Fijians in both urban and peri-urban areas are being asked to lend their support and cooperation to ensure the successful collection of factual and relevant information.
While highlighting the preparations made by all stakeholders for the upcoming Census during a press conference at the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters, Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy acknowledged the co-ordinated effort put in towards the national exercise, emphasizing the importance of quality statistics as a significant component in development planning and policy formulation.
“I just want to emphasize that a Census is conducted as a means to capture the state or describe a particular variable(s) at a particular point in time; now given the size and scale of the exercise from 10-29 of February, we urge all respondents, all heads of households in the farming community to avail yourselves during this period.
“This is the defined and approved period, there won’t be any more data collection following the 29th of this month, any data received after the 29th will not be acceptable as it is outside the Census and will no longer be part of the Census exercise because a Census is a descriptive survey held over a particular time period so we’re asking everyone involved to avail yourselves when our enumerators come to you because we want to make sure that we capture correct and factual data,” Minister Reddy added.
Minister Reddy highlighted that the Agriculture Census was a significant data collection exercise, undertaken throughout the world especially in developing countries where farming activities are key to sustainable livelihoods.
“It collates important agricultural information that will ensure better planning and formulation of appropriate strategies for the sector. It also allows the Government to analyze and measure the impact of its intervention across time,” he said.
“Policy makers at the national and international level and those developing investment strategies to enhance economic development, face many challenges with the changing face of agriculture in the 21st century.”
Minister Reddy added that while agriculture was the primary source to feed, clothe and provide materials for a growing population, the challenge was to lift people out of hunger and poverty, sustain the water and land resources and reduce the impact on the environment and global warming.
“These are issues that go beyond national boundaries.”
“Improvement of agricultural statistics initiative provides the vision for national and international statistical systems to produce the basic data and information required for the 21st century.”
It is anticipated that through this Census, a baseline database on the structure of Fiji’s agriculture sector is established, providing a frame for future Agriculture Census and subsequent surveys as well as improve Fiji’s agriculture and rural statistics system to generate quality agricultural data in order to provide timely and quality evidence for planning and policy decision making for the sector.
It will also enable the monitoring of the sectors to progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs].
The 2020 Fiji Agriculture Census will be the 5th undertaken in Fiji, with four previous Agriculture Censuses previously conducted in 1968, 1978, 1991 and 2009.
Unlike the previous Census exercises which were conducted on a sample basis, the 2020 Fiji Agriculture Census will provide full coverage of all rural areas, parts of peri-urban areas and selected urban villages.
The 2020 Fiji Agriculture Census which will be held over a three week period from the 10th-29th of February will be an integrated Census of all four agriculture sub-sectors including crops, livestock, sugarcane, fisheries, and forests.