UNECA urges production, use of agricultural statistics to improve food security

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By Temitope Ponle

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has called for the modernisation of the production and use of agricultural statistics to improve food security.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Communications Section UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Thursday.

According to the statement, UNECA hosted a celebration for Africa Statistics Day 2022.

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It had as its theme “Strengthening data system by modernising the production and use of agricultural statistics with a view of informing policies to improve resilience in agriculture, nutrition, and food security on the African Continent.”

The event was organised in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC), and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Oliver Chinganya, Director of the African Centre for Statistics at the ECA said the aim of the webinar was to “inspire our thinking on the need to strongly advocate for statistics daily”.

“Especially agricultural statistics given their critical role in shaping the farm economy as a more sustainable livelihood.”

In her keynote address, Uwera Claudine, Minister of State in Charge of Economic Planning for the Government of Rwanda said improving agricultural data systems would close existing data gaps.

“(This is) by ensuring a reliable flow of timely data for informed approaches to advance policy dialogue and policymaking towards building resilient systems for sustainable agriculture and by extension, food security on the continent.”

Also, Adoum Gagoloum, Chief of the Economics and Statistics Division at the Pan-African Institute for Statistics, spoke on the critical role Africa Statistics Day played in the African agenda.

“It is an opportunity for data users to get together and deliver a message to political decision-makers, civil society and the private sector.”

Gagoloum further spoke on the need to strengthen data systems to enable Africa develop its human capital and social and economic development.

Furthermore, Louis Kouakou, Acting Director for Statistics at the AfDB, spoke on the bank’s commitment to supporting National Statistical Offices across the continent.

“We are supporting African countries through the Statistical Capacity Building project which provides technical assistance on various statistical domains including agricultural statistics.”

FAO’s Chief Statistician, Pietro Gennari, delivered a presentation on the capacity of African countries to monitor food and agriculture relating to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators.

Gennari said: “While data availability across Africa is increasing, data gaps in key indicators and some countries still constrain the continent’s ability to design and implement targeted interventions to combat food insecurity, malnutrition and the degradation of natural resources.”

He, however, spoke on a systemic approach to improve the production and use of food and agriculture-related SDG indicators within a broader effort to modernise national statistical systems.

Other presenters at the event included Samuel Annim, Director General, Ghana Statistical Services; Alexandre Biaou, Director, Agricultural Statistics for Benin; and Idrissa Diagne, Acting Director, National School of Statistics and Analysis.

According to the statement, each year, Africa Statistics Day revolves around raising awareness amongst decision-makers, development partners, data producers and users, academia, researchers, and the public on the importance of statistics.

National Statistical Offices in member states organise a series of events to celebrate the Africa Statistics Day and foster debate around the theme.

The events for 2022 focused more on the conducting of agricultural censuses, surveys and adoption of modern tools and methodologies for analysing food security.

The events also focused on the use of statistics in planning, monitoring and evaluation in Africa. (NAN)

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