Developing capacity for strengthening food security and nutrition

Statisticians from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan learn about Georgian experience on indicators of sustainable development goals

29 July 2019 | Georgia – A training seminar was held in Tbilisi from July 29 to July 30 at the National Statistics Service of Georgia for seven representatives of the statistical services of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The seminar was aimed at identifying production methods and monitoring indicators 2.3.1 “Productivity of small producers” and 2.3.2 “Income of small producers” of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The sharing of knowledge and experience between the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus in the field of agricultural statistics, statistical research and methodology was carried out with the support of the FAO project “Developing Capacity for Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in selected countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia”, funded by the Russian Federation.

During the two-day seminar, specialists of the Georgian National Statistics Service (Geostat) made a number of presentations with the overviews of current statistical studies in the field of agriculture and the environment, as well as automated software for entering and processing statistical information.

Currently, small business entities, which are the main producers of agricultural products, prevail in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and, according to the National Statistical Committee, their total number is more than 400 thousand in Kyrgyzstan and 170 thousand in Tajikistan. However, Kyrgyzstan is experiencing a shortage of information regarding the status of small farms such as labor productivity, financial and labor costs, and income. The existing information base on agricultural statistics does not fully meet the SDG criteria. In 2018, an agreed methodology was adopted in Kyrgyzstan on SDG indicators 2.3.1 and 2.3.2 in accordance with international norms and requirements. In Tajikistan, a database of the main characteristics of small farms has been compiled. In Tajikistan, a database of the main characteristics of small farms has been compiled.

While sharing their experience, Georgian experts presented their approach to agricultural statistics by using information and communication technologies. In 2014, Georgia conducted an agricultural census together with a population census, which made it possible to achieve great success in conducting subsequent integrated agricultural surveys.

In addition, the issues of establishing criteria for determining different threshold indicators were discussed, as well as recommendations for calculating labor costs, employment in agriculture, including economic calculations and expert estimates for determining the average income of small farmers in crop production, animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries.

"The situation with the state of the methodologies for SDG indicators 2.3.1 and 2.3.2 in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is approximately the same, requiring improvement of the databases, in particular, it is necessary to supplement the questionnaires regarding economic issues related to incomes and expenditures of the population. Regarding the study tour, it seems to me that the meetings were useful and the participants were able to familiarize themselves with the existing unified database of the Geostat and the improved methodology for calculating the SDG indicators in Georgia" – said Mamuka Nadereishvili, a FAO consultant on international statistics.

"We learned a lot from our Georgian colleagues, where the statistical information on Geostat has been completely transferred into an electronic format for maintaining and processing survey questionnaires, where the sampling of agricultural statistics has been improved with the help of new software and now meets the requirements of the international standard. The National Statistical Committee in Kyrgyzstan will have to improve the database on agricultural statistics, supplementing the survey questionnaires, expanding the block of economic indicators that take into account social and environmental issues having drawn up instructions for integrated data collection", expressed an impression of the visit one of the participants – Ms Gulzeynep Mursabekova, a Head of the Agricultural Statistics Department of the National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic.

"In the Republic of Tajikistan, since 2012, FAO has been providing the technical assistance on a regular basis in improving agricultural statistics in the framework of various agricultural projects, including the financial support from the Russian Federation and the European Union. It should be noted that over the past period, some work has been done on establishing of a data base for dekhkan farms, which is being updated on the basis of annual reporting forms. In the period 2018 and 2019, additional indicators were introduced for the semi-annual reporting form, based on an electronic format. Of course, there are some difficulties in the process of transition to electronic reporting, for which it is necessary to conduct a training for regional and local government officials, and to update the software for calculating indicators, including indicators 2.3.1 and 2.3.2" – said Ms. Rajabiyon Dylafruz, chief specialist of the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Statistics of the Agency for Statistics under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan.

According to the results of the study tour, representatives from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan unanimously noted the effectiveness of the Geostat integrated agricultural survey software and that the experience learned will contribute to the implementation and effective integration of data in several areas, covering various sectors in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.