Zim agric data goes elec­tronic

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Lissa Ngorima

ZIM­BABWE has em­barked on a na­tion­wide agri­cul­ture sur­vey to cap­ture com­pre­hen­sive data in an ex­er­cise that will see the coun­try present elec­tronic in­for­ma­tion on all as­pects cen­tred on farm­ing.

The sur­vey, be­ing fi­nanced by the World Bank, is the sec­ond and fi­nal af­ter a first round ex­er­cise con­ducted be­tween April and June this year.

Con­cerns have been raised by var­i­ous stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing in­vestors, on the lack of re­li­able data on the coun­try’s agri­cul­ture de­spite the sec­tor be­ing the pil­lar of the econ­omy and a source of liveli­hood for mil­lions of peo­ple.

In­for­ma­tion ob­tained by The Sun­day Mail shows that the sec­ond round of the Agri­cul­tural Pro­duc­tiv­ity Mod­ule (APM) sur­vey was launched last week and will run un­til end of Novem­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to a joint state­ment by the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Irrigation De­vel­op­ment; the Min­istry of Lands and Ru­ral Re­set­tle­ment and the Zim­babwe Na­tional Sta­tis­tics Agency (ZIMSTAT), the lat­est sur­vey will col­lect in­for­ma­tion from small­holder farm­ers.

The sur­vey, to em­ploy Global Po­si­tion­ing Sys­tems (GPS) in data gath­er­ing, will form part of the 2017 Poverty, In­come, Con­sump­tion and Ex­pen­di­ture Sur­vey (PICES) 2017.

“The sur­vey mod­ule will also gather de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on the pro­duc­tion of small­holder farm­ers in Zim­babwe and the APM data is col­lected in two vis­its de­signed to co­in­cide with ma­jor pe­ri­ods of the main agri­cul­tural sea­son, that is the post-plant­ing and post-har­vest,” read part of the state­ment.

“… in­for­ma­tion on house­hold poverty sta­tus, ed­u­ca­tion, health, hous­ing as well as other in­come sources will be col­lected.

“This will make it pos­si­ble to as­sess the im­pact of pol­icy mea­sures on house­hold wel­fare, and in­form the de­sign of poli­cies and pro­grammes aimed at im­prov­ing the lives of ru­ral small­holder farm­ers in Zim­babwe.”

The sur­vey is ex­pected to strengthen the coun­try’s data col­lec­tion ca­pac­ity and pave way for sci­en­tific in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the in­for­ma­tion.

The re­search comes at a time when the coun­try’s agri­cul­ture sec­tor is on a re­bound fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful land re­pos­ses­sion ex­er­cise at the turn of the new mil­len­nium.

Last sea­son, the coun­try recorded a bumper maize har­vest that will see a re­duc­tion of the food im­port bill by at least US$200 mil­lion and po­si­tion the sec­tor as one of the key pil­lars of the econ­omy.

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