FAO Regional Office for Africa

Leveraging data and statistics for agrifood systems transformation in Africa

African Commission on Agricultural Statistics (AFCAS) opens in Johannesburg, South Africa

© FAO

28th Session of the African Commission on Agricultural Statistics (AFCAS), a critical assembly aimed at fostering collaboration and advancing agricultural statistics in Africa, has opened in Johannesburg with a call for greater use of science and innovation in the statistics domain.

AFCAS is a statutory body of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The 28th Session is hosted by the Government of South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and runs from 4-8 December under the theme Leveraging data and statistics for agrifood systems transformation in Africa.

It brings together senior statistics officials from FAO’s African member countries and key partners on agricultural development, including representatives from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Dramane Bako, AFCAS Secretary a.i, emphasized the crucial role of robust agricultural statistics in fostering sustainable development: "Accurate and reliable agricultural statistics are the cornerstone of informed decision-making in the realm of agriculture. They empower nations to make evidence-based policies, ensuring food security, nutrition, rural development, and poverty reduction," he said.

AFCAS aligns with the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031, emphasizing the organization's commitment to supporting member countries with the tools and knowledge necessary to build resilient agricultural statistical systems towards a broader aim of transforming agrifood systems to be more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

Data for rural development

The 28th Session of AFCAS has a comprehensive agenda aimed at addressing key challenges and identifying opportunities in agricultural statistics in Africa. The agenda includes:

  • implementation of the 50x2030 Initiative in Africa, delving into lessons learned, with a focus on country experiences in developing national agricultural survey programs in Senegal, Sierra Leone and the United Republic of Tanzania;
  • progress on the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics, with insights from Guinea, Madagascar and Zambia;
  • assessing progress on the World Census of Agriculture 2020 in Africa;
  • the pivotal role of geospatial data and technology including showcasing experiences from pilot projects using Earth observations from satellites to collect useful agriculture-related data;
  • Zimbabwe’s experiences with developing a digital farmer registry; and
  • addressing progress in reporting on indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals, such as measuring food loss and waste.

Also on the agenda is the launch of the Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2023, a joint publication by FAO, the African Union, UNECA and the World Food Programme. The report provides a snapshot of current food security and nutrition statistics in Africa and helps guide policy decision making. The launch is scheduled for Thursday, December 7, at 10 am Johannesburg time.

AFCAS28 is being held at the Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre in Boksburg.