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(Item 7 of the Agenda)

Presentation of the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010

(Item 7a of the Agenda)

85. The document APCAS/06/14 "Presentation of the new World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010: Main Features and Innovations" was discussed. The Commission was informed that the preparation and publication of this programme was a major priority for the Statistics Division during the last two years. The guiding considerations that went into preparation of the new World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010 (WCA 2010) included: (i) the limited budget of statistical offices of countries for meeting ever increasing data demands called for development of
a strategy for data collection; (ii) the scope of data analysis often remained limited if the surveys were undertaken as isolated independent exercises; (iii) the integration of surveys could be a cost-effective way to increase the scope of analysis and avoid duplication in data collection efforts; and (iv) with changing approaches to development planning and policy, multi-faceted data were needed on communities which were often the target units for development projects.

86. The attention of the Commission was drawn to the work done by the Statistics Division of FAO in collaboration with United Nations Statistics Department (UNSD) and United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) for establishing a link between the concepts of "agricultural holding" and "household". The efforts made for reaching a common set of guidelines in the publications of two UN institutions, circulated in the conference as APCAS/06/14 _ Addenda, for making population census as a basis for collection of agricultural data were noted.

87. The Commission learned that the main features and innovations introduced in the WCA 2010 included: (i) widened objectives of agricultural census to collect data for monitoring of MDGs and related subjects like food security; (ii) advocacy of an integrated system of agricultural census and surveys; (iii) the flexibility provided to countries to plan their census as per their needs using the modular approach to census planning; (iv) availability of technical guidance on wide variety of data items arranged in thematic volumes; (v) guidelines on collection of community-level data as part of collection of Agricultural Census Operations; (vi) harmonized concepts and classifications; and (vii) option to widen the scope of agricultural census to cover aquaculture and other rural activities.

88. The Commission was informed that the varying cut-offs used by the countries for reducing the burden of data collection often made the international comparison of statistics on "number of holdings" difficult. The Commission noted that in Sri Lanka all the holdings, irrespective of scale of their operations and size of their asset owning status, were enumerated during the listing phase but detailed agricultural census was carried out on the holding which had more than a certain number of trees or animals and engaged in agricultural production for sale.

89. In general there was an appreciation of the idea of integrating agricultural census with population census and a suggestion was made to identify one or two questions to be included in the population census for obtaining a frame for the agricultural census. However, the Commission noted that the integration of population census with the agricultural census could be difficult in situations where the two operations were separated by three or four years. The Commission heard the experience in the USA and American Samoa in integrating the population census with the agricultural census and noted that caution might be needed during census planning, particularly when using the cut-offs on size of holdings, deciding on long and short questionnaire approach, or in deciding to include agriculture-related questions in the population census. The issues that needed to be considered would relate to response fatigue, enumerator burden, and the purpose for which data were to be used.

90. Conceptual issues to deal with specific situations prevailing in the member countries were clarified by making reference to the definition of an agricultural holding, International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC), and System of National Accounts (SNA). The Commission was informed that the widened scope of the publication for the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010 helped the countries use this publication as a reference book for their census planning. The purpose of the book was to provide guidance on aspects which were commonly covered by countries in their agricultural census and surveys programme. The programme recommended only 16 core data items to be included in the census of all countries for international comparisons. The rest of the programme was optional. The Commission was informed that aligning the list of crops with Central Product Classification (CPC) might pose difficulties as many crops led to several products or had several uses.

91. The Commission heard the presentations made by some member countries outlining the key features of their statistical systems for collection of agricultural statistics and the methodologies used. On the basis of these presentations, the Commission gathered that the countries were at different stages of development of their statistical systems and there existed a diversity of methodologies used in the region. It was noted that some countries in the region were using Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) technology for speedy processing of their population and agricultural census data, whereas some others were using remote sensing technology for crop forecasting. Use of econometric modelling for crop forecasting was also noted by the Commission. The use of Global Positioning System (GPS) for ground-truthing of agricultural surveys had been developed in Thailand. The Commission concluded that apart from collaboration through the multilateral agencies, cooperation between countries to learn from each others' experience could hasten the process of development in the region.

92. The Commission noted that there had been a rise in number of stakeholders in the statistical systems and the depth of their interest had also increased. In order to ensure that the statistical systems in countries respond to their needs, adequate dialogue between users and producers should be encouraged.

Community-level data in agricultural census

(Item 7b of the Agenda)

93. Document No. APCAS/06/15 "Recommendations on Community-level Data
in the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010" was presented by
Mr Mukesh Srivastava while APCAS/06/16 "Collection of Village-level Data through the 2003 Agricultural Census and 2006 Economic Census in Indonesia" was presented by Mr Pietojo. The second document described the Indonesian experience in collecting village level data.

