Towards integrating agricultural cost of production in Zambia’s farm surveys

The Central Statistics Office (CSO), the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Livestock and the Global Office of the Global Strategy to improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics implemented a technical assistance (TA) program on Agricultural Cost of Production statistics (AgCoP) from March 2017 to January 2018 through a series of activities including technical training and support in conducting a pilot survey.

This pilot survey aimed to assist Zambia in testing a data collection approach for costs of production for small and medium-scale farmers and was conceived as an integrated module in Zambia’s existing agricultural surveys (the Crop Forecasting Survey – CFS – and the Post-Harvest Survey – PHS –). The results of this pilot survey were presented at a restitution workshop on the 26 January 2018. This workshop was attended by key national organizations, such as the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), and international organizations such as FAO and WFP. Even though the results cannot be representative of the country nor of the provinces selected for the pilot survey, they were broadly in line with the expectations of agricultural statisticians and economists. For example, while the three crops investigated (maize, groundnuts and soybeans) have been found to be profitable (even when accounting for family labour), the economic margins for soybeans resulted much higher than for the other crops.

This TA program allowed to develop and test most of the data collection and analytical tools, which are now ready for implementation on a national scale in Zambia. The questionnaires and survey strategy proposed are integrated into Zambia’s existing data collection activities (CFS and PHS) and therefore require little additional resources for a full-scale implementation. The participants strongly supported the possibility of turning AgCoP data collection into a regular statistical activity, linked with the existing agricultural surveys conducted by the CSO. Part of the data collection modules that were developed during this TA programme will be integrated into this year’s CFS, scheduled to start in February/March 2018.