FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

National statisticians of Europe, Central Asia gear up for agricultural censuses

Reliable, comprehensive statistics take the guesswork out of decision-making, and nowhere is this truer than in the agricultural sector. Beginning today, national statistical experts from 20 countries of the region are in Budapest for a week-long roundtable introducing FAO’s new guidelines and data-collection methodologies for the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2020.

On a 10-year cycle since 1945, FAO has been supporting member countries worldwide as they conduct their national agricultural censuses. In the 2020 round, which is getting under way now, national censuses will collect and analyze data on the environmental impact of agricultural practices, greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions, crop intensity, land tenure, land use, methods of irrigation and sources of water, aquaculture and capture fisheries, livestock numbers, and of course the number and size of agricultural holdings.

The new guidelines – developed by the Agricultural Censuses and Surveys team in FAO’s Statistics Division – include innovative and cost-effective methodologies for gathering data, as well as advice on integrating census and survey programmes and broadening the dissemination of census data.

“The FAO Agricultural Censuses and Surveys team spent over two years developing the new guidelines, following consultations with countries and other concerned groups,” said Giorgi Kvinikadze, regional statistician with the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, in Budapest. “The guidelines are being rolled out around the globe through eight regional roundtables. This will help countries gain a deeper understanding of the new approaches we are advocating.”

National agricultural censuses are a comprehensive source of statistical information supporting policy formulation. Adoption of the FAO guidelines – updated every 10 years – helps ensure that national census data are comparable, and enables countries to observe trends and benchmark their performance against others.

“Decisions about research, business, investment, and national policy are best when based on evidence,” said Kvinikadze. “Today the agricultural census is the most complete source of information on structural data on agriculture, and the only statistical operation providing a detailed picture of the structure of agriculture for a whole country or a significant part of it at lowest geographic levels.”

Countries participating in this week’s roundtable include: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Hungary, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

3 April 2017, Budapest, Hungary