Consolidated Responses for the PAFPNet Discussion for the month of October 2015

Date: 15/10/2015 – 06/11/15

“Agricultural Statistics for evidence based policy making in the Pacific”

For the month of October, PAFPNet hosted the discussion topic themed, “Agricultural Statistics for evidence based policy making in the Pacific”. Evidence based policy making requires effective, reliable statistics which are accessible to policy makers and other stakeholders. Statistics are important for informing decisions on national development priorities and for monitoring countries’ progress towards achieving them.

This month’s discussion was designed around key aspects following a regional workshop on agricultural and fishery statistics which resulted in the decision to develop a Pacific Strategic Plan. Three questions were underlined for the discussion that trigged an extensive and thorough exchange of views. Altogether 24 replies were received which makes the month of October a clear highlight in the history of the PAFPNet discussions. Thank you very much for participating!

It was widely agreed that the current limitations to incorporating data/statistics into agricultural policies and strategies are a lack of reliable data and a lack of capacity of policy makers to read and interpret those statistical data. Many discussants said that policy makers don’t know the value of statistics so they don’t demand them (or allocate sufficient funds for their collection).

Smart phones and tablets are believed to be technologies and innovations having the potential to transform the way data will be collected, used and disseminated in the future. The main restraints here are the availability of those devices in rural areas as well as connection to the internet. Radio stations thus might still be an underestimated useful tool in the Pacific area. So far, automated scanning processes of manually filled questionnaire sheets are already nowadays a big advantage in processing gathered data.

Communication of information from statistic is most effective when targeted and tailored towards an audience of interest, e.g. policy makers, scientists, farmers, business owners. The impact would even increase by repetition of the outcomes throughout various media. Depending on the group of interest, statistics could be illustrated as infographics (interactive or not), cartoons, pictures and tables, communicated through the media like daily or weekly newspapers, radio and television, internet and smartphones. Most discussants also highlighted the potential of GIS based technology and how visual mapping of data is a powerful and accessible tool for disseminating information.