The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations on Tuesday night hailed as a milestone the 2013/14 Namibia Census of Agriculture Communal Sector Results Document, compiled by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).
Addressing the launch as guest speaker, FAO country representative Babagana Ahmadu, described the results as an extraordinary and internationally exemplary undertaking.
“The results mark an important milestone in the FAO mandate, but more important for Namibia in successfully establishing a long-term agriculture household framework as a basis for planning, monitoring and measuring livelihoods of farming communities in Namibia,” stated Ahmadu.
He said the triumph is the culmination of a series of painstaking preparatory activities and tactful implementation strategy put in place by the NSA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) and other stakeholders over the past two years.
“As you may be aware, one of the responsibilities of the FAO is to make available comparable agricultural and rural statistics at international level, and to build capacities of member nations to be able to regularly produce and disseminate good quality, reliable and comprehensive data and information,” said the FAO country representative.
Global experience shows that agricultural and rural statistics are important and crucial for individual countries and regional institutions to support decision-making so that the potential of agriculture and rural development is optimally expressed to increase the welfare of the masses.
He said the agricultural sector in Namibia, as elsewhere in Africa, is a key sector for accelerated economic growth, poverty reduction and food security. The FAO appreciates that concerted investments have been made by Namibia, and that new targeted interventions are being introduced to revitalise agricultural development.
The FAO’s technical input towards the 2013/14 Namibia Census of Agriculture was based on strengthening the national statistical system in availing data for responsive planning and decision making as a contribution to the achievement of NDP 4 set targets. “FAO remains committed to technically support your national programmes through our joint Country Programme Framework 2014-2018, a partnership agreement signed between FAO and Namibia,” he assured. In October 2012, the NSA requested FAO to initiate a technical cooperation programme in support of the 2013/2014 Namibia Census of Agriculture that conforms to applicable global principles.
With complementary resources mainly focused towards technical expertise, capacity development and technology input, the FAO has since ensured that the census met all the requirements and standards of the “2010 FAO World Programme for the Census of Agriculture” guidelines.
This global framework prescribes that countries will undertake their agricultural census in modules, rather than as a single one-off operation. The core module covers a limited range of key data required by national policy-makers and for sample frame construction.
One or more sample-based supplementary modules will then be implemented as part of the agricultural census to provide more detailed structural data. This approach reduces costs and allows countries to collect a greater range of data than in previous surveys and also provides for the collection of infrastructure data at the community level.
In line with this, the FAO has already supported the preparation of the draft proposal for the subsequent Namibia Annual Agricultural Surveys (AAS).
The FAO not only intends to provide technical assistance to the course of the AAS, but also reaffirmed its preparedness to support the government in advocating for resources from bilateral and multilateral agencies to support the AAS programme.
“I trust that the information gathered from the NCA would generally aid decision makers in the formulation of responsive economic and social policies and programmes to identify target groups for government assistance, construct models to stimulate the impact on individual groups of the various policy options and analyse the impact of decisions that have already been implemented, and of the economic situation and living conditions of agricultural households in Namibia,” he concluded.