The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), have revitalized the Agriculture Statistics Unit at the MOA to ensure the management and sustainability of reliable data on agricultural performance in the country.
Agriculture Minister Moses Zinnah said access to quality and affordable data has been a challenge for the ministry.
Minister Zinnah made the statement last Friday during the official opening of the statistics unit in Fendell, outside Monrovia
“We are pleased that with the support of the FAO, access to quality data can be restored. Statistics on agriculture is very important as it provides the opportunity for government and development partners to make informed decisions on the performance of agriculture activities,” he stated.
Minister Zinnah said to ensure that the project is sustained the Ministry will mainstream the statistics unit in the ministry’s budget, because without access to data on agriculture, it is difficult to make good decisions.
“I describe the revitalization of the agriculture statistics project as a groundbreaking project that will enable accurate data for public policy analysis on agricultural issues. It will help to monitor the impacts on programs by both government and development partners,” he stated.
FAO Representative in Liberia Marc Abdala stated that sustainability is key to the success of the statistics project, if Liberia is to succeed in ending hunger by 2030 under the United Nations mandate.
He said the FAO remains committed to supporting Liberia’s efforts to improve food security and to eliminate hunger.
“Without data on agriculture, it will be hard to improve food security, end hunger and improve nutrition. This is why FAO is committed to working with the Government of Liberia for the success of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals to end hunger. It is important to note that to achieve the SDGs, statistics on agriculture must be taken seriously,” he said.
He stated that every data collected on agriculture in Liberia must be compared to other data in the region and the world to provide a clear understanding on agricultural performance.
FAO has provided US$458,000 to strengthen the statistics unit of the MOA within the period of 18 months. The re-establishment and strengthening of the statistics project will enhance reliable and timely data for evidence based planning, policy formulation and decision making, and access to available data by government and development partners.
It may be recalled that in October 2016, the Government of Liberia signed a 2-year Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) with FAO to support the statistics and information management system at the MOA. The TCP will build the capacity of staff and other national counterparts to effectively conduct food security surveys and other assessment related agricultural activities.