Newly released guidelines to improve countries’ use of administrative data in agricultural statistics

The research line “Improving the Methodology for Using Administrative Data in an Agricultural Statistics System” is one of the key priorities of the Global Strategy’s research programme.

Its ultimate goal to provide countries with guidelines on how to take advantage of existing administrative data to improve both the quality and quantity of agricultural statistics, will help to fulfill data users’ needs. Among the many benefits of administrative data highlighted in the project reports, are cost savings, the availability of small-area data, timeliness and various ways of direct and indirect uses in agricultural statistics.

The research carried out by the School of Statistics and Planning/College of Business and Management Sciences of Makerere University (Uganda) and the Centre for Survey Statistics and Methodology of Iowa State University (USA) led to the production of eight technical reports. They include a review of the relevant literature and studies on the quality and use of administrative sources for producing agricultural data, a critical analysis of agricultural administrative sources used by both developed and developing countries as well as discussions on ways for improving and using administrative data in agricultural statistics.

The guidelines, mainly based on the final report of the project and on additional literature, discuss operational procedures for the improvement and effective use of administrative data in a national system of agricultural statistics. The operational steps recommended for countries are:

  1. Carrying out an inventory of administrative sources and designing an Administrative Data System for Agricultural Statistics (ADSAS), which is the set of all institutions producing administrative agricultural data that may be used for agricultural statistics and may be provided to the national institution responsible for agricultural statistics for official use and publication.
  2. Conducting an assessment of the data quality and structural issues of the ADSAS.
  3. Improving quality and access to the data produced by the system.
  4. Developing a process for the effective use of administrative data in the national system of agricultural statistics to improve the quality and quantity of agricultural statistics.
  5. Integrating the use of administrative data into the strategic plan for agricultural and rural statistics. In the medium and long term, countries are encouraged to develop and improve administrative integrated registers in the rural sector, which would facilitate a cost-effective production of agricultural statistics.

For all operational steps, the guidelines provide practical examples referring to good practices of developing and developed countries.