The Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Friday launched the Steering Committee Meeting for an agricultural census at the Ministry’s boardroom, Regent Street.
Permanent Secretary (ag), Joylyn Nestor-Burrowes said that the Agriculture Ministry and the FAO with funding from the Inter-American
Development Bank (IDB) will conduct the census to address weaknesses and gaps in the current statistics and to improve data collection, the Department of Public Information (DPI) said.
DPI said that the Ministry of Agriculture has been selected by the government to be the implementing arm for the census. It will be done under the national oversight of the Bureau of Statistics.
“We need to put what is referred to as a sub-layer framework for the management and implementation of the census, where all decisions that would be made on the census will be done by this body that has the administrative authority given by the National Bureau of Statistics,” FAO representative, Reuben Robertson said.
The last agriculture census was conducted some sixty-five years ago, hence the need for a new one, DPI reported. “The census will provide a picture of the country’s agricultural sector for the reference date. It will also yield a sampling frame for the design of probabilistic surveys, benchmark data for the follow-up and evaluation of agriculture policies and projects, thus becoming an integrated national agricultural statistics system,” Nestor-Burrowes said.
The census will aim to increase the country’s capacity to monitor agricultural policy areas like food security, higher and sustainable income for farmers and ensuring better prices for agricultural produce, among others.
It will also provide a framework for the overall social and environmental dimensions of agriculture and rural development, DPI added.
Robertson said in 2015, the FAO responded to a request from the government for technical help in executing an agriculture census. He noted, since 2016, the organisation has been working along with International Consultant, Camilo Saavedra to provide technical assistance for the census.
“To be able to implement an agriculture census, all of the stakeholders must be on the same page…we have been working with the agriculture ministry to develop a comprehensive project document which points to the scope of the agricultural census and the cost,” Robertson stated.
Preparation of the project document has been arranged and the government has received approval from the IDB for the financing of the census, DPI said. The administration has since recommended that FAO be the service provider for the implementation for the census and this is still in the negotiation phase.
Robertson told DPI his organisation is planning ahead, as there are critical timelines for certain activities prior to implementation of the census.
The steering committee will comprise the Ministry of Finance, National Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture and representatives from the farming community.