The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is the lead agency for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development. It works to alleviate poverty and hunger by promoting sustainable agricultural development, improved nutrition and the pursuit of food security. FAO especially helps developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. The Millennium Declaration is an important basis for FAO policy, particularly Goal 1 (Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger) and Goal 7 (Ensure environmental sustainability and reverse the loss of environmental resources (forest cover). FAO is giving strong support to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), including its Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
The Technical Cooperation Department is the operational arm of FAO translating the Organization’s technical expertise into practical application in the field. It responds to the needs of member countries and combines the expertise, the funding and the development partners to produce sustainable results in the fight against hunger. The Department implements and coordinates FAO’s field activities in close cooperation with technical departments, decentralized offices and Member Nations.
The Statistics Division is part of the Economic and Social Department. The main activities of the Statistics Division are:
- collect, assemble, compile, analyze and disseminate statistics and related metadata on world food and agriculture through its corporate database FAOSTAT and to collaborate with member countries in improving the availability and quality of data;
- compile and disseminate food security indicators for monitoring progress towards the achievement of the MDG target on hunger and to prepare annual food supply assessments for all countries
- develop concepts, definitions, classifications, and methodologies on the global agricultural statistics programme.
- assist in development and improvement of food and agricultural statistics by providing advice and technical assistance to member countries in: agricultural census and surveys; planning for agricultural statistics systems; strengthening national institutions; statistical data processing; dissemination of country data (CountrySTAT); food consumption statistics and derived indicators;
- provide technical inputs in the form of short-term expert and consultant services, short-term and practically-oriented training activities to build statistical capacity, and equipment and supplies;
- advocate for better coordination between the Ministry of Agriculture, other line ministries and the National Statistical Office and for the integration of the Agriculture Sector into the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics;
- promote the coordination of statistical activities performed by different FAO Departments and facilitate the development of an integrated FAO statistical programme;
- represent FAO’s statistical work in international fora and increase its visibility by strengthening partnership with major international organizations and development partners.
- advocate for the importance of sound food and agricultural statistics for the design, monitoring and implementation of effective and efficient food security and rural development policies.
The Statistics Division is organized in five teams: Production and Trade Statistics Team; National Statistical Systems, Census and Surveys Team; Food Security and Social Statistics Team; Economic and Environmental Statistics Team; Statistical Systems and Data Dissemination Team.
The Production and Trade Statistics Team collects, compiles, analyzes and disseminates statistics on food and agricultural production, international trade and its flows by origin and destination. It derives agricultural trade, output and productivity indexes. It collaborates with member countries to improve the availability and quality of production and trade statistics, organizing regional training-workshops on FAO methodologies, data collection and data processing system of food and agriculture products. It collaborates with other International Organizations (EUROSTAT and UNSD) in coordinating data collection activities and data exchange.
The National Statistical Systems, Census and Surveys Team promotes, in partnership with other international agencies, the development of integrated national statistical systems for food and agriculture, including survey programmes for agriculture. It assesses needs of countries for technical assistance in planning and conducting agricultural censuses and surveys, including data processing, analysis and dissemination of the results. It provides technical assistance and training to member countries in the design and implementation of agricultural censuses and surveys; and in the preparation of agricultural statistics systems strategies. It prepares methodological studies and manuals in its areas of work and organizes expert consultations, seminars and workshops. It promotes the participation of countries in the FAO World Agricultural Census Programmes. Prepares decennial world agricultural census programmes, including scope, coverage, concepts, definitions, classifications, methodology and proposed tabulations. Maintains documentation and a database on national agricultural censuses. It also manages CountrySTAT outreach programme, promoting the adoption of CountrySTAT for the dissemination of national and regional statistical information on food and agriculture and providing training and technical assistance to CountrySTAT partner countries.
The Food Security and Social Statistics Team compiles and analyses food consumption and demographic data and derives indicators pertaining to the food and nutrition situation. It contributes to the global monitoring of MDGs, manages the Food Security Database and provides estimates of food deprivation for the preparation of the annual FAO publication "State of Food Insecurity". Provides technical assistance and training to member countries in areas of its competence. Contributes to UN Inter-Agency activities for monitoring progress on MDGs and to the harmonization of concepts and statistical methods for the related indicators. Prepares regular briefs for regional and economic groupings for the Director General and summary socio-economic indicators.
