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Next year’s agri census set to offer rounded view of sector

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People load a batch of cassava on to a lorry in Kampong Thom province. Heng Chivoan

Next year’s agri census set to offer rounded view of sector

Cambodia is set to begin its second decennial agricultural census on April 1, 2023, a statistical operation for gathering and interpreting information covering all aspects of agriculture to serve as a basis for policies, strategies, action plans and projects aimed at promoting socio-economic development.

For the undertaking, the government issued Sub-Decree No 73 dated April 8, 2022 establishing the National Committee for the Census of Agriculture of Cambodia (CAC) 2023.

The sub-decree establishes the Minister of Planning as the committee’s chairperson; a planning ministry secretary of state as permanent vice-chair; one secretary of state from each of the Council of Ministers and agriculture, interior and finance ministries as vice-chairs; the head of the planning ministry’s National Institute of Statistics (NIS) as secretary; and 11 senior officials of other relevant ministries and institutions as members.

NIS director-general and committee chairwoman Hang Lina told The Post that the Statistics Law prescribes that the Census of Agriculture be conducted once every 10 years.

The Census of Agriculture is crucial for updating data on agricultural households and units of all sizes and kinds, covering areas such as labour, finances and production, she said, adding that results would be made public and used in the formulation of agricultural, environmental and socio-economic development policies as well as calculations of economic growth.

The duration of the census and time to publication of the results will depend in part on the budget provided by the finance ministry. However, CAC 2013 was undertaken in two phases: a core module (45 days from April 17 to May 31) and supplementary module (November 1-22), according to the NIS. The preliminary results were released on August 20, 2014 and the final report on December 10, 2015.

Yourng Pakk, CEO of value chain management company AgriBee (Cambodia) Plc, compared the census to a compass for the development of the Kingdom’s agricultural sector, and suggested that it be conducted every five years.

The survey will paint an up-to-date picture of the evolutions in cultivation and production, modernisation, and livelihoods, and provide a basis for policies and strategies concerning traders and investors across the entire sector, he said.

However, Pakk pointed out that there are major discrepancies between census data and statistics published by the agriculture ministry.

“Should we find a way to make the data we receive more accurate, it’d be more useful to all stakeholders in the agricultural sector.”

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