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New world agriculture census round to kick off in 2016

A new global round of country-driven agricultural censuses is set to begin in 2016, a large-scale, data collection process that will gather information and statistics on the world's agricultural sector.

To support the process, the Food & Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) published a set of updated guidelines to assist governments in carrying out their national-level agricultural censuses, tailored to various different country needs and capacities. This is the latest edition of guidelines which FAO provides every 10 years.

Guide investments in agri-business activities

"These censuses are crucial for governments to implement evidence-based policies to foster agricultural and rural development, ensure access to land, improve food security and reduce the adverse environmental impacts of agricultural activities. Census data are also essential for the private sector to make informed decisions that guide their investments in agri-business activities", states FAO.

Accurate picture of the agricultural sector

The information collected provides an accurate picture of the agricultural sector and a reliable sampling frame for current agricultural surveys. In particular, the censuses entail a complete account of the structure of the agricultural sector, including the number and size of holdings, land use, crop area, crop intensity, irrigation facilities, agricultural input use, livestock numbers, as well as farmer demographics and employment.

Based on countries' experiences and lessons learnt over previous decades, the new guidelines form part of the FAO coordinated World Programme for the Census of Agriculture, which covers the period 2016-2025. For the first time, the new census programme provides guidance on how to obtain and integrate data on fisheries (capture fisheries activities as aquaculture was already included) and on greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions from agricultural activities.

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