All Information for 2007 Agriculture Census is Confidential – STATIN

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is reassuring farmers that all information collected in the 2007 census of agriculture will be kept confidential.
Speaking with JIS News, Director of Censuses, Demography and Social Statistics, Valerie Nam pointed out that the issue of confidentiality was an important one for the organization. STATIN operates under the Statistics Act, which forbids any employee of the agency to disclose information about individuals being interviewed, or those conducting the interviews.
“All persons who work as interviewers have to take an oath of secrecy and that is something we pay special attention to,” she informed.
Mrs. Nam said that although the organization had never had a problem where confidential information of farmers has been disclosed, if this should occur then the guilty individual could be fined or imprisoned, or in some instances, both.
Additionally, she noted that when the data is collated and published, individuals would not be identified. “Even if you give us your information we are not allowed to give that information back to you,” she noted.
The Director revealed that in order to protect farmers against fraudulent interviewers all 477 persons who were trained as interviewers and all others who have decided to be involved in the census were screened and would be issued with an identification card by the agency.
Mrs. Nam said that at present, the Statistical Institute was facing a challenge as it relates to finding individuals to work in some areas such as the Cockpit Country and rural St. Andrew.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands on February 20 launched its 2007 agricultural census, which will gather valuable data that will inform Government planning for the sector.
The survey, which is conducted every 10 years, got underway this month under the theme, ‘Taking stock of Agriculture’.
The process will involve some 477 personnel interviewing farmers across the island, with the aim of gathering data on the number of farms in each parish, the size of holdings, types of tenure, crops cultivated, and production output.
Upon completion in July, the information will be used in relation to agricultural policy planning, project implementation, and monitoring of the sector.
The most recent agriculture census was conducted in 1996 and it was found that the island had some 188,000 farms, and just over 400,000 hectares of land were being utilized as both large and small scale farms, with the parishes of St. Elizabeth and Clarendon accounting for most of these.

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