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.