Since November 2019, Development Gateway (DG) has worked closed with Africafertilizer.org (AFO), the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), the Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), private sector companies, research institutions, and development partners to understand the nature of demand, supply, and use of Ghana’s fertilizer data through the Visualizing Insights on Fertilizer for African Agriculture (VIFAA) program. VIFAA is a four-year partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation being implemented in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana. Together with the partners, we co-designed a dashboard that has aimed to address key decision-making needs, prioritizing data including: fertilizer price, fertilizer use, fertilizer availability, and fertilizer blending as well as identified new opportunities to collaborate in closing data gaps.
Co-design workshop to meet Stakeholders’ Dashboard Needs
In February 2020, a co-design workshop was held with key fertilizer stakeholders (public sector, private sector, and research/university/civil society) in Ghana where a total of eleven key fertilizer indicators were identified as priorities and validated. Out of these, only five indicators had readily available data for the development of the dashboard – international fertilizer price, fertilizer retail price, fertilizer use, fertilizer availability, and fertilizer plant directory. The source of this data was AfricaFertilizer.org. Without data for the six remaining priority indicators, various stakeholders present were identified and agreed to support VIFAA to provide data. The stakeholders provided recommendations for visualizations for each of the indicators which the DG team synthesized the proposed designs to make sure that each stakeholder interest was met. The team then prepared a technical requirement document based on the visualizations and used them for the development of the Ghana VIFAA dashboard.
Ghana VIFAA Dashboard Soft Launch and Feedback Workshop
In the last week of February 2021, the VIFAA Technical Team completed the prototype VIFAA dashboard for Ghana. This dashboard is one of three dashboards, with Kenya already launched and Nigeria in development. This interactive, user-friendly site enables users to:
- View key data on fertilizer price, use, availability, and plant directory in one place;
- Interact with different fertilizer products across years of data; and
- Download data in a variety of formats.
The dashboard currently showcases thirteen different graphics from the five key indicators. In March 2021, the team showcased a draft dashboard to stakeholders for the first time. They collected feedback to improve the ease of use of the visualizations, ease of navigation and interpretation, and usefulness of the dashboard.
DG will apply the feedback obtained from the stakeholder workshop to iterate on the user interface. For example, we will add qualitative data to the graphs to help users better understand and analyze trends in some of the charts, and we will simplify some graphics to further align with user priorities.
As a public sector stakeholder noted, “the credibility of this dashboard is not in doubt. Our participation from the beginning till now signifies our ownership of the process in the realization of the dashboard has been very strong and we will make sure it is sustained.” Going forward, DG will continue to engage and incorporate feedback as stakeholders start to use the dashboard in their work, and to make improvements to ensure the dashboard can be more impactful on decision making.
Secondly, DG will continue to collaborate with stakeholders in Ghana to gain insight on other individuals or institutions we should engage and to gauge their role in the use and sustainability of the dashboard. Additionally, stakeholders have expressed the need for the inclusion of indicators such as Fertilizer Use by Crops (FUBC), Soil Nutrient Levels, and Crop Yields into the dashboard. As such DG will engage with stakeholders on strategies to address data gaps identified in these indicators. This will include working with stakeholders to identify data sources and how to access them to fill data gaps in these processes.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Ghana Fertilizer Dashboard, please contact Wekem Raymond Avatim firstname.lastname@example.org or Vinisha Bhatia-Murdach email@example.com.
In developing the VIFAA Kenya Dashboard, we worked in partnership with Africafertilizer.org (AFO) and the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) to understand the cycle of demand, supply, and use of Kenya’s fertilizer data. Grace Chilande of AFO and IDFC provides more information on why the dashboard is needed and how it will be used.