data entry software tools.

Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, MP, said the technology upgrade will be a significant boost to agriculture’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“I want to commend the FAO, I want to thank the FAO for partnering with our country over the years, especially our government to improve the agriculture sector, not only the rice sector, but the agriculture sector.

We appreciate the guidance that the FAO has given us. We value its support and look forward for continuous support.”

Expressing thanks to the FAO, the minister said the new system will provide real time statistics, which will allow the head office to follow all activities happening in fields nationwide.

FAO Representative, Dr. Gillian Smith

FAO representative, Dr. Gillian Smith explained that the system will also reduce the time required to crunch numbers, as well as the probability of introducing human typos.

“It creates faster and more accurate and comprehensive reports that support planning, faster corrective actions and decision and policy making,” Dr. Smith added.

Minister Mustapha said his ministry continues to work to revamp its extension services.