FAO unveils new public tool based on agricultural census data
The new FAOSTAT domain allows for easier assessment of trends in agricultural sectors across the world
Rome- Policy makers and the researchers who advise them now have a powerful new tool.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is providing FAOSTAT, the world’s largest agricultural database, with an important new domain that makes it much easier to compare and assess trends in the time of the agricultural structures of all the member countries.
An open-access portal serving as a global public good, FAOSTAT brings together and harmonizes a wealth of data on production, trade and consumption in the agricultural sectors, by far the largest economic sector in the world in terms of employment and livelihoods. subsistence. In recent years, FAO has added an increasing amount of critical information on greenhouse gas emissions, land use, forest cover and investments. It now adds “structural data from agricultural censuses”, which presents detailed national reports that track, among other things, the size of agricultural holdings, who works on them and who owns them.
“These data are not available anywhere in the world,” says Jairo Castano, senior statistician and head of FAO’s World Program for the Census of Agriculture, who carried out the project. “This is valuable bottom-up information based on real farms, every farm in the world.”
The new domain allows quick access to knowledge of the number of farms in a given country, their size, the land typology determining its ownership, the sex of the farmer and the number of people who live and work there. , all from national agricultural censuses.
“This allows policy makers to compare the structure of the agricultural sector of one country with that of another or of a region, while allowing researchers to analyze, for example, the distribution of farm size at the levels nationally and globally,” Castano said. said.
A few takeaways
The Russian Federation has the largest total area covered by farms, with 451 million hectares, followed by Australia, the United States of America and Brazil.
Russia also has the highest number of farms or farms – regardless of size – per 1,000 people, followed by China, Viet Nam and India.
The countries with the largest average farm size are Australia, followed far behind by Iceland, Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, New Zealand and the Czech Republic.
Among the countries that have conducted a census, those with the smallest reported average farm size are Palau, Bangladesh and Egypt.
Forty percent or more of all farms are headed by women in Lithuania, Latvia and Eswatini. Nowhere does it exceed 50%.
In eight countries, 60% or more of agricultural land is rented rather than operated by owners. Apart from the Northern Mariana Islands, they are all in Europe, including France and Germany.
Farms managed by legal persons – companies, cooperatives or government agencies – are most frequent in France, Uruguay, Guam, South Africa, the Czech Republic and Iceland, and rarely exceed 10%. However, when measured in area rather than individual units, legal control characterizes more than two-thirds of farms in Namibia, Slovakia, Mauritius, Czechia and Bulgaria, followed closely by Peru and Hungary .
The countries where most household members on farms were actually engaged in agriculture are Brazil, Viet Nam, Uruguay and the Republic of Korea. The trend is upward in these countries as well as in Burkina Faso, Myanmar and Japan.
The importance of censuses
The obvious variety of agricultural structures that can appear in such classifications underlines the importance of suitable policies, which can be enhanced by the historical evidence that the new FAOSTAT domain offers. The data currently encompassed the 1990, 2000 and 2010 census rounds, with 2020 data soon to be added as it arrives.
FAO’s Statistics Division will also embark on the process of digitizing, text mining and downloading historical data, some of which dates back to the 1930s and was originally collected by the International Institute of Agriculture, a entity whose role FAO took over when it was created in 1945.
Although the new FAOSTAT domain offers a powerful tool for everyone to use, it relies on data collected by the FAO-supervised program through the World Program for the Census of Agriculture.
Prior to the rollout of the new open-access tool, FAO experts did painstaking work to calculate the global role smallholders play in feeding the world. As the new domain fills in, more granular and policy-relevant analyzes will be easier to conduct, both by FAO and by governments and researchers in member countries.
The new domain
Analytical note: Structural data from agricultural censuses
World Program for the Census of Agriculture
FAO News and Media (Rome)
(+39) 06 570 53291
FAO News and Media
(+39) 06 570 53625