CAJ News Agency (Johannesburg)

7 May 2014

Africa: Poor Data Management Worries Agro Experts

AGRICULTURE experts from several African countries have expressed worry over poor agricultural data produced by governments and agricultural statisticians on the African continent.

The experts from Burkina Faso Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Tanzania and Uganda said this affected decision-making in the agriculture sector.

The concern came at a three-day workshop on a regional workshop on validation of the countries' agricultural statistics system assessment reports in Accra.

The workshops aims at discussing and planning national publicity and advocacy strategies for the participating countries, and agree on the way forward for the assessment of their National Agricultural Statistic System, under the Global Strategy for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics, endorsed since February 2010 by the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) to respond to the declining quantity and quality of agricultural statistics in developing countries.

The Global Office Coordinator at the Statistics Division of the Global Strategy for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics, Christopher Duhamel, told CAJ News, “Most agricultural statistics in Africa are not the best. So, there is the need to improve.”

He, however, observed that there was some improvement in livestock and crop data in some African countries.

Opening the workshop, the Deputy Regional Representative, Regional Office for Africa, Dr Lamordia Thiombiano, explained that after the endorsement of the Global Strategy for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics, the FAO and other regional orgnisations, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and African Union Commission (AUC) had prepared and adopted the Action Plan for Africa 2011-2015.

The project, for which the ongoing workshop was organised, was formulated by the FAO and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the selected countries to start the implementation of the action plan.

“This initial situation is essential for the formulation of the national action plan to be implemented, using the orientations and the methodologies proposed by Global Strategy for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics in each country,” Thiombiano, who is also the FAO Representative in Ghana, noted.

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