NAIROBI, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) — The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will avail financial resources and technical expertise to help African countries collect data on agriculture that is key to addressing food security crises in the continent, an official said on Monday.
Gabriel Rugalema, FAO representative in Kenya, said modern data collection and dissemination infrastructure is required to inform policy interventions on challenges facing agriculture in Africa, including climate change, pests, diseases, and loss of soil nutrients.
“Governments and development partners must have accurate, timely and accessible data to inform response to food insecurity that has increased in the African continent against a backdrop of rapid population growth and climate change,” said Rugalema.
He spoke in Nairobi during a regional roundtable on the World Program for the Census of Agriculture 2020 (WCA 2020), attended by policymakers and experts from 20 English-speaking African countries.
The UN food agency organized the five-day forum to sensitize African policymakers and experts on 2020 agricultural census that seeks to collect new data on the status of this critical sector.
Rugalema noted that African countries are keen to participate in the 2020 agricultural census that will shed light on emerging challenges affecting sectors like lethal pests and diseases, climate related shocks, pollution, and urbanization.
He urged African governments to improve their capacity to conduct agriculture census through investments in personnel and new technology.
“The capacity of African countries to carry out timely and well-managed agriculture census must be upgraded in the light of social and environmental changes that have impacted on the sector’s performance,” said Tugalema.
He added that the status of livestock, fisheries, gender and climate change will be captured in the 2020 global agriculture census.
Head of Statistics Division at FAO Regional Office for Africa Paul N’Goma Kimbatsa said accurate data on agriculture, forestry and fisheries will boost attainment of sustainable development goals in the continent.