The Economic and Environmental Statistics Team, collects compiles, analyzes and disseminates data on: Agricultural Producer Prices (farm gate); Capital Stock; External Assistance to Agriculture; Public Expenditure on Agriculture; Fertilizers; Pesticides; Land-use, Irrigation and Agricultural Machinery. It collaborates with member countries to improve the availability and quality of Economic and Environmental statistics, organizing regional training-workshops and providing technical support on FAO methodologies. It collaborates with other International Organizations in coordinating data collection activities and data exchange.
The Statistical Systems and Data Dissemination Team maintains FAOSTAT, the FAO corporate database of standardized and consolidated national, regional and global statistics on food, agriculture and hunger, disseminating data on about 200 countries and territories from 1961 onwards. Since July 2010 open and free access is granted to all FAOSTAT data.. The team supervises and organizes the updating of the FAOSTAT metadata system and data quality. Data and metadata contained in the FAOSTAT system are also published both in hard-copy as FAO Statistical Yearbook well as on CD-ROMs In collaboration with the CountrySTAT initiative the team promotes the use of Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange Standard (SDMX) for automated harvesting procedures at national, regional and supranational partners. The Team is also in charge of the improvement and maintenance of the Statistics’ Division website
The field programme of the Statistics Division is implemented with the support of five Regional Statisticians, located in the FAO Regional Office for Africa (Accra, Ghana), Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok, Thailand), Europe and Central Asia (Budapest, Hungary), Latin America and the Caribbean (Santiago, Chile) and the Near East (Cairo, Egypt). The Regional Statisticians serve as contact points for country requests for assistance. For further information please contact Mr Pietro Gennari (Pietro.Gennari@fao.org), Director, Statistics Division .
The World Programme for the 2010 Round of Agricultural Censuses
FAO promotes the programme for the 2010 round of agricultural censuses. A new agricultural census methodology has been developed following a review of country experiences and an evaluation of data needs. The agricultural census will be the centre piece of the system of integrated agricultural censuses and surveys, with the agricultural surveys to be carried out based on sampling frames provided by the agricultural census. A modular approach is to be used for the agricultural census. A core census module, to be carried out on a complete enumeration or large sample basis, will provide data for a small number of key items; and one or more census supplementary modules, to be carried out on a sample basis, will collect more in-depth data. The latest World Programme for the Census of Agriculture (WCA 2010), presented in the publication “A System of Integrated Agricultural Censuses and Surveys, Volume 1, World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010”, provides countries with a flexible approach to the collection of structural agricultural data on a variety of subjects.
CountrySTAT is a web-based information system for disseminating food and agriculture statistics at the national and subnational levels. It provides decision-makers and researchers access to statistics across thematic areas such as agricultural production, trade, resources and consumption. It also provides countries with methodologies for compiling, validating, organizing, analyzing data in these domains and set up statistical modules for collection, processing, and dissemination. Through national and regional projects, ESS establishes partnerships with national statistical offices and ministries of agriculture, fisheries and forestry to facilitate the coordination of the agricultural statistical system and build the capacity to use CountrySTAT. In each country a nationally tailored version of CountrySTAT is developed and the national governments makes a substantial contribution to ensure its deployment and continued training and maintenance.
Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics
The Global Strategy provides a comprehensive review of data requirements for the 21st century and the framework and statistical methodology that are necessary for their production and dissemination on a regular basis. The basic fundamentals of the Global Strategy are based on three pillars: the need to identify a minimum set of core data; the integration of agriculture into the national statistical system; and the sustainability of agricultural statistics through governance and statistical capacity. The most far reaching pillar is the integration of agriculture into the national statistical system which is to be achieved through the development of a master sample frame for agriculture, its use in an integrated survey programme that brings together census, survey, administrative and other data, and the implementation of a data management system. The United Nations Statistical Commission at its 41st session in February 2010 welcomed the Strategy and endorsed its technical content and strategic directions.
FAO, under the guidance of the Friends of the Chair of the Statistical Commission, is developing Global and Regional Implementation Plans that include a comprehensive technical assistance and training program as well as a targeted research agenda to support the implementation of the statistical methodology required by the strategy and also the development of methodological guidelines for specific conditions such as small scale agriculture, agriculture under difficult conditions, and nomadic populations. The implementation of the Global Strategy requires a concerted effort and mobilization of resources from the donor community as well as from international, regional, and national organizations providing technical assistance.
Received November 2010