The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed plans to conduct the National Agricultural Sample Census, which will provide data on the composition and operations of the sector in Nigeria.
Specifically, Statistician-General of the Federation and CEO of the NBS, Simon Harry, on Thursday said it was pertinent to carry out the census, as it would inform policy formulation and project evaluation.
According to him, the agricultural sector has significant economic and social benefits for the nation, saying it was necessary to have reliable statistics on the sector.
“Nigeria conducted the last round of the Agricultural Census in 1993/94. Since 1993/94, the Agricultural data situation in Nigeria has slid backwards and can best be described as weak,” the NBS stated.
Meanwhile, the planned census is coming 28 years after the last one and is set to address the issue, after the hiatus.
“It is therefore pertinent that adequate, timely and reliable statistics on the sector are readily available for policy formulation, planning, monitoring and evaluation of the progress of programmes and projects.
“Thus, the NASC is designed to produce vital primary data on the structural composition and operations of the sector.
“On completion of the census, the result will also form a statistical framework for the conduct of subsequent agriculture surveys in Nigeria,” Harry said.
On her part, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, noted that the census was long overdue, saying it was necessary to have enough statistics that would help chart a path for the country on its course to self-sufficiency in food production.
Speaking at the stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop on the importance of the census, Ahmed noted that the agricultural sector has numerous economic benefits, all of which, are as a result of the recently-implemented policies and programmes of the Federal Government.
“It is as a result of government’s heavy investment and attention to this sector that during the recession brought in by the Covid-19 pandemic and the security challenges encountered in some parts of the country, the sector consistently recorded positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers,” she said.
However, she noted that despite the successes recorded in the sector, a lot still needs to be done.
According to her, the breakthroughs recorded in the sector are a result of the availability and subsequent use of the correct data.