feature by Mildred Siabi-Mensah
Takoradi, April 04, GNA – It's been 33 years since the last census of Agriculture was conducted in the country to gather real data on people and communities that provided the country with its daily bread.
Throughout the period, our planning on agriculture has been on the growing population inferring from the past results, making some adjustment and then projections that “this and that” number of people were engaged in the age old culture of working to put food on the table of every human kind.
The situation only goes to affirm the fact that as a country, we have not done much in proper planning to engineer real development especially when it comes to planning with statistics.
Agriculture, has been touted as a huge industry with the ability to increase foreign direct investment, boost local economy, and improve livelihoods of people who engage in the practice either small or large scale and ultimately halt poverty among communities and individuals but not much attention had been devoted to this all important sector.
Many of the divisions within the agriculture sectors continue to suffer losses due to post harvest storage problems or incessant importation particularly the rice, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetable which if not checked could eventually cripple the local industries.
The Census of Agriculture (COA)
Government must be commended and supported by all stakeholders to ensure that it lived up to the purpose and enhanced food security whilst improving livelihood of practitioners.
The Ghana Statistical Service, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and other stakeholders have come together to conduct this COA in a bid to produce and disseminate complete and reliable agriculture data to meet the needs of users for informed decision making and for monitoring development programmes.
The move would also help in monitoring development programmes aimed at further developing agriculture, increase enthusiasm among stakeholders and younger generations and rural areas.
Certainly, the 1985 data on Census of Agriculture can no longer serve any useful purpose for a country that has grown into 29 million population within the last three decades.
And it is better late than never to collect the latest information from households, institutions and other relevant bodies on the structure of Agriculture in the country.
Mr Francis Kingsley Ato Cudjoe, the Deputy Minister, Fisheries and Aquaculture Development at the trainers of trainee workshop said knowing the structure of agriculture in the country was key to rebasing the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
It will provide statistics on agriculture for policy makers to allocate public resources effectively and better identify, prepare, implement and evaluate developmental projects aimed at promoting agriculture in the rural areas and provide current information to help address environmental issues at the community level.
Mr Cudjoe said reliable agriculture statistics will be generated within the period for the purposes of planning, monitoring food security and livelihood requirements.
The census of Agriculture, will be preceded by a listing exercise during which trained field personnel would visit households and institutions to assign numbers to all structures and identify households for the actual data collection exercise.
After that, enumerators would be deployed to various houses and institutions engaged in the production of any type of food crop, livestock, aquaculture in both inland and offshore waters as well as any type of tree planting activity.
In the Western Region, about 5000 enumerators are to be deployed for the task ahead.
Mr Ernest Nyarku, Regional Statistician appealed to religious leaders, the media and community leaders to effectively engage their followers on the census in order to ease the burden of enumerators during the April working period.
In fact, it is possible to obtain a credible data on agriculture, if enumerators would keep their shoulders to the wheel and do the right thing devoid of misrepresentation and forgeries in order to accelerate national development planning.