CountrySTAT GHANA: THIRD TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP WORKSHOP

14/11/2012

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Participants,

 

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all to the Third Technical Working Group Workshop of the CountrySTAT Ghana Project. It’s over a year since the last meeting of the group in Ho. It’s rather unfortunate we could not meet the second time in 2011 as was decided. This notwithstanding, I believe that we have been doing well as individuals at our various offices, to provide some agriculture information for evidence base decision making.

 

The aim of the CountrySTAT Project as designed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is to improve access to a nationally owned, quality statistics on food and agriculture. Let me remind you that the TWG has a crucial role to play in the provision of statistics on agriculture activities of the country and for the country. Specifically, as one of the three country level entities, the TWG has the following functions to perform:

 

Discuss and decide on issues of statistical quality control (data and metadata, completeness and correctness), CountrySTAT content, methodology and standard, cross-domain collaboration, as well as all technical, administrative and practical issues of inter-agency and inter-institutional relevance; and

Ensure that the CountrySTAT Secretariat receives relevant data and metadata to populate the CountrySTAT web site.

 

In my view (and I believe you hold same) the initiative of the FAO on the development of the CountrySTAT Project for Sub-Saharan African Countries is laudable. Knowing the difficulties that are froth with the production and dissemination of statistics in general and agriculture statistics in particular, and the poor quality that are produced as a result, it is only proper to have a standing technical working group to take charge and ensure that the appropriate concepts and classifications are used and the right procedures are followed in order to produce good quality data.  As you are the experts in the field of agricultural data production, we trust that you will put in your very best towards producing the good quality data that we require as a country.

 

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Participants, our observation during the first meeting of the group was that many of the members left the meeting soon after the opening ceremony because “they were called back to their various offices”; this is not good enough for the group with such enormous responsibility as the final authority to decide on the quality of agricultural data that is produced in the country. What it means is that, you may not be part of the institution that produces a particular data but once you have agreed to serve as a member of the group, you serve as an ‘auditor’ to approve of what has been done and to say that you are responsible for any shortfalls thereafter. This is a very critical job and must be executed with all seriousness; and Mr. Chairman, let me say that it is because of this that we have moved the venue of the workshop from Accra to Ho for our second workshop and now we are here for the third, so that you would concentrate on the job at hand and do it well.

 

The Second TWG Workshop report informs me that everything went well except that some of you were unable to bring along with you the data that was requested from your outfit, while others were not able to provide the metadata that was required. It is, however, my hope that this workshop will see a lot of improvement over the two previous ones in terms of participation and output.

 

Indeed, the formation of the TWG under CountrySTAT became necessary because we do not have a permanent (standing) Agricultural Statistics Advisory Committee (ASAC) as recommended by the FAO.

 

Mr. Chairman let me remind you that the objectives of this four-day workshop are as follows:

 

  • To harmonize data produced and provided by partner organizations of CountrySTAT Ghana Project;
  • To validate available national and sub-national level core data and metadata that are provided by the partner organisations
  • To update existing tables with current (2011) data; and add new tables as much as possible; and
  • To make corrections and some re-organisations of some of the old tables as recommended by the Project Statistician
  • To discuss and review the  Correspondence Table of national and international classification of agricultural commodity; and
  • To conduct a refresher training course for the TWG on the use of the CountrySTAT Software (the first training workshop was conducted exactly three years ago in Koforidua)

 

With these objectives we expect that you would be able to collect data required to update the CountrySTAT Ghana web site, identify data gaps and filled them as much as possible and be able to produce more tables with metadata that would be posted onto the web site, and finally, you would improve upon the quality of the Correspondence Table.

 

Following advance information sent to you about this workshop, some of you have responded by also sending in advance some available data.   This is a positive sign of our collaboration on the project and I have no doubt in my mind that you would stand equal to the task ahead of you and achieve the objectives set.

 

I am particularly happy that there is a strong desire among the donor communities to assist developing countries that depend mostly on agriculture to get their agricultural information systems right, in line with the objectives of the Global Strategy for the Development of Agricultural Statistics. As we work to improve upon the CountrySTAT System, it will go a long way to enhance our performance on the other emerging agricultural information systems such as the ECOWAS Agricultural Information Systems (ECOAGRIS) and the West Africa Regional Fisheries Program Information System (WARFP Dashboard), which are being sponsored by International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank respectively. I am hoping that we will also play our part well towards achieving the desired growth of our economy and thereby helping to improve the lives of our people, which is the ultimate goal.   

 

On this note Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I have the privilege and honour to declare this workshop duly open. I wish you God’s guidance in you deliberations.

 

I thank you for your attention.