New approach to agricultural data collection: AGRIS kicks off in Ghana

The initiative to develop the Agricultural Integrated Survey (AGRIS) came as a response to the need for better, cost-effective and timely statistical data in the agricultural and rural sector. 

Following a decision made by the 11th Global Steering Committee in June 2015, the AGRIS methodology is being developed in the context of the Global Strategy to improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics thanks to the funding received from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

AGRIS is a new cost effective approach to agricultural data collection that will help developing countries to track key agricultural information essential to inform policy design and implementation, as well as improve market efficiency and support research. Specifically, it is a farm-based modular multi-year survey program that will accelerate the production of high-quality data on a wide range of technical, economic, environmental and social dimensions of agriculture.

Several components of the proposed methodology require field testing before finalization. Following earlier discussions with the Global Office of the Global Strategy , the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) expressed its interest in piloting the implementation of AGRIS. As a result of this collaboration, Ghana will be the first country to test and adopt the AGRIS methodology.

In this context, the Global Office organized a mission in Accra (Ghana) in early August 2016 to identify the main objectives of the future collaboration and discuss specific activities, timelines and implementation modalities. The mission identified three key outputs: 1) finalize the AGRIS global methodology; 2) support Ghana in pilot testing its own AGRIS and preparing its full implementation (AGRIS-Ghana); 3) support Ghana in setting up a sustainable long-term funding mechanism for AGRIS.

The AGRIS global methodology will be finalized through the conduction of pre-tests and field tests of draft questionnaires as well as experiments aimed at identifying accurate measurement approaches. This work will start in September 2016 and will be completed in the first half of 2017.

The preparation of AGRIS-Ghana will include a system of integrated agricultural surveys adapted to the country’s needs. The overall survey strategy will be developed by GSS and Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with the support of the Global Office. This phase is planned to take place in the second semester of 2017.

The last crosscutting output aims at setting up a long-term funding mechanism for AGRIS-Ghana. A series of initiatives will be put forth to ensure good visibility of the project and efficient outreach activities will be undertaken to contribute to a better engagement of data users and producers, and to support the development of a sustainable funding strategy for the implementation of AGRIS. The possibility of including the development of agricultural statistics in the second National Investment Plan will be also explored.