Financial constraints hinder agric survey in rural areas

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has stated that financial constraints are hindering efforts to execute an agriculture census in rural areas.

According to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Clement Kofi Humado, the agricultural census has not been carried out in the past 20 years and it has resulted in a gap in the presentation of agricultural data in the country.

Agricultural census
The minister was speaking at a meeting on agricultural data and information systems. It was organised by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Accra.

The meeting sought to reflect on the development of agriculture data and information systems in the country.

“The situation is affecting presentation of data on growth of agricultural GDP, data for planning agriculture and many others,” Mr Humado added.

Gaps
To strengthen the agricultural statistics system, he said, the ministry conducted an improved survey known as the Ghana Agricultural Production Survey (GAPS).

This was done to provide a more accurate, reliable and timely agricultural production at the district, regional and national levels for decision making.

The minister said GAPS provided a detailed coverage of agricultural production activities, including vegetables, tree crops, livestock rearing and many others in 20 districts over two cropping seasons, 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.

The 20 districts, included the Amansie West, Sekyere Afram Plains, Dormaa East and the Techiman municipality.

He stated further that district information and communication infrastructure in the 20 districts needed to be upgraded to improve data collection and management under GAPS.

Commitment
MoFA, Mr Humado said, had shown a lot of interest and commitment towards the success of the GAPS. He added that MoFA trained 100 district agricultural statistical officers (DASO) for the GAPS in the 20 districts and the officers were mandated to collect and process data from the field.

The Government Statistician, Dr Philomena Nyarko, said comprehensive information on the structure of the agricultural sector could be achieved through an agriculture census.

“Data from agriculture census will be a valuable monitoring and planning tool for the government and other development actors,” she said.

She said the agricultural census would provide an up-to-date sampling frame and establish solid systems for regular production and dissemination of reliable agricultural statistics.

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