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25th session of AFCAS calls on African governments to improve the collection of food and agricultural statistics

FAO supported farmer feeds chicken at her farm in Mubende District, Western Uganda. (C) FAOU/Agatha Ayebazibwe



16 November 2017, Entebbe – African governments have been urged to commit adequate resources to improve the collection and dissemination of timely agricultural statistics for effective policy planning towards the elimination of hunger and poverty.

“We need to organize farmers concrete agricultural statistics to enable us make informed decisions as we work toward eliminating hunger, extreme poverty and turn Africa into a net food exporter and move the continent to the top of the global value chain”, said Christopher Kibazanga, Uganda Minister of State in charge of Agriculture.

Opening the 25th Session of the African Commission on Agricultural Statistics  jointly organised by jointly organized by FAO and Uganda Bureau Of Statistics, in Entebbe, Uganda, he underscored the importance of statistics such as knowing what farmers produce and their location, monitoring the current situation and progress, and identifying where assistance is needed, adding “this is particularly important as Ugandans are confronted with fall army worm infestation”.

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The 25th session of AFCAS brought together over 100 statisticians from African countries and regional associations to share their progress, challenges and innovation in collecting and compiling statistics on food and agriculture, including fishing and forestry.

FAO Representative in Uganda, Alhaji Jallow, noted that agriculture plays a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of African countries but remains understated in national, regional and global policies.

He pointed out that since agriculture statistics at the global level depend on the capacity of each individual country to produce appropriate data, there is need to improve dissemination of timely information.

“Unfortunately, many African countries have not yet established sustainable and adequate systems for the collection of agricultural statistics and lack capability to use available information for analytical studies for policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation, more investment is need to enable us make informed decisions and proper planning,” he added.

Agricultural statistics and Sustainable Development Agenda 

Jose Moncayo, Director ad interim, FAO Statistics Division, emphasized the need to include the Agenda 2030 in agricultural statistics, adding we want to assess countries’ need for support in the different SDG areas while presenting the current FAO statistical capacity development programme to countries to strengthen their capacities to collect and analyse SDG indicators”.

“It's time countries engage to create processes that are necessary to have in the shortest time possible the data that is needed to track SDGs progress and advice policy makers in the design of effective policies,” he added.

According to the State of Food Insecurity (SOFI) Overview 2017, the number of people undernourished rose from 200 to 224 million, accounting for 25 percent of the 815 million people undernourished in the world in 2016. In low-income and lower-income countries, such as Uganda, some 1.75 billion people survive on less than $US3.10 a day, and 580 million are chronically undernourished. 

This year’s AFCAS, which also coincides with African Statistics week, reviews the state of food and agricultural statistics in the African Region. It focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with the objective to leave no one behind.  Africa Statistics Day, celebrated each year on 18 November, followed the meetings.

The session discussed the progress made by FAO and its member countries in Africa to improve agricultural statistics since the last AFCAS session. The Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics as adopted in 2010 and a Global Action Plan and an Africa Action Plan have been developed and implemented since 2011 under the leadership of African Regional Institutions with the technical support of FAO.

The Commission recommended that FAO continue assisting countries in the implementation and development of the CountrySTAT system, and organize training workshops to enable countries to better integrate with the new CountrySTAT platform. Participants also requested FAO, the regional and sub-regional organizations to organize regularly a forum of collaboration to exchange on the various initiatives relative to the normative work on methodological design, collection, processing and dissemination of statistical data on food and agriculture.

The African Commission on Agricultural Statistics (AFCAS) is a statutory body of FAO that meets every two years. AFCAS brings together senior statistics officials from FAO member countries of the African continent that are responsible for the development of agricultural statistics in their respective countries.

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