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Farm, fishery census coming up

By: Riza T. Olchondra, January 17th, 2012 05:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The government is set to come up with a Census of Agriculture and Fisheries to make dependable farm data available to economic data producers and policy makers.

Pilot surveys will kick off “in selected areas” around March 2012, according to Dr. Romeo Recide of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).  Recide was at the National Statistical Coordination Board’s workshop on the Philippine Statistical Development Program.

“We need this census because it will tell us, for example, how many farmers do we actually have in the Philippines, what is the size of their farm, do they own or rent the land, what crop or livestock or fishery product do they have, and so on,” Recide said.

This would help policy makers design programs and allocate resources where they would have maximum impact, officials said.

Data users from different agencies who attended the workshop welcomed the census and other initiatives to fine-tune agricultural data since the agricultural sector makes up a significant part of the Philippines’ economy.

Consultant Nelia R. Marquez, who used to be deputy administrator at the National Statistics Office, said that farm data would be more useful with information on whether farms plant vegetables, raise cattle, have mixed uses, and so on.

Marquez also said that having more specific data down to the barangay level would be more useful than, say, provincial level data.

Agriculture accounted for about 14 percent of the country’s gross domestic product based on the recently rebased national accounts, Recide said.

The census, Recide said, would be part of overall efforts of the Department of Agriculture to improve data collection, processing, verification, and distribution.

In 2010, one of the goals set by then-newly appointed Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala was to strengthen data collection and to track the dependability of agricultural information.

“The accuracy of statistical records is most critical in designing and implementing programs on a local and national level,” Alcala had said.

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