Urban Areas to be Included in Agriculture Census

For the first time, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) will include some urban areas in the Agriculture census.
According to Director of Censuses, Demography and Social Statistics, Valerie Nam, an important decision that the agency had to make was deciding on what areas of the island the census would cover, as previously only rural areas underwent this exercise.
“Generally you don’t cover the urban centres, and that sometimes is a contentious issue as it relates to cost benefits, therefore we would cover mainly rural areas,” she revealed.
Although the census will incorporate some urban areas the Director pointed out that town centre’s and parish capitals including Portmore and Montego Bay would be excluded. Among the urban areas to be included are Frankfield in Clarendon, and Bath, in St. Thomas.
To identify the urban areas she said these districts must have a minimum population that has been identified by the organization, and have amenities and facilities that indicate modern living including a tax office, banks, and post offices.
In explaining who the census would target, Mrs. Nam noted that the general criteria as described by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is that farms must have a holding of one square chain or a specific number of animals being reared.
“What we would normally do is ask the questions and if farmers did not have the necessary number of animals or farm size we would not record the information, however what we are doing for 2007, which is different, is recording all information . now we will be able to identify all farmers whether large or small producers,” she explained.
She noted that STATIN has identified two types of farmers: those who reared both animals and plant crops, as well as those who were referred to as ‘landless farmers’, who only rear crops. However she said that all farmers in the selected areas would still be captured in the census.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands on February 20 launched its 2007 agricultural census, which will garner valuable data that will inform Government planning for the sector.
The survey, which is conducted every 10 years, got underway in February 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 to foster agricultural policy planning, project implementation, and monitoring of the sector.

JIS Social