The 2018 Ghana Census on Agriculture, which is to enable Government formulate strategies and policies, as well as monitor and evaluate policies in the agriculture sector, has been launched at Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region.
Earlier, field data collection had begun on 30th April, 2018, after the training of field personnel.
The census, which is a collaborative effort between the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), with technical support from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will collect, process and disseminate information on the nature and structure of agriculture, availability of agricultural and social services in agricultural communities, and the potentials and constraints for development in those communities, to guide effective policy making.
Data from the census will enable Government, as well as relevant and affiliated institutions in the sector, to effectively monitor the country's progress under the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP II) of Ghana; the 2017-2024 Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies; and the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The 2018 Ghana Census on Agriculture has become imperative because there have been dramatic changes in the structure and content of Ghana's agriculture since the last Census, which was conducted some 33 years ago, with agriculture experts alluding to the fact that policies made in that sector over the years, had largely been based on guess work.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who launched the census, noted that there had been a systematic decline of the country's agriculture to the neglect of proper planning based on current data.
President Akufo-Addo was, however, hopeful that the 2018 Ghana Census of Agriculture would be the turning point to reinstituting the cycle of ten-year censuses, as it used to be some time past.
He disclosed that an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee, headed by the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, would ensure the successful implementation of the census and the establishment of the institutional foundation for regular, future censuses.
President Akufo-Addo appealed to all Ghanaians to provide the committee with the needed support in the discharge of their duties.
He urged traditional rulers, religious leaders and other opinion leaders to assist in the publicity campaign of the ongoing census.
President Akufo-Addo gave the assurance that his government was fully committed to the completion of the 2018 Ghana Census of Agriculture to improve on the National Agricultural Statistics System.
"This census must become a regular feature of our national life. Agriculture remains the fuel that powers all our activity in Ghana. We ignore it at our risk. My government will, certainly, not ignore it. We need to raise agriculture to a higher plane to be able to improve on the quality of life for our people," the President emphasized.