Business News of Friday, 21 December 2012

Source: thebftonline

Agric census to be held next year

An agricultural census to unearth detailed information about the sector for possible investment will be undertaken next year by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with the Ghana Statistical Service, with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

“We have observed that for a long time Ghana has not had credible and reliable agricultural information. The last time we had an agricultural census was in 1985.

“We are now preparing to have another agricultural census which will give us detailed information about the number of people engaged in the various agric sectors like crops, livestock and fishing,” said Kofi Agyeman-Duah, the acting Deputy Government Statistician in charge of operations.

“Information from agriculture feeds into the Gross Domestic Product. Through this census, we will be able to plan effectively and know which areas need to be considered for agricultural purposes, and which crops thrive better in certain areas so that businesses who want to invest in agric would know where to invest.”

Mr. Agyeman-Duah was speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Accra on the preparations for the census. He said the census will cover non-traditional crops such as pineapple, cashew, snail and grasscutter rearing.

Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Musa Saihou Mbenga, said a census of agriculture provides fundamental data on the organisational structure of agricultural holdings such as farm size, land use, land tenure, livestock numbers and the use of machinery, as well as the number of holdings with each crop and livestock type.

“It is a large-scale statistical operation for the collection and derivation of quantitative information about the structure of agriculture in the country,” he said.

The FAO boss noted that in recent years, increasing efforts have been made towards the better integration of statistical activities, such that the census of agriculture will provide certain data as part of an integrated set of data needed for decision making in agriculture and rural development.

A budget of US$19million has been drawn up to cover the census for a period of four years (2013-2016). The main source of funding for the project is government, which is expected to seek support from its development partners.