Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

CLOSING ADDRESS

By

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

Delivered at the

Second Meeting of the Steering Group for Agricultural Statistics

Bangkok, Thailand
18 to 20 July 2012

 

Distinguished Participants and Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Director-General of FAO and on my own behalf, it is a great pleasure to be with you at the closure session of the Second meeting of the Steering Group for Agricultural Statistics (SGAS).

The food prices became again very volatile in recent few weeks as maize and wheat prices jumped by 50 percent in one month affected by severe drought in USA, uncertainty of future production and speculations.

Food commodities became so sensitive to external shocks which lead to over speculations in some instances. In order to minimize negative impact of over speculations and facilitate appropriate policy decisions, reliable agricultural statistics are essential. Thus, our programme is such important and this meeting is very timely.

I am pleased to note that after three days of discussions, the meeting has reviewed the draft Regional Implementation Plan for the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics and come up with important decisions. These decisions go towards integrating agriculture into the national statistics systems in order to improve coordination in the production and dissemination of agricultural and rural statistics in the countries.

I also noted that the steering group will take decisive steps to approve the plan in the next weeks for submission to the Global Steering Committee by September.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your good efforts will go a long way to enable national statistical systems to produce the basic agricultural and rural information needed to guide decision-making in the twenty-first century, especially on food security, but also on issues of growing interest such as biofuels, the impact of agriculture on the environment as well on market information and price volatility.

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 at reducing extreme hunger by half by 2015. In this context, improvement of agricultural statistics are fundamental for policy-makers to take decisions on food security interventions and agricultural and rural development.
 
The SGAS has roughly defined in the regional action plan areas of support that the Asia Pacific region needs in terms of technical assistance, training and research to strengthening national agricultural statistical systems.

To support the technical, training and research assistance, a regional steering committee has been agreed upon  and a regional office would be set up soon. The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific has housed the Secretary of the SGAS and is pleased to house the Regional Office of the Regional Action Plan that will support the work of this steering group and the future regional steering committee.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our strong partnership with ESCAP, ADB, our member countries and other leading institutions present here, has brought us ad portas of adopting a historical action plan that will improve the evidence base of policy making of the agricultural sector in the region. I wish to congratulate you for this achievement.

I wish you a safe trip back to your home countries.

Thank you.