Highlighting the importance of reliable statistics and data for policy development, including national agricultural censuses is the goal of weeklong workshop which Samoa is part of this week.
Organised by Food Agriculture Organisation (F.A.O.) the workshop for monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (S.D.G’s) related to food and agriculture is being held in Fiji.
For F.A.O, assisting governments to produce accurate statistics for informed decision-making, and the agricultural census that is a key pillar in national statistical systems and an important data source for both users and producers of statistics, has become critical to the organization’s work in support of its member countries.
The meeting involves more than 40 participants from countries across the Pacific, including several representatives from Samoa, as well as regional and international organizations, the workshop aims to improve awareness about the 21 S.D.G. indicators for which F.A.O. is a custodian agency, and in developing a harmonized approach to collecting and using agricultural and rural statistics in the Pacific.
One of the most important elements of F.A.O’s statistical work is the development and promotion of the decennial World Programme for the Census of Agriculture (W.C.A.). Since the founding of F.A.O. in 1945, it has supported countries to carry out their national agricultural censuses using standard international concepts, definitions and methodologies. Every 10 years, F.A.O. reviews the country experiences, revises and publishes a new set of census guidelines.
“The census of agriculture is the only data collection instrument that produces national statistical information on farms at the lowest administrative level and is therefore an essential source of information for decision makers in member countries”, said Jairo Castano, Leader of the F.A.O. Agricultural Censuses and Surveys Team Statistics Division
Castano emphasized that the census of agriculture is crucial for governments to implement evidence-based policies and programmes for agricultural and rural development, access to land, food security and reduction of the adverse environmental impacts of agricultural activities.
Agricultural census data are also essential for the private sector to make informed decisions that guide their investments in agri-business activities.
“The growing demand for data of better quality, the fast growing digital and mobile technology and at the same time the scarcity of resources for census-taking create new challenges for ensuring that the census of agriculture is conducted in the most cost-effective way within an integrated agricultural statistics system”, he added.
“During the 2010 census round, which covered the period 2006 - 2015, 131 countries and territories conducted censuses of agriculture, out of which 11 in Pacific. That is a new worldwide record surpassing the earlier 2000 census round record of 115 countries,” noted Rasmiyya Aliyeva, F.A.O. Sub-regional Statistician for the Pacific.
The number of Pacific countries that participated in the 2010 census round increased by two in comparison with the 2000 census round.
This eighth and last meeting on the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2020 in the Pacific is part of a series of similar meetings being held in different regions of the world to launch and advocate the new World Programme for the Census of Agriculture.
The other meetings were held between 2016 and 2017 in Kenya, Hungary, Jordan, Senegal, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.