Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

OPENING ADDRESS

By

Hiroyuki Konuma
Assistant Director-General and
FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

Delivered at the

Regional Workshop on
Sampling for Agricultural Censuses and Surveys

Bangkok, Thailand
14 May 2012 

 

Distinguished Participants and Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a great pleasure to extend, on behalf of the Director-General of FAO and on my own behalf, a warm welcome to the participants of the Regional Workshop on Sampling for Agricultural Censuses and Surveys.

I am delighted to acknowledge the participation of some 30 participants from 15 Asian member countries who are attending this regional workshop.

This workshop is of particular importance in the scenario in which the statistical organizations face a challenge of collecting more and more data with less and less resources. FAO with international partners is leading the implementation of Global Strategy which is a long-term plan for  improving agricultural and rural statistics in the countries. Soon the activities of the Global Strategy will be started in the region.

I am happy to note that the many international organizations are working with FAO to improve agricultural statistics. I thank US Department of Agriculture, Statistical Institute of Asia and Pacific (SIAP), the Indian Agriculture Statistics Research Institute as well as the Agricultural and Food Marketing Association for Asia and the Pacific (AFMA) for their collaboration in the organization of this workshop.

Dear participants, the workshop will build on the success of a series of regional workshops held in the Latin America, Africa and Middle East since 2011.  The objective of this workshop is to impart necessary technical skills so that more and better statistics is available for monitoring hunger and malnutrition.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
 
You are well aware, that FAO’s main mandate is to combat hunger and monitor the progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially MDG one, Target two, aimed at reducing extreme hunger by half by 2015. Despite the rapid transformation of economies, the Asia-Pacific region still accounts for more than 60 percent of the world’s undernourished  population, due to its large population and relatively low per capita incomes when compared with the Latin American and the Near East and North Africa regions. FAO’s assessments show that around 570 million people faced chronic hunger in Asia and the Pacific in 2006-2008. 

And despite our continued efforts, the absolute numbers remain almost at the same level as 20 years ago. The achievement of first Millennium Development Goal – to halve the proportion of people in extreme hunger from the 20% in 1990 to 10% in 2015- has become an intense challenge:  in 2006-2008, the rate remained at 15%.

The international financial crisis which broke out in 2008, combined with the food prices crisis preceding, has been a major setback to regional progress towards the MDGs. We continue experiencing a potential risk of a similar serious setback due to protraction of high and volatile food prices. For the poor, who are already spending 60 to 70 percent of their household budgets on food, even a small increase in food prices can be catastrophic.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

FAO and other development partners monitor the progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals through the information that your countries provide to FAO in our periodic questionnaires.

The agenda of the workshop offers many opportunities to learn from each other, to exchange experiences on sound techniques for data collection in order to increase the availability and quality of national agricultural statistics.

The workshop is designed to upgrade the technical knowledge and skills of the national staff involved in the design and implementation of agricultural census surveys in their respective countries. It will also lead to sharing good practices for generating quality agricultural and food security statistics.

It is expected that after the workshop, participants will have practical skills necessary for developing a programme for agricultural census and surveys for their countries using the sampling techniques following the System of Integrated Agricultural Censuses and Surveys advocated by the FAO World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010 (WCA 2010) and the Global Strategy for the Improvement of Agricultural Statistics and Rural promoted jointly by the World Bank and FAO.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

FAO is conscious of its role in building country capacities for collecting reliable agricultural statistics in timely manner which is based on international standards, and will continue to work towards this in partnership with other agencies. I hope that our collaboration with the leading institutions present here will go much beyond this workshop.

I wish you all success in your discussions work and a pleasant stay in the Thailand.

Thank you.