National Agricultural Information System
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
About National Agricultural Information System (NAIS)  

National Agricultural Information System (NAIS) 
is a national platform for Information dessmination and knowledge sharing and exchange for Agricultural Research and Development (ARD) for target groups and stakeholders in Jordan. 

Objectives of NAIS
  • To strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders to establish an effective and efficient information system that will support agricultural development and ensure food security in Jordan, based on the needs and demands of its stakeholders and integrating the various resources in the MOA.
  • To serve as an information and knowledge repository/exchange mechanism at the national level and a gateway to the national knowledge systems for Agricultural Research and Development (ARD) in Jordan, aiming for strengthening, coordinating, and adding value to initiatives by national programs and regional organizations in order to increase agricultural production and improve food security for the benefit of improving performance of farmers and agrarian businesses. 
The agricultural sector of Jordan employs seven percent of the labour force, and contributes 16 percent to the country's exports. While primary agriculture accounts for only five percent of the GDP, the entire food and agricultural sector (upstream and downstream linkages like agribusiness services and agro-industry) contributes about 29 percent. Despite the country's meager water and cultivable land resources, the agricultural sector is considered as one of the most important economic pillars for integrated development in Jordan.
 
Reliable agricultural information constitutes a corner stone in the planning of agricultural development and formulating relevant policies. The availability of this information is critical in order to enable those involved in the agricultural sector, whether they are individuals or institutions, to make decisions on valid and scientific bases. However, the currently available agricultural information in Jordan is inadequate as a result of many factors, in particular:
 
  • The array of institutions that collect agricultural data and information, and the diversity of the methodologies they use, which often leads to contradictory and unreliable information.
  • The lack of certain types of data and information required in support of the development of the agricultural sector.
  • The lack of coordination and collaboration between institutions concerned with data collection and information provision on the one hand, and information users in the public and private sectors on the other.
The National Agricultural Development Strategy (2002-2010), which was approved by His Majesty the King on 15 July 2002, referred specifically to the development of information and communication capabilities at a national and sub-national level. In order to address this issue, the Minister of Agriculture convened a Consultative Workshop on the Development of an Agricultural Information System in Jordan, which was held on 16 July 2002. The workshop brought together senior managers in the Ministry to discuss the development of a national system for agricultural information. 
 
The common vision derived from the workshop was to establish a National Agricultural Information System (NAIS) that would strengthen and improve agricultural information generation, management, dissemination and exchange for policy-makers, senior managers and national stakeholder groups, using web-based applications and tools. In particular, the envisaged NAIS was expected to assemble and make accessible information that would:
  • Support policy and decision-making in relation to national planning.
  • Provide the basis for monitoring and assessing agricultural production and development.
  • Support research and development, and disseminate the outputs.
  • Support extension services.
  • Provide an institutional memory for the MOA.
The development of a relevant, effective and harmonized National Agricultural Information System (NAIS) is expected to lead MOA, NCARE and other ministries/stakeholders to the following outcome:
  • Improve the capacity to access and exchange information, and to convert it into useful knowledge, as it is very essential for the development objectives of poverty eradication, food security, sustainable development and increased productivity and competitiveness; and
  • Preserve needed resources, make maximize use of the results of other projects and database applications, prevent redundancy and duplication of data and efforts, and ensure maximum co-ordination among various agricultural institutes, programmes and personnel for the benefit of agricultural development and food security.
The following groups of stakeholders in the NAIS were identified in a preliminary way, and it was recognized that these groups and their needs and demands needed to be further defined:
  • Policy-makers in agriculture and rural development, especially in the MOA.
  • Department heads and professional technical officers within the MOA.
  • Other Ministries related to rural development.
  • Universities and colleges with agriculturally-related faculties and departments.
  • Farmers’ and producers’ organizations.
  • Credit and marketing associations and Chambers of Commerce.
  • Private sector involved in agricultural and rural development.
  • Non-Governmental Organizations involved in agricultural development and food security.
  • Regional and International Organizations involved in agricultural development and food security.
  • General Public.
The development of the NAIS shall be underpinned by the establishment of the necessary management bodies and organizational structures that offer flexibility and adaptability, so that the NAIS can respond to the rapidly changing environment of information systems and technologies. The workshop recommended that a Technical Committee be set up to provide technical oversight of the NAIS, to set strategy and approve and review progress on annual work plans, and to monitor administrative aspects including finances. In addition, an Advisory Group should be constituted to provide advice and input on the overall direction of the NAIS, acting on reports produced by the Technical Committee. The Advisory Group should be chaired by the Secretary General of Agriculture, and comprise selected senior officers of the MOA, heads of government bodies collaborating with the MO such as the Department of Statistics, the National Information Centre (NIC), the Agricultural Credit Cooperation, Ministry of Irrigation, the Royal Geographic Centre, and universities and colleges of agriculture.
 
The Information and Computers Department (ICD) of the MOA will be responsible for the coordination of NAIS activities.  The ICD was established fairly recently with the aim of bringing together and coordinate various data and information functions that used to be scattered all over the Ministry of Agriculture. Information management expertise and resources that have been developed within the various MOA units in an uncoordinated way shall be incorporated into the NAIS in a manner which benefits the rest of the system while not undermining the enterprise that has fostered them. Standards and procedures for information management in the NAIS, specifically for data quality, processing, and dissemination, shall be developed and adopted, in compliance with relevant regional and international standards. 

The National Center of Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE) is the leading agricultural research institute in Jordan and has responsibility for applied and adaptive research in all areas of agriculture, and for associated technology transfer to farmers. As both an important producer and user of agricultural information, NCARE will be a major partner in the establishment of the NAIS. Other important potential stakeholders are the Department of Statistics, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Faculties of Agriculture.