CountrySTAT Ghana: One-Stop-Shop for Accessing Better Quality Food & Agriculture Statistics


CountrySTAT Ghana, a web-based information system that delivers improved access to better quality statistics on food and agriculture at national and sub-national levels was launched in December, 2009.


The information system is developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and implemented by the Ghana Statistical Service together with the Ministry of Food & Agriculture and other key stakeholder organisations.


With Ghana's estimated population at 22.9 million people and a child underweight rate of 14%, CountrySTAT Ghana is a new and valuable tool in the hands of policy-makers and analysts to combat hunger and poverty across the country.


 Key statistical areas of focus for the new CountrySTAT Ghana includes production, consumption, prices and trade.


CountrySTAT Ghana has harmonized and integrated national and sub-national data and metadata on food and agriculture within the country and with other countries via the implementation of a centralized and standardized database framework, data exchange platform, and set of analytical tools.


Prior to the launch of the CountrySTAT, there were multiple Directorates of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture collecting, compiling, releasing and disseminating statistics.  The main responsibility of statistics production of that Ministry is the Statistics Research and Information Directorate (SRID) which collects, compiles and disseminates statistical data, primarily on crops.


 However, the Crop Services Directorate (CSD) also collects, compiles and disseminates statistics, but mainly on types and volumes of fertilizer imports and the export prices.  The Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) collects, compiles and disseminates statistics on population of selected livestock species (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry).  The Livestock Planning Information Unit (LPIU) of the Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (PPMED) collects compiles and disseminates statistics on meat imports (types, volume and country of origin); they also undertake some surveys of livestock movements and markets.


 The Plant Protection Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) collects, compiles and disseminates statistics on type and volume of certified seed production, number of registered farmers and distributors, and certified seed prices.  Until recently, when the Fisheries Directorate (FD) was upgraded to become the Ministry of Fisheries, the directorate collected, compiled and disseminated statistics on volumes of inland waters and marine fish catches, fish imports and exports, and estimated volume of domestic fish consumption and the surplus/deficit.  These statistical activities continue to be carried out by the Ministry of Fisheries.


Many people who need statistics on Agriculture find it very difficult in knowing which directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to address it to; this and other concerns are what CountrySTAT Ghana is launched to address. It is a one-stop platform for all food and agriculture data needs or enquiries.


CountrySTAT is actually complementing the initiative of the Ghana Statistical Service's Ghana Statistics Development Plan (GSDP) 2009-2013.


The GSDP seeks to resolve the following in the Ministry of Food & Agriculture:


1) Improve quality of agricultural data 

2)  Quality of  statistical products and services improved 

3) Train statisticians to upgrade knowledge of statistical surveys 

4) Statisticians trained in survey methodology and procedures 

5) Introduce improved survey technologies e.g. remote sensing techniques such as Geographical Positioning System (GIS)      

6) Train field staff and supervisors in data collection, handling  of  questionnaire and data management          

7) Design policy to motivate field staff and supervisors  

8) Educate and motivate farmers/respondents to reduce surveys non-response rates 

9)  To improve timeliness in data collection, production, processing and analysis


CountrySTAT Ghana is part of an FAO initiative supported by a US$5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the quality, accessibility, relevance and reliability of food and agriculture statistics in 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).


The grant to FAO for its CountrySTAT initiative is part of the foundation's agricultural development initiative, which is working with a wide range of partners to provide millions of small farmers in the developing world with tools and opportunities to boost their yields, increase their incomes, and build better lives for themselves and their families. The foundation is working to strengthen the entire agricultural value chain-from seeds and soil to farm management and market access-so that progress against hunger and poverty is sustainable over the long term.


CountrySTAT will facilitate planning and decision-making by policy-makers and analysts, particularly in the fight against hunger and poverty.


Source: Emmanuel Kpakpo Brown & Emmanuel Kpeglah