Asia-Pacific region needs better data to assure progress in agricultural systems: FAO

February 11, 2020 - 11:38

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) urges its member countries for an acceleration in improvements to agricultural data gathering and monitoring to ensure the targets set out by the United Nations to achieve sustainable development are accurately reported in the world’s biggest region – Asia and the Pacific.

According to FAO, many countries are working to improve their systems of statistic-gathering and analyses for better planning in crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors.However, the capacity to adequately monitor and analyse agricultural statistics varies dramatically country-by-country, and nowhere in the world is that variance more prevalent than in the Asia-Pacific region.

Pietro Gennari, Chief Statistician of FAO, noted the significant data gaps in Asia-Pacific in monitoring the progress towards achieving sustainable development. “Slow country commitment to measuring the data, and the poor performance towards achieving the sustainable development, are closely connected. We are witnessing an inversion of the familiar axiom whereby ‘what gets measured gets done’. We are not measuring the sustainable development indicators, and this is one of the crucial reasons why we are not on track to achieving the targets.”

A plan for improving the use of ICT and “Big Data” in Agriculture Statistics

Adding to the many firsts, FAO recently announced new partnerships to help countries adopt cost effective technologies to produce agriculture statistics. FAO and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched a massive open on-line courses in 2019 and handbooks on use of computer assisted data collection using. 

FAO also announced a partnership with the ADB and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) to help countries use satellite data to generate agriculture statistics.   

“This new data source is part of what we call Big Data, and its development is often led by the private sector. Partnering with the private sector allows us to innovate, and is a game changer in how governments produce official statistics,” said SangitaDubey, FAO Regional Statistician. 

FAO, as the lead UN agency dedicated to increasing food and agricultural development, advocates for new approaches to develop an integrated system of agricultural census and surveys, enhance data quality assurance, produce and share privacy-protected micro data, and provide crop, livestock and fisheries statistics in a cost-effective manner.

(Source: FAO)

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