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FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Founded in 1966, the Asia and Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics (APCAS) is a statutory body of FAO, bringing together senior officials from member countries in the Asia and Pacific region who are responsible for the development of agricultural statistics in their respective countries. They meet biennially to review recent developments in their agricultural statistical systems and exchange ideas with experts from FAO and other organizations on the state of food and agricultural statistics in the region.

Asia and Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics (APCAS)

Asia and Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics
The Asia and Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics (APCAS) is a statutory body of FAO. APCAS brings together senior statistics Officials from FAO member countries of the Asia and Pacific region, who are responsible for the development of agricultural statistics in their respective countries. They review the developments in their agricultural statistical systems since the last session and exchange ideas with experts from FAO and other organizations on the state of food and agricultural statistics in the continent.

The Commission's recommendations serve to determine FAO's work plan for statistics. Solutions to many of the issues raised by the Commission come in the form of technical recommendations in the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture (WCA), a decennial programme led by FAO since 1950. The Commission also takes stock of the capacity-building needs of member countries and helps FAO focus its efforts on providing technical assistance and training for its member countries. More recently it fostered the advancement of a standard methodology for assessing the capacity of countries to produce agricultural and rural statistics.

Membership
As per the Statute of the Commission, the Membership of the Commission is open to all Member Nations of FAO and Associate Members whose territories are situated wholly or partly in the Asia and Pacific Region or who are responsible for the international relations of any non-self-governing territories in the Region.

Purpose of the Commission
To review the state of food and agricultural statistics in the Region and advise Member Nations on the development and standardization of agricultural statistics within the general framework of FAO's work in the field, and to convene working parties or other Subsidiary Bodies of national experts required for this purpose.

Purpose of the meetings

The agenda for each APCAS session is prepared with a view towards focusing on the current issues in the statistical systems in the region.

The biennial meetings of the Commission are organized to: 
(i) assess the current status of food and agricultural statistical development in member countries; 
(ii) inform the member countries about the FAO activities in food and agricultural statistics during the preceding biennium, particularly in Asia and the Pacific; and
(iii) discuss new developments in agricultural statistics.

What APCAS does in the region

Improving national statistical capacities

APCAS supported the Asia-Pacific region's input into the formulation of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics and the Action Plan of the Asia-Pacific Regional Strategy. The Strategy is the outcome of a three-year effort initiated by the UN Statistical Commission, supported and developed by FAO, the World Bank, and an extensive consultation process involving national statistics offices, ministries of agriculture, and other government and private institutions.

Supporting new agricultural data systems

The Commission supported the establishment of the Regional Data Exchange System (RDES) and CountrySTAT, a web-based statistical information system involving 15 member countries. RDES serves as a major depository of agricultural statistics data for Asia and the Pacific, and is a main portal on national agricultural statistics data as well as links to websites of relevant international and national organizations.

The Agricultural Market Information System, or AMIS, was designed to address gaps in information on agricultural production, markets, food stocks, trade flows and utilization. The AMIS initiative encourages major players in agrifood markets to share data, enhance existing information systems, promote better understanding of food price developments, and further policy dialogue and cooperation. APCAS works as a forum to monitor the capacity of market observation systems in the region as well.

Promoting the sharing of developments

The agenda for each APCAS session is prepared with a view towards focusing on the current issues in the statistical systems in the region. Key items covered in past sessions include: innovations and issues in agricultural censuses, estimation of crop area, monitoring of crop growth, yield estimation, food security statistics, and use of information and communication technology (ICT) and remote sensing for reliable and timely statistics.