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FAO South Sudan trains 120 new Market Information Specialists nationwide
In order to strengthen the current Market Information System (MIS) in South Sudan, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is building the capacity of national institutions to collect, analyse and use information about food, agriculture and markets. In partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) and the National Bureau of Statistics, FAO has completed nationwide training on market price data collection. As a result, 120 new Market Information Specialists are now contributing to the data flow throughout the country – up to county level.
An MIS is crucial to enable inclusive, efficient and resilient agriculture and food systems. It is an important tool to understand the functioning of markets and monitor market prices to gauge their impact on household food access, and creates a transparent platform for easy access to data. Also, MIS lays the foundation for informed decision-making and policy development.
“The challenge is that very few have invested the time and money to develop such systems in a volatile environment like South Sudan,” explains Kennedy Nanga, FAO Economist. “The MIS system is now being built from the ground up and integrated within the existing institutions. We looked at what the most important and useful information is to gather for analysis and have built a system for it.”
In order to create an effective system, FAO is pioneering the use of an SMS application for the registration of prices, price data analysis and interpretation, hoping that this will allow Market Information Specialists in typically hard-to-reach, remote areas to transmit timely and valuable data from the markets. This real-time data capture is fed into an online repository, with a user interface for data query, graphing and data export facilities.
“We are very excited about this new SMS application as it is more efficient, allowing me to report on time,” explains Henry Acidri a new Market Information Specialist. “Before, I was doing everything manually but would face challenges in the field such as printing when there is no fuel for the generator. Also, now the information goes straight into the system, so people can see the price of maize right away, for example.”