Ghana begins Agriculture census after three decades

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in collaboration with the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) is set to begin a Census of Agriculture and its related activities throughout the country, an exercise that has already begun in 2016.

The Census of Agriculture is a major exercise that will seek to collect latest data from households and institutions on the structure of agriculture in Ghana.

Addressing trainees on behalf of the Minister of Food and Agriculture at the closing ceremony of a week’s training workshop on Census of Agriculture Training of Trainers at the Regional level in Ho Monday, March 26, 2018, a member of the Steering Committee of the training exercise, Prof N.N Sowah, said the training is meant to equip the trainees with the requisite knowledge that will enable them to effectively train field personnel, which training will be carried out concurrently across all the 216 districts in the country, between 3rd and 12th April, 2018, for the data collection exercise.

“… As you may know, the Census of Agriculture is a major exercise that will collect the latest information from households and institutions on the structure of agriculture in the country. The last time a Census of Agriculture was conducted in Ghana, some 33 years ago in 1985”, he said.

According to him, “… the information to be collected in the census is very important as it will provide current information on the structure of agriculture in the country which is vital to the rebasing of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), given that the last census of agriculture was conducted in 1985” and also “provide statistics on agriculture for policy makers to allocate public resources effectively and to better identify, prepare, implement and evaluate developmental projects aimed at promoting agriculture in the rural areas”.

The sector minister also indicated in his address that “… The agriculture census exercise will also provide information to help address environmental issues at the community level and provide relevant information for use by stakeholders and farmers themselves, researchers, students, international organizations and other organizations. Reliable agriculture statistics will be generated for the purposes of planning, monitoring food security and livelihood requirements”, he added.

He therefore appealed for the cooperation of the general public, individuals and institutions, chiefs, religious and other opinion leaders as well as the media to lead an education and publicity drive in support of the exercise in order to ensure its success.

In an address read on behalf of the Acting Government Statistician, Head of Training at the Ghana Statistical Service, Sebastian Atsrim noted that the demand for information on agricultural activities of developing countries including Ghana for the purposes of planning and research has increased over the years and has become a priority area for many countries.

Giving a brief history of agriculture censuses in Ghana, Mr. Atsrim said the last time census was conducted on agriculture in Ghana was in 1985 by the then Economic, Research and Planning Services Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which has now changed to become the Statistics, Research and Information Directorate of the Ministry.

According to him, it was a “Sampled Census” with a total of 1,008 Enumeration Areas (EAs) selected from some 12,996 at the time.
He said the EAs were first stratified into 43 Agriculture Districts with urban, semi-urban and rural components.

The Volta Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Samuel Kofi Larbi, said the upcoming census of agriculture is very dear to the sector minister because the current data on agriculture in Ghana dates as far back as 1985, hence the need for current data for planning and decision making.

The current agriculture census program which is receiving technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will be conducted in four phases, spanning 4 years and has already started in 2016.

The current phase, which is the collection, processing and analyzing of data and reporting on Core and Community Modules will be implemented from March and September 2018.

 

Source: Kofi Gamor/ Globalfmonline.com/ 105.1

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