A step closer to better agricultural statistics in Africa

An initiative to improve the quality and quantity of agricultural statistics in Africa has reached one of its first milestones: All African countries have now adopted an action plan designed to support the goal.

This is according to Vincent Ngendakumana, coordinator of the Action Plan for Africa of Improving Statistics for Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development at the African Development Bank. Twenty-one countries attended the latest workshop AfDB co-hosted to introduce the strategy and begin assessing the state of the countries’ agricultural statistics.

The workshop was held Aug. 29 in Ethiopia and follows a similar workshop in June in Rwanda. Thirty-six countries, including Algeria, Ghana, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, attended the first workshop, Ngendakumana told Devex.

The action plan, Ngendakumana explained, is in line with a global strategy launched in 2011 that seeks to improve the state of agricultural statistics worldwide. The plan, developed by AfDB in cooperation with partners such as the Food and Agricultural Organization and U.N. Economic Commission for Africa, has four main mechanisms: training, research, technical assistance and governance.

AfDB will spearhead the technical assistance and governance mechanism, UNECA will handle training, and FAO will be in charge of research.

On how activities under these mechanisms will be carried out, Ngendakumana cites the work program in the action plan that says existing structures will be used and new ones will be created only when necessary. International expertise may also be tapped where local capacities are lacking, the strategy says, stressing that South-South cooperation will be prioritized.

Improving the state and use of agricultural statistics in Africa is just part of various efforts to boost the region’s agriculture sector, which has been a priority agenda of various donors over the past years. Among other initiatives in line with these efforts are projects to boost productivity of Africa’s farms and help countries become more resilient to drought.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.