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Improving the quality of Food Consumption Data in Household Surveys

On the occasion of the 45th Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission, FAO and the World Bank organized, with support from the Global Strategy, a pre-conference event and a seminar aimed at launching an international effort to improve the quality of food consumption data in household surveys.

An assessment carried out by the World Bank, FAO, and the International Household Survey Network (IHSN) on 100 household surveys world-wide, found great variety across surveys in data collection methods and pointed to many areas where survey design and questionnaires could be improved. The primary objective of these surveys is usually to measure poverty,  derive consumption patterns needed for the calculation of consumer price indices, or provide input for the compilation of national accounts.

These data are increasingly being re-purposed and used to calculate food security indicators, compile food balance sheets, plan and monitor food-based nutrition interventions, serve the information needs of the private sector, and for other research activities. What makes a survey dataset “fit for purpose” is specific to each of these particular uses. Small improvements can sometimes lead to a significant increase in reliability and thus to great improvements in measurement accuracy.

A number of UNSC members (including Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mongolia, and Peru and several institutional members) have expressed interest in playing an active role in a proposed medium-term program of work which will entail validating different survey design options to evaluate their impact on data quality. Work on two pilot tests has already started in Indonesia (BPS) and Peru (INEI), both with technical and financial support from the Global Strategy and the Living Standard Measurement Study survey team of the World Bank. The ultimate objective of this work program is to develop, validate and promote scalable standards for the measurement of food consumption in household surveys.

Alberto Zezza, World Bank


Yield Forecasting: Synergies between the Global Strategy and the AMIS project

Methods for crop production forecasts address two components – methods for measuring areas to be harvested and methods for estimating forecasted yields. The former is relatively straightforward, while the estimate of expected yield is more challenging to obtain. In addition, there is a wide variety of approaches and methods to estimate expected yield.
In the context of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics, a comprehensive review of the existing approaches has been undertaken.  These range from direct estimates using objective yield procedures or interviews, to methods using econometric modelling, including agro-meteorological models using ground based and remotely sensed data. 
The AMIS project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), is building on synergies with the Global Strategy’s work by providing documentation and analysis of current national or international practices. It adds value by:

1. Looking at methods using a combination of ground data and remotely sensed data;
2. Looking at the required data infrastructure and the institutional set-up behind each method;
3. Providing guidance on the various trade-offs between cost/capacity/quality, for each method.

Outputs of this work will improve data and information systems in interested countries – especially those benefiting from AMIS capacity building programmes.
Established upon request of the Agriculture Ministers of the G20, the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) is an inter-Agency Platform to enhance food market transparency and encourage the coordination of policy action in response to market uncertainty. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) supports the 4th pillar of AMIS (Capacity Development) through a grant to FAO to finance the project “Strengthening Agricultural Market Information Systems (AMIS) globally and in selected countries (Bangladesh, India and Nigeria) using innovative methods and digital methodology”.

François Fonteneau, AMIS project Coordinator, FAO

Developing a Handbook for the Master Sampling Frame for Agricultural Statistics

One of the key pillars of the Global Strategy to improve agricultural and rural statistics is the integration of agriculture into the National Statistical System, and the Master Sampling Frame (MSF) is the technical tool recommended for achieving this integration. The research programme of the Action Plan to implement the Global Strategy includes a large number of activities related to the best methods for developing and using the MSF.  Several high level consultants have been working for the Global Office and have produced technical reports on various aspects of the MSF. These reports are currently being revised and finalized by the Scientific Advisory Committee members and will be  disseminated by the Global Office shortly.
The topics covered by the reports are the following: Improving the use of GPS, GIS and RS for setting up a master sampling frameDeveloping more efficient and accurate methods for using remote sensing; Identifying the most appropriate sampling frame for specific landscape types; and, Improving methods for linking area frames with list frames

In addition, the recommendations included in the reports will be further discussed with country and regional experts before being field tested.
As indicated in the Action Plan, the Global Office has commissioned a core group of Senior Experts to initiate the preparation of guidelines for the development and use of the MSF based on the existing technical reports and other relevant documentation available and results from field tests. The main purpose is to provide countries with guidelines on the MSF that can be immediately used to improve the agricultural statistics systems.
The core group has already agreed on a detailed outline of the Handbook, which is expected to be made available by the end of 2014.

Naman Keita, Global Office, Global Strategy

Latest News from the Global Office

The Global Office of the Global Strategy is pleased to announce that the Ninth Meeting of the Global Steering Committee will take place on 10 September 2014 at FAO headquarters in Rome, in the margins of the 24th session of the Committee for Coordination of Statistical Activities, CCSA (11-12 September). 
We would like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to Ms. Carola Fabi, who has joined the Global Office as Statistician for Technical Assistance and Training in April. She will be responsible for coordinating the production of guidelines and training material, ensuring a coordinated approach for a smooth implementation of technical assistance activities and training with partners in the regions.
With kind regards,
The Global Office Team

Upcoming Meetings

Regional Steering Committee Meeting for Africa

30 April - 1 MAY 2014, nairobi, kenya


In-Depth Country Assessment Workshop

6-8 May 2014, accra, ghana


Ninth Meeting of the Global Steering Committee

10 september 2014, FAO Hq, Rome

The meeting will take place in the margins of the 24th session of the Committee for Coordination of Statistical Activities, CCSA (11-12 September 2014)


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