Launching field tests to improve livestock statistics in Niger

Niger is one of the countries supported by the Global Strategy in the improvement of livestock statistics as part of the Accelerated Technical Assistance Plan for Africa.

Upon an inception mission carried out in July 2017 to assess the country’s needs related to livestock statistics, a technical assistance project was agreed upon between the Global Strategy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock with the support of the National Institute of Statistics. Activities implemented so far include (i) training of livestock experts on the cost-effective methodologies for livestock statistics (ii) supporting the country to develop methodologies and questionnaires for livestock production and productivity and enumeration of nomadic and transhumant livestock and (iii) building experts’ capacity in developing CAPI versions of the questionnaires with Survey Solutions software.

On 4-20 May 2018, experts from the Global Strategy and the National School of Statistics and Applied Economics (ENSEA) of Abidjan held a mission in Niamey to train enumerators, finalize the CAPI questionnaires and supervise the launch of the field tests of the methodologies discussed and validated with the national partners. To facilitate the data collection, the enumerators were selected among the extension officers of the Livestock departments in the two pilot communes, Kao (Region of Tahoua) and Kornaka (Region of Maradi).

The data collection on livestock production and productivity is carried out through a two-stage sampling design using enumeration areas as primary sampling units and households practicing livestock as final units. Therefore, the first activity was the complete enumeration of households in the sampled enumeration areas with the support of the ENSEA for the listing methodology. After the listing, enumerators will interview a panel of sampled households once a month from May to September.

With regards to the field test on nomadic and transhumant livestock enumeration, a short questionnaire was used to obtain key information from herders at watering points. This test was planned to be carried out in three days and the data collected will be used to provide guidance for sampling surveys and estimation of statistics of mobile livestock, mainly based on the outputs of the Global Strategy’s related research project. It has been observed that most of watering points in the commune of Kornaka were wells accessible by herders until 2 pm and most of the herds use 3-4 donkeys to draw water because the wells are generally very deep. Other lessons learned for the next census on nomadic and transhumant livestock include the necessity to post at least three enumerators per watering point and one of them should understand the local languages commonly spoken by nomad populations (including Fulani, Tamasheq and Arabic).

It should be noted that the field tests benefited from a strong support by the decentralized offices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, which facilitated considerably  the field operations.