The Expert Consultation on Statistics in Support of Policies to Empower Small Farmers was held at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific from 8 to 11 September 2009.
It was designed to contribute to the improvement of agricultural statistics in the Asia and Pacific region in support of policies to empower small farmers; to discuss approaches to data collection and types of information that better suit current data needs of policy-makers in the context of a changing world economy; and to advise FAO on the development of capacity building and technical assistance programmes in the future years with a view to improving statistics in support of policies to empower small farmers.
Small farmers play a key role in agricultural development in Asia and the Pacific region. Lack of adequate data on small farmers who comprise the bulk of farm households and food-insecure people in the region is a constraint to devising effective policies to empower them. This is especially true in the context of trade liberalization and globalisation and soaring food prices which have adversely affected small farmers in Asia and the Pacific.
The Asia and Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics (APCAS), at its June 2008 session in Kuching, Malaysia, emphasized the need to review data collection methods and types of information collected to keep information systems attuned to data needs for early warning signals of price and market fluctuations, in order to support the setting up of mitigating measures against negative impacts of rising prices.
The expert consultation was therefore organized to shed some light on the role of statisticians in assisting policy-makers formulate timely corrective measures when confronted with food market crises.
Experts from Australia, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea and Thailand, and concerned FAO technical officers from headquarters and the regional office, contributed to discussions on these issues and developed recommendations. It is hoped the summary account contained in this report will be useful to both decision-makers and information practitioners in meeting the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of the region's malnourished by 2015.