Strengthening Agricultural Statistics and Food Security Information in CARD Countries through South-South Cooperation

By March 17, 2019 September 5th, 2019 Solution


Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of undernourished people in the world (approximately 20 percent). Therefore, food security is one of the most urgent regional challenges. Simultaneously, as the demand for rice increases sharply, so do the region’s rice imports, which now total almost 40 percent of the world’s total. Considering this situation, it is very important to mobilize international cooperation and work on policies in order to secure food security, particularly for rice. However, the region lacks reliable statistics, which is fundamental for this type of activity. Agricultural statistics in this region must therefore be improved.

Towards a Solution

The project seeks to improve the capacity of members of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) to obtain and provide, in a timely fashion, reliable statistics on rice- growing areas and/or yields, based on statistical methods and experiences from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Africa Rice Centre (AfricaRice) while also benefiting from FAO’s South-South Cooperation Programme. Reliable rice production surveys support government planning and contributes to the international community’s efforts to eliminate hunger.

This project is designed to utilize expertise from ASEAN and Africa gathered by the Government of Japan over past years. Japan has a long history of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in statistical development in ASEAN countries, especially by establishing the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS). These activities have helped ASEAN Member States to develop agricultural statistics experts. Those resources may be used in African countries for technology transfer, especially for rice production surveys, as ASEAN Member States are the major rice-producing countries in the world and they are experienced in developing their own rice production survey methods. In addition, a Japan- funded project was implemented to develop a rice production survey method suitable for Africa, in cooperation with AfricaRice. This experience can also be used to build capacity in target countries.

The project activities included three main components:

  • Identify appropriate survey methods: Appropriate survey methods were identified among several being implemented in ASEAN countries that can be implemented in the selected CARD countries based on their technical needs, current data availability and quality, current statistical methods and need for additional improvements. To identify appropriate survey methods, a pre-test was conducted to compare several methods in Uganda. In line with this, standard manuals for the selected survey methods were prepared. These manuals are modified based on the needs and circumstances of each target country and are used for the training workshop and the pilot survey;
  • Hold training workshops: The capacities of central/ local institutions and enumerators in the eight target recipient countries were strengthened through the training workshop and presentations by ASEAN and AfricaRice experts who discussed their experiences and expertise in rice production surveys; and,
  • Conduct pilot surveys: After the training workshop, the selected methods were applied and the pilot surveys were conducted in eight target countries in a limited geographical area. The objectives of the pilot survey were to improve survey skills in target countries and to provide results of the surveys collected using different methods. As of May 2018, the training workshop and pilot survey have been implemented in six countries (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Madagascar).

The survey methods applied and the specific activities are decided based on discussions with focal points in each target country. This is to encourage voluntary participation and strong ownership. During pilot surveys, officials instruct enumerators in conducting surveys correctly and provide supervision. The enumerators carry out the field surveys based on the knowledge gained in the training. This enables them to design and conduct their own nationwide rice production surveys in the future.

The survey methods that the project adopts can be used in other African countries, assuming that: the project uses survey methods that take into account each country’s rice cultivation and agricultural statistics system; and, the feasibility of the method chosen was emphasized, given the lack of human and financial resources in African countries.

The project held regional and national workshops so as to share results and discuss appropriate survey methods and to contribute to conducting a nationwide survey in target countries in the future with officials who are involved in the project and other related international organizations. These discussions enable participants to enhance their understanding of how to conduct their nationwide survey.

Sustainable Development Goal target(s): 2.1, 2.2, 2.4

Countries/ territories involved: Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda

Supported by: AfricaRice, ASEAN, Government of Japan

Implementing entities: FAO

Project status: Ongoing

Project period: 2013-2019

URL of the practice: N/A


Name: Mr. Masahiro Hosaka, Project Coordinator, South-South Cooperation Unit (DPSS), Partnerships and South-South Cooperation Division (DPS), FAO