Reliable statistics crucial for agricultural development

Posted on:Apr 11, 2019News

Papua New Guinea requires reliable and real-time data for improved agricultural planning and policy decisions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in the country.

FAO Head of Office Ken Shimizu said there is a serious need to improve PNG’s baseline information and statistical data on all aspects of agriculture for decision making and this includes data on crop production, livestock, fisheries and forestry.

Shimizu made the remarks during the opening of a National Inception Workshop on Agriculture Statistics in Port Moresby from March 28-29, 2019.

The workshop was organized jointly by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL), the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and was attended by the Department of National Planning and Monitoring, National Agricultural Research Institute, United Nations Population Fund, and UN PNG Resident Coordinator’s Office.

The forum was coined around three objectives:

  1. Analysis of data collected from a recent Demographic and Health Survey on Crop- production and livestock products;
  2. Analysis of data collected from the Demographic and Health Survey on Food Insecurity and Expectation Scale, and
  3. Preparation of a framework for the conduct of a National Agricultural Census.

Shimizu added that FAO assists countries at global level to produce the right information to monitor results and make informed decision to eradicate hunger and malnutrition.

He said with FAO’s comparative advantage andupon a request from the Government of Papua New Guinea, FAO PNG is keen in providing technical assistance for the execution of a project on strengthening capacity for data processing, analysis and management in PNG

DAL Deputy Secretary (Technical Services) Stephen Mombi welcomed the collaborations led by FAO and NSO to address one of the biggest challenges in the sector to have quality and reliable statistical data. Mombi said the sector needs up-to-date agriculture data and statistical information that is readily available for DAL and other users to make informed decisions in allocating resources and coordinating development programs.

NSO is responsible for the conduct of all censuses and surveys in PNG, as mandated by the Statistical Services Act.

Acting Statistician Julianne Kubak said NSO has been carrying out numerous surveys, censuses and generating relevant data for the quarterly presentation of Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures.

“However the statistical system in PNG still suffers from lack of resources to carry out effective work on specific areas of interest such as agriculture,”Kubak said.

“With the issue of an agriculture census that is really outdated, this project is very timely.”

Kabuk said strong collaborations with key stakeholders will help resolve some of the these issues to build on from NSO’s commitment to the Government to deliver quality, reliable and timely statistical data.

Statistical activities at FAO include the development and implementation of methodologies and standards for data collection, validation, processing and analysis. It develops methods and standards for food and agriculture statistics, provides technical assistance services and disseminates data for global monitoring.

The outcome of the project is for an improved baseline information and data on agricultural and rural development for PNG.