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New approach to agricultural data collection: AGRIS kicks off in Ghana

The initiative to develop the Agricultural Integrated Survey (AGRIS) came as a response to the need for better, cost-effective and timely statistical data in the agricultural and rural sector. Following a decision made by the 11th Global Steering Committee in June 2015, the AGRIS methodology is being developed in the context of the Global Strategy to improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics thanks to the funding received from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

AGRIS is a new cost effective approach to agricultural data collection that will help developing countries to track key agricultural information essential to inform policy design and implementation, as well as improve market efficiency and support research. Specifically, it is a farm-based modular multi-year survey program that will accelerate the production of high-quality data on a wide range of technical, economic, environmental and social dimensions of agriculture.

Several components of the proposed methodology require field testing before finalization. Following earlier discussions with the Global Office of the Global Strategy , the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) expressed its interest in piloting the implementation of AGRIS. As a result of this collaboration, Ghana will be the first country to test and adopt the AGRIS methodology.

In this context, the Global Office organized a mission in Accra (Ghana) in early August 2016 to identify the main objectives of the future collaboration and discuss specific activities, timelines and implementation modalities. The mission identified three key outputs: 1) finalize the AGRIS global methodology; 2) support Ghana in pilot testing its own AGRIS and preparing its full implementation (AGRIS-Ghana); 3) support Ghana in setting up a sustainable long-term funding mechanism for AGRIS.

The AGRIS global methodology will be finalized through the conduction of pre-tests and field tests of draft questionnaires as well as experiments aimed at identifying accurate measurement approaches. This work will start in September 2016 and will be completed in the first half of 2017.

The preparation of AGRIS-Ghana will include a system of integrated agricultural surveys adapted to the country’s needs. The overall survey strategy will be developed by GSS and Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with the support of the Global Office. This phase is planned to take place in the second semester of 2017.

The last crosscutting output aims at setting up a long-term funding mechanism for AGRIS-Ghana. A series of initiatives will be put forth to ensure good visibility of the project and efficient outreach activities will be undertaken to contribute to a better engagement of data users and producers, and to support the development of a sustainable funding strategy for the implementation of AGRIS. The possibility of including the development of agricultural statistics in the second National Investment Plan will be also explored.​

Dr. Philomena Efua Nyarko, Government Statistician, Ghana Statistical Service
Christophe Duhamel, Global Office 


New publication: Guidelines for the Enumeration of Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic (Transhumant) Livestock


In many developing countries, livestock production is one of the fastest growing components of agriculture and, as the economic development progresses, it is expected to become the largest contributor to the sector. Given the importance of nomadic livestock in arid and semi-arid areas, the Global Strategy has developed the Guidelines for the Enumeration of Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic (Transhumant) Livestock.

The document provides practical guidelines to country statisticians. It aims to address the new awareness of the relative importance of livestock production and wealth generation that has arisen as well as the challenge to obtain reliable information on transient livestock populations wandering across extensive rangelands in search of seasonally available pasture.

New methods of assessing livestock resources and production parameters, and new tools that can be used for geo-referencing, recording and analysing data are also described.

In general, two types of surveys can be used to enumerate nomadic and transhumance livestock: (i) ground surveys and (ii) aerial/satellite surveys. Ground surveys are implemented in two main ways: by counting animals at enumeration points or by approaching ethic groups/clans leaders. Aerial surveys can be organized in two main ways: as total aerial counts or as sample counts, by using low-level aircrafts, drone and micro-drones, or satellite images.

The Guidelines were developed by several senior experts and are based on countries’ case studies. Valuable inputs were provided by the Global Strategy’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) members, the participants of the expert meeting that was held in Accra in July 2015 as well as the selected peer reviewers.


Neli Georgieva, Global Office



Upcoming Meetings

Effective Use of Administrative Data to Improve Agricultural Statistics

5-6 september 2016, fao headquarters, rome


Improving Methods for Estimating Crop Area, Yield, and Production Under Mixed, Repeated, and Continuous Cropping

7-8 september 2016, fao headquarters, rome


Global Strategy training and outreach workshop on agricultural surveys

24-25 october 2016, FAO headquarters, rome

The workshop will take place on the occasion of the 7th International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS VII) 


Meetings archive
Latest Publication

OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook (2016-2025)

The twelfth joint edition of the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook provides market projections to 2025 for major agricultural commodities, biofuels and fish.

All publications


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