The ‘Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics’ is meant to help developing countries produce and use statistics to make food production more effective and sustainable.
“The programme provides an excellent example of how the FAO works with partners to translate global information into concrete results at household, community and country levels. The UK government's generous support will help deliver enormous benefits to governments around the world and the people they serve,” said FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva.
“Empowering farmers can change their lives. By improving statistics, this programme will contribute to this goal,” he added.
The donation will contribute to the first phase of the programme, from 2012 to 2016, aiming to support African and Asian governments in managing their statistical systems more cost-effectively with digital technology and devices, such as smartphones, GPS and satellites.
The FAO said that many developing countries collect data using costly, labour-intensive and time-consuming systems, leading to unreliable statistics that hinder efficient policy-making.
The 'Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics' was developed with the World Bank, in consultation with national statistics organisations, ministries of agriculture and international agencies, and unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Statistical Commission. It will eventually operate in 90 developing countries in the first five years phase with a total budget of $82m.
The FAO previously helped Ethiopia improve food production management by upgrading the country's statistical system and enhancing communication between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Statistical Agency (CSA). “Today, production estimates have converged and provide reliable data to underpin food security and agriculture policies,” the organisation said.