Edo ICT Agency , the state’s ministry of Agriculture, SabiHub, the only technology hub in Edo state and Open Knowledge Foundation have organized the first Heckathon (Technology on government Opendata scheme in West African region.
Dubbed Agric Data Hackaton 2015, the participants who were drawn from various universities and tech hubs across the country were asked to focuse on the Ministry of Agriculture, Edo State, analyzing the challenges in the sector and therefore proffer technology solutions, using the available agriculture datasets on Edo State opendata portal (www.data.edostate.gov.ng) for the competition.
Mrs Yemi Keri, the Managing Director of the ICT Agency explained that Edo Opendata provides a platform for citizen engagement and participation in governance, noting that that “ Our achievements are not just for the government but for all to tap into freely hence our data is licensed under the creative common license that enables the free use and reuse of datasets on the portal , providing innovative flexibility of the use of data.”
Hon. Abdul Oroh, the state Commissioner of Agriculture in his remarks challenged the participants to leveraged the available dataset on agriculture to find simple solutions to some of the challenges facing agricultural sector in the state.
According to him, some of the challenges he expected the participants to provide solutions to include, obsolete skills and out-dated technology; inadequate and inaccurate baseline data coupled with poor record keeping as well as lack of qualified personnel collect data from the field; inadequate agro-services to meet the needs of farmers; poor accessibility to credits by farmers; inadequate land; low income and exploitation of farmers by middlemen; non availability of structured market for agricultural products and inadequate storage infrastructure.
Other challenges he mentioned include, low range of enlightenment campaign, inability to prioritize areas of comparative advantage, absence of access roads and lack of processing plants for most of the farm produce.
Emeka Okoye, Africa’s leading technoprenuer and opendata consultant took the participant through some technicalities in data wrangling and data hack. He harped on the importance of using data wrangling to acquire better visualizations and interactive Apps which could improves decision making in governance.
Also, Ayo Rotibi a former world bank consultant and opendata expert motivated the young minds present on the use of latest technologies like Rasberry to achieving more work professionally with less stress.
In his remarks, Mr Seun Onigbinde the co-ordinator of BudgIT, the most successful privately held open data scheme in Africa spoke on pitching and presentation of Ideas. He enlightened the participants on how to use available data to solve common problems, using BudgIT as a case study. He also highlighted some challenges and how they can be surmounted.
Participants were grouped in fives, and the hack spanned for two hours after a presentation was done by representatives from each team for five minutes each after which winners emerged.
Prices and certificates were awarded to the winners and they expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Agric, sabi Hub, Edo State ICT Agency and Open Knowledge foundation for making the event a success with a promise to develop the apps into a working solution for the sector and hoped likes of this will continue in the state.