At the mention of the word census, many minds are directed at the counting of people within an area or a country. Generally, census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population.
The term was used mostly in connection with national population and later housing censuses. Based on its relevance, it is now used in agriculture, business and traffic.
Currently, as part of the quest to transform the agricultural sector of the economy, the government’s preparations to launch the first agric census since 1985 are far advanced.
Undoubtedly, the census is expected to provide fundamental data on the organisational structure of agricultural holdings, such as farm size, land use, land tenure, livestock numbers and the use of machinery. It will also tell the number of holdings with each crop and livestock type.
The process, when completed, will provide reliable statistics for planning and monitoring of food security and livelihood improvements.
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It is equally expected that the data to be collected will provide current information on the structure of agriculture in the country which is vital to the re-basing of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Daily Graphic fully supports the move by the government in this regard because the exercise gives credence to the pledges made to transform the ailing sector to be able to provide jobs, as well as raw materials, to feed local industries under the One-district, One-factory initiative.
While applauding the initiative, it is equally imperative to note that the only way for the country to benefit from the outcome of the census in agriculture will be when the results are used and not made to add to the numerous of such reports on the shelves to gather dust.
As a country, we are noted for undertaking very cogent initiatives but relax when it comes to their implementation.
If the data from the census is also intended to provide statistics on agriculture for policy makers to allocate public resources effectively and to better identify, prepare, implement and evaluate development projects aimed at promoting agriculture in rural areas, then it will be unfortunate for this to also sit on the shelves.
The challenge bedevilling the sector also has to do with inadequate information on the sector; therefore, this census will again provide current information to help fight environmental issues at the community level and provide relevant information for use by stakeholders, including farmers, researchers and international organisations.
It is the hope of the Daily Graphic that all and sundry will lend their support to ensure that the process is successful.
We, therefore, advise that citizens should not look at this project with political lenses but rather as an initiative of the state for the benefit of all.
One major challenge in rolling out such projects, at times, is how to sell the idea to people in order to carry them along. It is in the light of
this that we urge the Ministries of Information and Food and Agriculture to collaborate with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to educate the citizens on the exercise so they can cooperate fully in its execution.