News Item

​Great Need for Agricultural Statistics System, Says Koya

News 22 Mar 2018

There is a need to build a sus­tainable agricultural statis­tics system, says the Fiji Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Land and Mineral Resources, Faiyaz Koya.

With close to three quarters of the population of Pacific countries liv­ing in rural areas who depend on agriculture and fisheries for surviv­al, Mr Koya said such a system was needed.

“This system will not only help in targeted policy making but also monitor the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals [SDG] in the region,” the minister said yesterday while opening the 27th Session of Asia-Pacific Com­mission on Agriculture Statistics (APCAS) at the Sheraton Fiji Resort in Denarau, Nadi.

There are more than 100 partici­pants from 30 countries attending the forum, which includes delegates from Asia Pacific on Agriculture Statistics (APCAS) member coun­tries, observers from non-member countries, international organisa­tions and technical experts from FAO Regional Office and headquar­ters.

The forum aims to identify the needs and priorities of member countries to develop sound statisti­cal systems capable of providing data for planning and policy-making in the food and agriculture sector.

Mr Koya said the aim was to raise people’s living standards and nutri­tional status, especially rural dwell­ers.

“This underlying principle has made Fiji very proud of our mem­bership and of what we have been able to achieve alongside our AP­CAS partners,” he said.

“Over the last decade, Fiji has em­barked on a progressive path that has seen our standing in the world and our integration with the region, grow exponentially.”

Mr Koya said the occasion was his­torical as this was the first time that all Pacific countries were represent­ed in the history of APCAS.

With Papua New Guinea and Ton­ga being new members, Mr Koya hopes other Pacific countries will join APCAS and help gather greater attention to their problems and seek harmonised solutions.

“In the Asia-Pacific region, gaps exist in agriculture data at national and regional levels,” the minister said.

“However, the data situation for ag­riculture has eroded in recent dec­ades to the point where, many coun­tries lack the capacity to produce and report even the minimum set of data to monitor national trends or guide the international develop­ment debate.

“The changing face of agriculture in the twenty-first century has in­creased requirements for agricul­tural statistics beyond traditional data about production, which is used to monitor the status of food availability and food security.

“In addition, one must not forget that new data requirements are emerging and we therefore need to understand how population growth, demand for natural resources, use of food products to produce biofuels, and the effects of extreme weather and climate change, affect food secu­rity, poverty and well-being.”

Mr Koya said efforts to improve the awareness on SDG indicators and development of a harmonised approach to the collection and use of agricultural and rural statistics in the Asia and Pacific region would be achieved through provision of information on the programme for the World Census of Agriculture 2020.

Tied to the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’, driven by means of partnerships, accountability and underpinned by communication, FAO’s broad priorities in the 2030 Agenda are to:

  • End poverty, hunger and malnu­trition
  • Enable sustainable development in agriculture, fisheries and for­estry
  • Combat and adapt to climate change. Edited by Naisa Koroi

Source: Fiji Sun