Insights into agriculture were shared as the Lao PDR celebrated the launch of the nation’s 3rd Agriculture Census on Tuesday, December 21, 2021.
The census was launched by the Lao Statistics Bureau (LSB), Ministry of Planning and Investment in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The third Lao PDR Agriculture Census (LACIII) was conducted in 2019/20 and is the third Agriculture Census undertaken in the country following the second Agriculture Census undertaken nearly ten years ago in 2010/11 and the first in 1998/99.
LACIII is the first Agriculture Census in the Lao PDR to implement a Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) mode for data collection. The adoption of CAPI represents an effort by LSB and MAF to transition towards a digitized approach to data collection.
LSB led implementation for the LACIII in collaboration with MAF under the guidance of the Agriculture Steering Committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister with Technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The preliminary results of LACIII will be a key instrument for the Government of the Lao PDR to implement effective socio-economic and rural development plans to improve living standards in rural areas. Furthermore, this data is critical to the achievement of the Government of the Lao PDR’s 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the 2030 Agenda.
The transition to a tablet-based data collection also brings opportunities to take advantage of new data types such as geo-location, allowing the data to be analyzed and presented geographically. LACIII collected data from agricultural households engaged across major agricultural sub-sectors in the Lao PDR, including crops, livestock, forestry, and fisheries and aquaculture. LACIII includes fundamental data on the organizational structure of agricultural holdings such as farm size, land tenure, land use, the structure of livestock populations, gender-disaggregated data, forestry activities, fishing activities, and household food security.
Data collection for LACIII was successfully conducted in November and December 2020 amidst the challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic. More than 700 field staff from LSB, MAF, and local government offices assessed agricultural household holdings across the country despite the logistical challenges of conducting field data collection amid government-mandated measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
FAO provided technical support to this census in line with the methodological recommendations specified in World Census on Agriculture (WCA) 2020 guidelines.
“The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry extends its appreciation for the close collaboration with the Lao Statistics Bureau and FAO in the planning and implementation of the 3rd Lao PDR Agriculture Census,” Mr. Sousath Sayakoummane, Director General of Department of Planning and Finance of MAF said in comments delivered to the launch. “The collaboration brought together a variety of experts across statistics and agriculture to guarantee the relevance of data produced.”
“LACIII represents a foundational building block towards a sustainable agricultural data system in the Lao PDR. Mr. Nasar Hayat, FAO Representative in the Lao PDR said in comments relayed to the launch. “The Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has worked closely with FAO to be forward-looking in planning for LACIII by choosing to invest in new cost-effective technologies and methodologies that will provide the ground-work for future data needs in agriculture,” he said.
The LACIII also owes part of its success to the close cooperation between FAO and government partners, LSB and MAF, according to Ms. Sangita Dubey, Senior Statistician and a project Lead Technical Officer from the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. “Conducting data collection on the scale of an Agriculture Census is a significant undertaking that requires careful long-term planning and close cooperation across multiple partners and subject-matter expertise to ensure its success,” she said.
The quality of the partnership was acknowledged by Head of Lao Statistics Bureau Ms. Phonesaly Souksavath: “The Lao Statistics Bureau greatly appreciates strong collaboration from MAF and line ministries at central, provincial and district levels for their efforts and contribution to implement this census successfully. Specially, the technical support provided by FAO to provide personalized training and hands-on technical assistance for the implementation of the innovative technologies adopted for LACIII that resulted in the first Lao Agriculture Census completed using CAPI,” she said.
The 3rd Lao PDR Agriculture Census preliminary results are available now. Finalized results of LACIII will be available to interested organizations and individuals at the following link: www.lsb.gov.la
Source: Lao News Agency