UN agricultural agency and USAID sign agreement to boost developing countries' ability to track key data
UN Thursday 8th September, 2016
7 September 2016 — The United Nations agricultural agency today signed a $15
million agreement with the United States Agency for International Development
(USAID)nbsp;to boosting the capacity of developing countries to track key
agricultural data ” information considered essential to good policy-making and
that will help track progress toward achieving the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs).
‘In the decades to come, humanity will need to produce more food for a growing population using
natural resources such as water, land andnbsp;biodiversity in a sustainable
way ” while coping with the challenges imposed by climate change,’ the
Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Jos” Graziano da
Silva, said in a news release.
‘Our ability to boost food yields sustainably and meet the SDG hunger
eradication target will hinge on the availability of better, cost-effective and
timely statistical data for agriculture and rural areas’ he added.
On 1 January 2016, thenbsp;17 SDGsnbsp;of thenbsp;2030 Agenda for Sustainable Developmentnbsp;”
adopted by world leaders in September last year ” officially came into
force.nbsp;Over the next fifteen years, with the aim of achieving the SDGs,
countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities
and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
In particular, Goal 2 of
the SDGs is centred on ending hunger, achieving food security, improving
nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture.nbsp;According to FAO, Goal 2 recognizes
the interlinkages among supporting sustainable agriculture, empowering small
farmers, promoting gender equality, ending rural poverty, ensuring healthy
lifestyles, tackling climate change, and other issues.
Feeding a growing population
A farmer stands alongside his crops in Ed Damazine, in Sudan”s Blue Nile State. Photo: OCHA
Agro-forestry farmers tend to their crops in Kigoma, Tanzania. Forests are an integral part of the national agriculture policy with the aim of protecting arable land from erosion and increasing agricultural production. Photo: FAO/Simon Maina
FAO has assisted Mozambique in stepping up quality seed production to increase crop yields
The USAID donation will cover the first phase of an
FAO-led project that will run from 2016 to 2021, starting with pilot efforts in
four developing countries ” two in sub-Saharan Africa, one in Latin America and
one in Asia. A dialogue is under way with eligible countries.
The goal of the project is to design and implement a new and cost-effective
approach to agricultural data collection in developing world contexts, known as
agricultural integrated surveys (AGRIS).
In the news release, FAO said that the AGRIS methodology
will not only capture improved annual data on agricultural production, but also
broader and more detailed structural information relating to farms, including
employment, machinery use, production costs, farming practices, and
It will incorporate recent innovations like remote
sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), mobile technology and various uses
of ‘big data.’ These tools will introduce more objective approaches to
measuring agricultural performance, in some cases replacing traditional, more
expensive methods. In addition to better and more detailed data, AGRIS is also
expected to promote the integration of disparate data sources, improve data
timeliness and usability, and cut data collection costs.
“The end result,” according to FAO, “will be high-quality data on a wide range
of technical, economic, environmental and social dimensions of agriculture that
will help governments analyse and understand the impacts of agricultural
policies, assess progress toward the SDGs and other goals, and shape better
“Strong national data systems are critical for governments
and private sector actors to make informed and smart decisions that foster food
security and economic prosperity,” the Assistant to the Administrator for
USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, Beth Dunford, said in the FAO news release.