The necessity of information at the MAI (2-2) [Archives:2004/768/Business & Economy]

August 30 2004

By Taufik A. Al-Dobhani
The G.D. for Agricultural Marketing
For the Yemen Times

Data is collected from the 7 Governorates (i.e. Sana'a, Aden, Taiz, Al-hudaida, Mokalla, Ibb and Sayoun) and transmitted to the HQ in Sana'a where further assessment, verification and analysis are undertaken. Meanwhile, the project has established an information flow canal on the local level by broadcasting the prevailing prices and related quantities of agricultural commodities and products through Radio stations where available. These activities are conducted with the objective of informing farmers and others of the movements of the market so that farmers in particular are better off with respect to marketing and production decisions.
On the other hand, the flow of data and information to the HQ, represents an adequate basis for the creation of reliable and up to date database of information, available and sustainable over the long term. Due to the fact that accumulated data and information are considered to be provided largely in Roh-forms, increased efforts are made at the HQ to re-check their validity, categorize them, and analyze them, so that they can be presented to different users in desirable forms. These efforts have resulted in summarizing data collected over a year and publishing it by means of annual reports. So far, 7 progressive annual reports, on the movements of prices and quantities of the main fruits and vegetables in selected Yemeni wholesale markets, have been published. By comparing and contrasting the different versions of annual reports, one observes that progress has been made in terms of contents, as well as with respect to the form of presented data. However, despite the progressive improvements, there are still ambitious objectives to be targeted in the future. On one side, data and information contained in the annual reports still need to cover more markets and all governorates in order to become more representative for the entire country. Additionally, collected data and information has to cover, (in addition to the wholesale markets), the respective retail markets, the production process and related agricultural input markets.
Since the MIS project's performance is subject to resource constraints, it can not cover all of these aspects unless more resources are allocated to it. Nevertheless, during the last 7 years of this project, it has established a good basis towards the sustainable provision of an adequate database, facilitating essential market analysis related to the main agricultural produce. In the near future, the project will initiate its next phase with the aim of widening its coverage to including a further 5 provinces. Undoubtedly, this will contribute towards further improvements of the agricultural sector in general – it will provide more data and information on the domestic agricultural market in particular, which will be of vital importance for agricultural exports as well. The project plans to initiate its second phase activities by September 2004 and is expected to last for 30 months. Basically, it is aimed at widening and developing the currently applied information flow system for the main agricultural products. Hence, it is expected to cover up to 12 main wholesale markets in 12 governorates of the republic so that data and information on agricultural marketing products will be available and easily accessible. This data will be assessed, analyzed, and ultimately published, on an annual basis through the annual report on marketed agricultural products. To ensure sustainable performance and development of the system, it is expected that the project will train local personnel at both provincial and HQ levels, and update their knowledge, in particular, in the fields of data management and information processing. On the other hand, the MAI should, after the projects completion, support the GD for agricultural marketing, by ensuring proper system application and development, through allocating the sufficient resources required, in particular, for technical personnel. Obviously, the Ministry, through its deputy and vice deputy, is considers the developed system as an essential progression towards improving sector and sub-sector database systems, which will provide all the necessary data and information, for all parties involved in agricultural related processes, including the export sector. In addition, the overall trend of macro policies, tends to focus on assisting the export sector for the purposes of increasing the quantity and improving the quality of exports and to ease the control of its related processes. All these and other efforts can only be successfully implemented if all the related information is provided and delivered in desirable forms, from the lower to upper levels so that the decision making process can be supported at all levels.