Gov’t, FAO Commence Plans For First Agricultural Census

The government, in collaboration with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, has started preparations for the country’s first agricultural census, to be held and completed in 2009 to 2010, government and FAO officials an­nounced Wednesday.

The government has received $400,000 from FAO for the census and will contribute a total of $690,000 to the project, but it is still seeking $3.2 million from international do­nors to complete the census’ $4.3 million bud­get, said Minister of Planning Chhay Than.

The census will benefit agricultural development and poverty reduction and strengthen and improve the agricultural statistics system, Chhay Than said.

The land tenure and land use in­formation gathered during the agri­cultural census would also benefit the formulation of a proper land policy, which is needed for the growing number of land transactions in Cam­bodia, according to FAO.

The agricultural census, to be held at least every 10 years, will be conducted by the Ministry of Plan­ning, the National Institute of Stat­istics and the Ministry of Agriculture.

During the census, 2.4 million ru­ral households will be interviewed. The project will make use of the ex­perience, data and re­sources developed during the Pop­ulation Census 2008, which will re­duce the project’s expenses, according to FAO project documents.

Executive director of the Cam­bo­dian Center for Study and De­ve­lop­ment in Agriculture, Yang Saing Koma, welcomed the plans for the census, saying it could help gather in­formation that is now un­avail­able, such as the division of land in terms of farm size and variations in land use among different-sized agricultural holdings.

“The agricultural census can contribute to poverty reduction and food security because it guides more ef­fective agriculture and rural development policies and programs,” said Omar Salah Ahmed, FAO country representative.

The census will gather structural information on agriculture, which is key because “the whole agricultural statistical system is weak,” he added.

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