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Statistics key to agriculture sector development

03/10/2017 Apia, Samoa

The Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), the Samoan Bureau for Statistics (SBS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) have been working together to improve agriculture sector information and statistics for Samoa.

The importance of up-to-date and reliable data on the agricultural sector was reiterated at the Statistics Methods Training Workshop which is being conducted at MAF this week.

In his opening remarks the CEO of MAF, Tilafono David Hunter was grateful to FAO for providing technical assistance and encouraged staff to take advantage of the training at hand. “I would like to stress to trainees the importance of this workshop”, said Tilafono. “The key take away from this workshop is the ability to collect quality data”.

On behalf of FAO, Senior Fisheries and Aquaculture Officer, Francis Chopin emphasized the impact of statistics in observing trends in the agricultural sector. "By building the capacity of MAF and SBS in this area, we will see improved evidence-based policy planning and formulation by the Government of Samoa, development partners and donors and all the stakeholders in the Samoan agriculture sector”, said Chopin. "Collaboration will help strengthen relationships important for collecting and adding value to relevant agriculture sector information, such as production and consumption trends to better understand food security in Samoa”.

From climate change to monitoring food production, nutritional and health levels of the population, and levels of poverty; reliable statistics from the agricultural sector are essential to help the government measure and monitor progress in national development.

Similarly, accurate and timely statistics can help Samoa benchmark against other countries and international development commitments namely, the Sustainable Development Goals related to food and agriculture.

In addition to production statistics, the project also identified post-harvest loss and food risk needs in fresh eating product chains; identified the household characteristics of poor nutrition outcomes in Samoa; and build the capacity of MAF to provide stakeholders with detailed analysis of priority agriculture sector policy issues through a regular State of Agriculture and Fisheries in Samoa publication.

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