(Item 11 of the Agenda)
105. In document APCAS/04/16, "Plan for the Forthcoming World Census of Agriculture (WCA) 2010", the Commission learned that the WCA 2010, covering censuses conducted during the period 2006-2015, would be the ninth in the series of this decennial programme, which started in 1930.
106. The Commission was advised of the 1930 and 1940 WCA programmes, sponsored by the International Institute of Agriculture that sought to provide comprehensive agricultural data, including production, learned that these guidelines were difficult for many countries to implement and that FAO assumed the responsibilities for WCA and had promoted the 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 programmes. The Commission noted that from 1950, the content of the census had been limited to structural data only, but over the years the guidelines had been expanded to cover new areas of interest.
107. The Commission was informed that the WCA 2010 programme would be developed after a review of country experiences with the 2000 programme and a re-assessment of data needs in the light of changes in agricultural practices. In addition the new programme provided for agricultural censuses to be conducted as the central component of the system of agricultural sample surveys and that countries would be encouraged to develop the agricultural survey programme as an integral part of the agricultural census planning.
108. The Commission understood that agricultural censuses would mainly focus on the collection of structural data for agricultural production units; that is, for agricultural holdings, and that an option would be provided to extend the scope of the census to cover units engaged in aquaculture production in view of the growing importance of aquaculture in many countries. The Commission was also informed that the WCA 2010 programme recognized that some countries might wish to include in their agricultural censuses other households deriving income from agriculture, such as farm labourers.
109. The Commission learned about the introduction in the WCA 2010 of a modular approach consisting of a core census module (with 16 items, and census supplementary modules and that the core census module should be conducted on a complete enumeration or large sample basis, in order to provide a limited range of key data for national policy-making; for making inter-country comparisons; for establishing sampling frames; and, for providing fine level data such as for low-level administrative units.
110. It was suggested to the Commission that the inclusion of one or more census supplementary modules in the agriculture census for enumeration on a sample basis, using the core census module as a frame, would provide more in-depth data and that the use of such an approach would reduce costs and would allow countries to collect a greater range of data than in previous censuses.
111. The Commission was made aware that the methodology of the core census module for WCA 2010 was similar to the methodology used in the agricultural censuses carried out by countries under previous WCA programmes. The Commission noted that the main difference is that the core census module is expected to cover fewer data items than previously, with additional items to be collected via the sample-based supplementary modules. The Commission was also informed that, as in the past; the 2010 programme provided a lot of flexibility for countries to develop agricultural censuses to meet their own specific requirements.
112. The Commission was advised of the omission of non-essential items in WCA 2000 from the census component of WCA 2010 including the presence of a hired manager, area with irrigation potential, soil type/colour/depth, non-residential buildings, and value of forestry/fishery sales.
113. The Commission learned that the WCA 2010 introduced new elements/features such as: the collection of community-level data to provide infra-structure and other socio-economic data; the linkage between the agricultural census and the population census; the concepts of "agri-aqua holding" and "aquaculture holding" to cover aquaculture production in the agricultural census; the concepts of the "sub-holding" and the "sub-holder to better understand the role of household members, especially women, in the management of a holding; the clarification of the definition of irrigation to reflect the "controlled" supply of water; the concept of "water management" to cover such things as flood recession cultivation and spate irrigation; and, the notion of "legal" and "non-legal" land ownership.
114. The Commission was informed of other important changes in concepts and definitions made in the WCA 2010: (1) the land use classification had been simplified, and its terminology had been clarified; (2) the forest land had been re-defined in line with the international standards; (3) the concept of machinery had been defined in terms of source of power and the task it performed; and, (4) the employment concepts had been changed to better reflect the structure of employment in rural areas and to be consistent with International Labour Organization (ILO) standards.
115. The Commission understood that the countries undertaking agriculture census in any one year between 2006 and 2015 would be part of the WCA 2010 programme.
116. The Commission noted that the increase in the number of items in the agricultural census might lead to farmer (respondent) fatigue during the enumeration. The Commission agreed, however, that the modular approach and the introduction of sampling would help solve this problem.
117. The Commission recommended that the community level data in agricultural census should be complementary with the village level data collected during the population census, wherever applicable.
118. In Document APCAS/04/INF7, "Animal Husbandry Statistics", the Commission was informed that India had conducted the 17th quinquennial livestock census in 2003 and that it had brought out a provisional report within nine months of completion of the census work that covered four areas: livestock, poultry, agricultural machinery and implements, and fisheries. The Commission also learned that the livestock census data were expected to be released at the district level with rural-urban break-up in the month of October 2004. The Commission was also informed that the census data had revealed India was the country with the largest population of cattle and buffaloes and that the scope of the livestock census 2003 had been enlarged, providing data on all important breeds of cattle and buffaloes.
119. The Commission was advised of the slight decrease in the total livestock population from 485.38 million in 1997 to 482.78 million, although the poultry population had significantly increased from 347.61 to 440.07 million during the corresponding period.