by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Digital platform launched to support the agriculture sector
- Site provides range of services that can be accessed by farmers and agri-processors
Maryam Tawfiq, a journalist with the passion for revamping the agriculture sector, has provided farmers with a platform that serves as an easy solution for transformative agribusiness. The Agricultural Network is a digital platform for members to share pertinent information with agriculture suppliers and customers. The site consists of a user-friendly directory and research centre designed to accommodate people, businesses, institutions and organisations involved in the sector. This will help solve some barriers that exist between access to market and agriculture producers and offers farmers who sign up for membership to access the services and to network with other producers around the country, then regionally and globally.
Adopting the theme “Let’s make Agriculture great again” Tawfiq provided stakeholders with a comprehensive tutorial of how to navigate the website http://www.theagriculturalnetwork.com and the range of services that can be accessed by farmers and agri-processors including social media –Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – to boost members online presence. For those who are not tech-savvy, the website offers the option of messaging producers directly via WhatsApp or SMS.
Tawfiq said even more critical is the need to inform and update farmers with relevant information on what’s happening in agriculture through an information centre that will be available on the website. “The Agricultural Network is actually 3 parts; the first part is the directory. Later on, we are going to launch the talk forum where people can discuss agriculture issues and topics openly. The next phase of the platform is a 24-hour online television channel which will be basically streaming programmes of agricultural content.”
The website launched on Friday, received endorsements from the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) represented by Reginal Andal and the Ministry of Agriculture. Andal has called Tawfiq’s online platform a tool that will revolutionise the agricultural industry through the facilitation of trade and networking. While encouraging farmers to utilise the platform available to boost their networking, Andal admitted that based on prior experience working with farmers it has been quite difficult to achieve this type of synergy and highlighted the decline in the momentum of an initiative launched by CARDI to promote the production of cassava as one typical example.
“I would like to encourage those of us who have the power big or small to partner with Ms Tawfiq to make this Agriculture Network a success to help generate income for ourselves. A very difficult thing in Grenada is to get farmers to buy in and to connect with us in this cassava bread revolution because farmers are very closed in…so you ask them to connect with you so that we can plan so that they themselves can get better results by us marketing their products but yet still we find it difficult to get that connection.”
Land Use Officer within the Ministry of Agriculture, Trevor Thompson, on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture, Yolande Bain-Horsford pledged the ministry’s support towards ensuring that the site remains a viable tool in advancing and promoting the local agriculture sector. “ This Agricultural Network is visionary, it is timely, and it is a great tool for bringing farmers, the public and the ministry together. I was browsing the site, and already I saw that there is a host of technical information that farmers, producers, the vendors can use to assist them. It also provides information on supplies, tools, and products the agricultural needs and it will help to promote the ministry’s activities.”
The website is now accessible to the public.