FAO member countries in Asia-Pacific fight against hunger
Down for the count – FAO member countries in Asia-Pacific work to improve agricultural and rural statistics to help fight hunger, malnutrition
17 March 2015, Bangkok, Thailand – Participants from 15 countries in Asia and the Pacific are working together, with technical support from FAO under the frame work of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics, to develop better methods in the gathering of statistics to ensure more and accurate information is available to help fight hunger and under-nutrition, an official of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) announced today.
The Global Strategy envisages development of national ‘Strategic Plans for Agricultural and Rural Statistics (SPARS)’. The Global Strategy was borne from a recognition that the quantity and quality of agricultural and rural data coming from national official sources has been declining since the 1980s.
“The Global Strategy provides a framework to enable national and international statistical systems to produce the basic information on economic, social and environmental aspects needed to guide decision-making in the twenty-first century,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. Konuma noted the ultimate goal of the Global Strategy is to contribute to greater food security, reduced food price volatility and improved income and well-being for rural populations through evidence-based decision making.
“The implementation of the Global Strategy in Asia and the Pacific is a long-term plan for improving national agricultural and rural statistics and more accurate statistics will guide donor and development activity for up to ten years,” Konuma said. “This is critical to eliminating hunger in our region – a region where some 12 percent of people are undernourished.”
Agricultural statistics are diverse and complex subjects which cover not only crops but also livestock, fish and forestry sub-sectors.
FAO does not produce its own data, but rather collects and analyses data produced by its member countries. Concerns have been expressed at several international fora over the declining quantity and quality of agricultural statistics which are fundamental for policy-makers to carry out accurate assessment and take decisions on food security interventions and agricultural and rural development.
The Global Strategy is trying to address the root cause of the problem by building the capacity of the National Statistical Systems to meet demands for data at national and international level.The Regional Action Plan for Asia and the Pacific defines the areas of support that the Asia-Pacific region needs in terms of technical assistance, training and research to strengthen national agricultural statistical systems and outlines activities aimed at implementing that support in a sustainable way.