Malawi Government has partnered with Usaid and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to revolutionise the agricultural industry in the country through the establishment of an Agriculture Statistics Master Plan.
Minister of Agriculture Allan Chiyembekeza said in an interview the plan has been developed in line with Millennium Development Goals and the national statistical data.
The minister said the country has lost out agriculture investment due to marred data in the industry.
He said in recognition of the challenges, his ministry and the two development partners—Usaid and FAO—developed a statistics strategic plan to improve agriculture data in the country.
He said once implemented, the plan will guide various developmental partners to appropriately direct their investment and minimise duplication of their efforts.
“Weak coordination on data collection and fragile harmonised statistical methodologies as well as delays in dissemination of agricultural information has resulted into stakeholders facing difficulties in accessing agricultural statistics,” said the minister.
Usaid deputy mission director Stephanie Funk said timely and reliable data will have a positive impact on the country’s agricultural development.
“Open access to agriculture data is critical for governments to combat hunger and poverty. Farmers use statistics to decide on when to plant, harvest and market their crops. Government uses statistics to develop and monitor poverty and food insecurity policies.
“And for development partners such as Usaid to intervene, inform and design our programmes, we also need accurate data,” said Funk.
Usaid has pumped $12 million into the development of the plan.
FAO representative Florence Rolle said the plan will provide a clear strategic direction on agriculture development.