From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
As part of measures to know the accurate data of agricultural yields in Nigeria, yearly, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), together with World Bank and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) will embark on the National Agriculture Sample Census.
Speaking at the Stakeholders’ Sensitisation Workshop on National Agricultural Sample Census in Keffi, Nasarawa State, the Director, Demography and Household Statistics Department of NBS, Mr Adeyemi Adeniran, said that the exercise is critical and it would involve the enumeration of all agricultural activities in the country, including crop production, fisheries, forestry, and livestock activities.
According to him, conventionally, the agriculture census is meant to be conducted every five to 10 years in line with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) standards.
However, the last round of the census was carried out in 1993/94, hence the crucial need for the census at this time. While several attempts have been made since then to conduct the census, it was never fully conducted.
Therefore, it is imperative that the exercise was conducted this year.
“The census is a complete enumeration of all agricultural activities within the country. This enumeration includes both small holder farmers and large corporate farms. The small holders or subsistent farmers will be canvassed through the households, while the corporate farms will be done through our framework for conducting establishment surveys. The implementation of the exercise will be done in two phases, the first being the Listing Phase, and the second being the Sample Survey Phase. Under the first phase, enumerators will visit selected farms and farming households to collect information. The scope of information to be collected in this phase includes demographic details of the holders, type of agricultural activity (crop production, fishery, poultry, or livestock), the type of produce or product (for example: rice, maize, sorghum, chicken, or cow), and the details of the contact persons.
“In the second phase, a sample of the farms listed under the first phase will be taken and more detailed information collected. In addition to the information collected in the first phase, data such as size of the holding, area cultivated, total yield, type of farming practices, inputs, challenges, amongst others, will be gathered.
“The methodology to be adopted in the conduct of this exercise is advanced. For the first time in Nigeria, the entire process will be carried out digitally. NBS has already planned with the National Population Commission (NPC) to secure newly-demarcated digital enumeration maps of the entire country. This newly-carved out maps will serve as a basis for the segmentation of the areas we intend to visit for this assignment. With these new digital maps which will be complemented by satellite imagery, the process for identifying the farming areas and communities will be much easier, making the segmentation process more efficient and cost-effective. Electronic devices will be deployed for the data collection and land measurements in the field. Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) devices will be deployed for interviews with respondents, while GPS mapping devices will be used for the measurement of the plot areas. For the field personnel, a robust training programme has been put in place to equip them for the census. There will be two levels of training, one at the headquarters in Abuja for the trainers, and another in the states, for the enumerators, with each one lasting five days. There will also be data editors and data assistants working remotely in the headquarters. Their role will be to check the information coming in from the field in real-time and provide immediate feedback to the field personnel where necessary.
“As is the usual practice in any NBS data collection exercise, adequate physical monitoring and spot-checks will be conducted by senior level officers of the bureau. This will ensure enumerators are following the laid down protocols for data collection and is also intent on rendering assistance to the field personnel in resolving any logistical or operational issues. All these measures will go a long way in safeguarding the quality and integrity of this exercise.
Following this sensitisation event today, another sensitisation session will be held for stakeholders in the southern part of the country next week, after which the training of trainers for the census will commence. A pre-test exercise and pilot have already been completed, with the findings of both activities, used to strengthen the design and logistical arrangements for the census” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman, Board of Directors of the bureau, Dr Kabiru Nakaura, stressed the need for data in the agricultural sector, saying that without adequate information on the activities of the sector, Nigerians would not know the quantum of foods they consume at a particular time. ENDS