Agricultural Integrated Survey Programme - AGRISurvey

FAO's AGRISurvey holds a training on Statistical Disclosure Control in support to Costa Rica's efforts to strengthen microdata data dissemination practices

News - 11.03.2021

From 1 to 5 March 2021, FAO provided a virtual training to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) of Costa Rica on microdata dissemination with special focus on Statistical Disclosure Control (SDC). The training was provided on request of INEC to help unlock the microdata of the annual agricultural survey in Costa Rica as well as the agricultural census.

One key focus of the FAO AGRISurvey programme is on strengthening countries dissemination progammes, including ensuring the release of agricultural survey microdata to users for analysis, research, policy design and monitoring. It also promotes data use activities to ensure increased and improved use of survey data to inform decision-making.

During the 5-day course, the participants from INEC were introduced to all the steps of the anonymization process for survey and census microdata. All commonly used SDC methods for microdata were presented and showcased using the R package sdcMicro and its GUI sdcApp.

The last two days of the training were devoted to hands-on working sessions on the anonymization of the microdata of the National Agricultural Survey (the Encuesta Nacional Agropecuaria, ENA). The practical sessions saw technical discussions on all aspects of how to prepare, including anonymization, the microdata files to enable their safe sharing with the users.

The virtual training, organized via Zoom with interpreter services in Spanish, was attended by a dozen technical staff of INEC from units responsible for conducting agricultural, household and enterprise surveys as well as participants from other units, such as the population census, sampling and data services. The course was successful with highly interactive and lively sessions, echoing motivated and enthusiastic participants.

The activity, which is framed in a longer-term technical assistance program on data dissemination, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, constituted a kick-off activity as FAO and INEC will continue to work closely together with more technical assistance sessions to be organized in the next few months to ensure proper finalization of the work, especially the preparation of anonymized data files of the ENA survey.

Besides dissemination, the AGRISurvey programme has been partnering with INEC Costa Rica since 2019 by providing technical assistance to improve and expand the ENA survey. The implementation of AGRISurvey will contribute to enlarge the scope of the survey and improve data quality, thus increasing the relevance of the survey to the agricultural sector and facilitating the dissemination and use of the data produced through the survey.