Stakeholders from across the world have shown support for a national agricultural census, saying it will give the government and private sector players the needed data to plan and track development initiatives.
The Deputy Managing Director of OCP Africa Project Incubation West Africa, Caleb Usoh, noted that agriculture was at the heart of the nation’s economic ambition and that specialty census data would support the vital sector in alignment with the growth enhancement strategy.
Specifically, he said the data would be disseminated and used to strengthen the agriculture sector to promote effective planning and policy-making.
He stressed that gathering, analysing and using data on agriculture was an extremely important exercise for the country, adding that it would help to improve decision- and policy making at all levels and sectors.
According to him, “This is critical so we can plan where we should be. We can also fund the exact activities that will take us to where we should be in agriculture. There are a lot of finding interventions that the government brings to bear in agriculture, and these funds have expected outcomes. These statistics will help the government determine where resources should be allocated and where bottlenecks in the value chain process exist. Those statistics actually reveals inherent challenges in the value chain.”
However, the Founder/Chief Executive, JMSF Agribusiness Nigeria, Richard Ogundele noted that agricultural census data could be used as a benchmark for statistics to raise the living standards of communities and improve livelihoods and food security.
Ogundele maintained that an agriculture census would help to monitor and evaluate national development plans and priorities as he hammered on the importance of an up-to-date, reliable and relevant data collection and sharing.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced last year that it will begin the National Agriculture Sample Census (NASC), which has been delayed for nearly 20 years due to funding constraints. The last was conducted in 1993. The Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recommends that it should be conducted every 10 years.
NBS however said it would be collaborating with the World Bank and FAO, its technical partners –in the process.
Speaking at the Stakeholders’ Sensitisation Workshop on National Agricultural Sample Census in Keffi, Nasarawa State, the Director, Demography and Household Statistics Department, NBS, Mr Adeyemi Adeniran, said that the exercise is critical and it would involve the enumeration of all agricultural activities in the country, including crop production, fisheries, forestry, and livestock activities. According to him, conventionally, the agriculture census is meant to be conducted every five to 10 years in line with FAO standards.
“The census is a complete enumeration of all agricultural activities within the country. This enumeration includes both small holder farmers and large corporate farms. The small holders or subsistent farmers will be canvassed through the households, while the corporate farms will be done through our framework for conducting establishment surveys. The implementation of the exercise will be done in two phases, the first being the Listing Phase, and the second being the Sample Survey Phase. Under the first phase, enumerators will visit selected farms and farming households to collect information. The scope of information to be collected in this phase includes demographic details of the holders, type of agricultural activity (crop production, fishery, poultry, or livestock), the type of produce or product (for example: rice, maize, sorghum, chicken, or cow), and the details of the contact persons.
“In the second phase, a sample of the farms listed under the first phase will be taken and more detailed information collected. In addition to the information collected in the first phase, data such as size of the holding, area cultivated, total yield, type of farming practices, inputs, challenges, amongst others, will be gathered.”
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