94. The Commission was made aware that the community-level data was being sought in an increasing number of countries to meet the need of the planning process which tended to focus more and more on people rather than just on the economic production. The definition of the community as a statistical unit for the survey was discussed and the suitability of community-level data items for collection during
the agricultural census operation was presented. Some examples of analysis
using community-level data were also presented. The Commission noted that
a community-level database involving primary community-level data collected through population and agricultural censuses and summary data from other censuses or surveys, as well as administrative sources could prove a handy reference for policy makers. It could be particularly useful if interfaced with some Geographic Information System (GIS) software which permitted standard or user-defined queries that met common analytical needs for policy-making.

95. The presentations were followed by a roundtable discussion on the topic: "Uses of Community-level Data for Programme Formulation, Monitoring, Impact Assessmentand Policy Analysis".During the discussion, China, India, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam presented their experiences in collection of data on this topic. A widespread support and use of this type of data in the countries of the region was noted by the Commission. Most countries which presented their experience, collected data on common or similar set of items which could be grouped under geography, socio-economic conditions and access to community infrastructure. The most common use of this data, highlighted during the Session, related to identification of poor villages or communities. Regarding difficulties in getting data for poverty status and likely response biases of reporting agencies, the Commission was of the view that involvement of both officials and the elected representatives in reporting could enhance the data quality.

96. To overcome the inconsistencies experienced by some countries between the data collected from holdings and that from communities, the Commission recommended that the data which were suitable for collection from holdings or households should not be collected at community level. Instead, it might be practical to add the summarized holdings or household data to the community-level database. The primary collection of community-level data should be confined to objectively verifiable indicators, particularly those relating to existence of infrastructure or access to facilities.

97. The Commission drew the attention of its members to the definition of the
"community" given in the FAO publication on WCA 2010, but noted that in defining the statistical unit for collection of community-level data countries would need to consider the administrative division of the country, the level at which data were summarized in other relevant surveys, the purpose for which data were to be used, the geographical unit of attention in the planning process, and the stability in boundaries of the statistical units chosen for the purpose.

98. The Commission noted that there might not exist a unique method for preparing the composite indicator using the community-level data. Depending upon the specific needs, several indicators could be constructed using the same database.

Fishery and aquaculture statistics in the framework of the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010

(Item 7c of the Agenda)

99. Document APCAS/06/17 "Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics in the Framework of the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010" was presented by
Mr Simon Funge-Smith. The Commission noted that the contribution of aquaculture and fisheries to employment, food production and food security in many of the countries of the Asia and Pacific region was significant. Fisheries and aquaculture statistics were often dealt with outside of the agricultural statistics framework and this presented difficulties in their subsequent integration into national planning. Aquaculture, as a rapidly emerging production sector, often co-existed with agriculture and shared many of its common features and resources. In this respect, there was considerable opportunity to integrate aquaculture statistics into the framework of agriculture census and surveys. This integration could result in efficient use of limited resources, besides providing a more holistic understanding of how aquaculture and agriculture interact. The Commission recognized the need to take into account the basic understanding of participation in and dependence upon capture fisheries.

100. The Commission observed that the inclusion of even a single question in either the agriculture census or population census could provide an extremely useful listing or sampling frame to facilitate subsequent, more detailed, aquaculture or fisheries surveys. In some countries, aquaculture was sufficiently important to warrant
a dedicated aquaculture module in the agriculture census. The scope of such a model would depend upon the country situation and its data needs.

101. The Commission heard a discussion covering a wide range of issues related to the scope of coverage of the aquaculture census and the practical considerations in its implementation. The Commission noted that there existed a considerable diversity across countries in the region in the level of development of the aquaculture sector and its importance to the national economy. The Commission considered various technical issues connected with the definition of "agricultural holding" and that of "aquaculture holding", as well as the coexistence of the two activities, and the need to collect complete statistics on fisheries and aquaculture statistics. The Commission thus recognized that the issue of definition of the statistical unit of an agri-aqua survey was central for ensuring coverage of various types of holdings.

102. Aquaculture operations which were not based on land such as cockle, scallop and mussel farms, seaweed farms, and floating fish cages and pens, required special consideration as these were located in open water. Special circumstances such as these demonstrated the need for a carefully formulated screening question in the core WCA module to ensure that it would elicit a positive response from all those associated with any aquaculture activities.

103. The Commission noted that there was a need for meaningful communication among users and providers of aquaculture and fisheries data and the concerned agencies undertaking agriculture or population censuses. This was required to ensure that information useful for management or planning of the sector was obtained completely, which would need availability of comprehensive sampling frames. Due attention was also needed to be given for collection of data for assessment of illegal fishing. The Commission recommended that collaboration between statistical agencies and the fishery and aquaculture agencies should be encouraged for improving the statistics on fisheries and aquaculture. Such collaboration might be in the areas of providing technical guidance, using of field structures and data processing infrastructure.

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