The committee is also to ensure alignment of the aims and objectives of the Census of Agriculture programme with the broad national development policy to guide and support the mobilization of resources for the census.
A Census of Agriculture is a statistical operation, covering the whole country and allows for the collection, processing, publishing and dissemination of information on the structure of agriculture and the state of development of the rural areas.
Data will be collected directly from households and institutions engaged in agricultural activities, including crop farming, tree planting, livestock rearing and aquaculture or fish farming.
Information will also be collected from communities, mainly on the geography, availability of basic facilities, socio-economic conditions, transport, infrastructure, availability of agriculture and community service, potentials for development and constraints to development.
The last census of agriculture was conducted 33 years ago.
Inaugurating the committee, Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson, a member of the Council of State, said the overall objective of the census of agriculture was to produce and disseminate complete and reliable agricultural data to meet the needs of policy makers and other users to support informed decision making.
It would also allow the monitoring of development programmes, aimed at further developing agriculture and the rural areas, he said.
Mr Blankson said strengthening the national agricultural statistics system and improving the regular production as well as availability of reliable agricultural statistics as outlined in the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) document.
“The inauguration of the National Steering Committee, today, will complete the establishment of the institutional structures that are required for a successful implementation of a Census of Agriculture,” he said.
The Census of Agriculture programme would be implemented in four phases in line with the “Modular Approach” recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organisation for the 2020 Round of World Censuses of Agriculture.
The programme would be implemented in four phases with Phase I covering preparatory activities, such as development of project documents and census instruments that spanned the period 2014-2017.
The Phase II would involve carrying out complete enumeration of households and institutions and commercial farms to collect information on basic indicators on agricultural holdings including: identification and location of agricultural holding; Legal status of agricultural holder; Sex and age of agricultural hoIder, Land tenure types; and the presence of irrigation
Information will also be collected on some community facilities and infrastructure during the Phase II, which is being conducted from January to September 2018.
The Phase lll will be devoted to the implementation of the Comprehensive module that will collect detailed information on sample basis on Crops and Livestock.
It will also provide data on some Thematic Modules to be undertaken, including surveys on Horticulture production, Forestry, Fisheries, Post-harvest Losses and Fertilizer use on holdings from October 2018 to June 2019.
Phase IV will involve the preparation and dissemination of technical reports of all modules from July -December 2019.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, who chairs the Steering Committee, said effective agriculture data was key for the development of the sector, adding that, the conduct of the census would bring a great relieve to the country.
Mr Paul NGoma Kimbatsa, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Regional Statistician, commended Ghana for the effort to conduct a new census of agriculture, which would provide a new picture of the structure of agriculture since the last one more than 30 years ago.