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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt seeks funding for first census of agriculture sector

Govt seeks funding for first census of agriculture sector

Ministry would improve development planning by providing more accurate data

The Ministry of Planning’s Committee for City and Provincial Enterprise on Monday announced that it would seek US$5 million from development partners and international organisations to conduct a census on agricultural production in the Kingdom, the results of which would be available in 2012.

Following a meeting of the committee in Phnom Penh on Monday, Minister of Planning Chhay Than said that the ministry would ask for technical and financial support to conduct
the survey, which would provide accurate data on agricultural capacity.

“We hope to get funding from partners soon to carry out the agricultural census because it will help shape the economic direction we take for correct and effective development stimulus,” he said.

The agricultural census is part of a broader programme to create reliable statistical data on population, the economy and agriculture under the Statistics Law passed in 2005 in order to better assess national economic growth, Chhay Than said.

Cambodia conducted its last population census in 2008. The survey, which cost $7 million, found that the Kingdom’s population had risen to 13.4 million people, up from 11.4 in 1998, the year that the government conducted its first postwar national census.

In December, the Ministry of Planning announced that it would begin research on the country’s first economic census. San Sy Than, director general of the National Institute of Statistics within the ministry, said at the time that a large pilot survey would begin in March, with a total budget for the project set at $3.5 million and results expected by March 2011.

San Sy Than said Monday that if the Ministry of Planning secures funding this year for the agricultural census, then surveys could begin in 2012.

“We can conduct the census on agriculture in the country after we finish the census on enterprise,” he said. The enterprise, or economic, census, is expected to run through March 2011, according to the ministry.

Yang Saing Koma, head of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture, said that if the government can conduct the agricultural census, it will know the exact number of farmers and amount of available farmland, allowing it to estimate output for each year.

“I think that it’s time the government started conducting the census on agriculture because this is an important work to reduce the divide between probability and practicality,” he said.

Koroki Mosafomi, Japan’s ambassador to Cambodia, said the Japanese government had provided substantial funding and technical support in an effort to enhance the Cambodian government’s ability to gather and analyze data, and to produce reliable statistics with which to improve national development strategies.

“I believe that only valid data can serve as the foundation for the effective planning of national development,” he said.

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