The Global Strategy supports Nigeria in building a stronger national statistics system
The Global Strategy to improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics is a long-term coordinated initiative to address the decline in the agricultural statistical systems in developing countries and enable the production of more and better agricultural statistics. Following the first phase, which has been implemented in the period 2012-2018, in 2021 the second phase of the Global Strategy, supported by the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Commission, kicked off its activities in 25 African countries, with the aim to strengthen the statistical capacities of countries for accountability, reporting and policy making, through the provision of training and technical assistance. As part of the activities in Nigeria, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is providing a training and technical assistance on the compilation of the national food balance sheets (FBS) and on producing useful indicators for data-oriented food policies (Dietary Energy Supply, import dependency ratio, self-sufficiency ratio). The FBS also provides input data to the calculation of some of the SDG indicators, such as the prevalence of undernourishment (2.1.1) in the absence of household consumption survey, post-harvest losses (12.3.1), and harmful use of alcohol (3.5.2) at national level. Food balance sheets present a comprehensive picture of the agrifood situation of a country in a specified reference period, showing the pattern of a country's food supply and utilizations. FBS provide a cost-effective, quick and quite precise picture of the food and agricultural sector, with relevant data for conducting national food security assessments according to internationally established methodologies. Indicators such as the import dependency ratio, the self-sufficiency ratio, and crosschecks such as negative apparent consumption, may all be readily obtained from the finalized FBS. The technical assistance is based on the methodology developed during the first phase of the project and recently improved by the FAO Statistics Division. The first training session, which took place this week, focused on the FBS methodology, concepts and definitions, and overview of the newly developed FBS modules and imputation methodologies, introducing the new FBS country compilation tool and its functionalities. Hands on and practical exercises using the tool were also included. The training was attended by 11 participants, including representatives from the National Bureau of Statistics, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, National Seed Council of Nigeria, Nigeria Customs Service, and National Population Commission of Nigeria.