An effective agricultural information management system (AIMS) provides policymakers, planners and economic players access to reliable and timely information that is necessary for policy development, emergency preparedness, planning, and decision-making in the context of programme management.
It contributes directly to the main development objective of revitalizing agricultural and natural resources growth, enhancing food security and promoting rural development. Since 2006, the SADC Secretariat has embarked on establishing regional AIMS to spearhead the collection, analysis, dissemination, archiving of information and integration of various information systems in the region.
Regular collection of data in agriculture and natural resources is mandatory to monitor progress made towards achieving targets sets by the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Dar es Salaam Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security made by SADC Heads of State. The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) Directorate disseminates agricultural information through the AIMS.
Under the project ‟Support towards operationalization of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy”, (STOSAR) key actions being undertaken on the AIMS programme include; sensitization of stakeholders, assessment of national agricultural information systems, and formation of a regional AIMS committee. National capacities are to be enhanced and linked to the regional system, this setup allows authorised users to enter and update agricultural information and statistical data, and to generate dashboards, country profiles and other reports. Its sources of data being primarily from Member States, with input from secondary sources to cover any gaps.
The data content covers a wide range including; information on crop and livestock production, livestock numbers, populations vulnerable to food insecurity, national requirements for staple commodities, trade markers, animal diseases, plant pests and diseases, national budgets, macro-economic data and other socio-economic data. Communication products to better inform policy decision-making processes at SADC will be developed. All-in-all, the AIMS standardizes and harmonizes relevant agricultural data to ensure international comparability, reliability and accessibility.