An expert on Statistics and Information Communication Technology (ICT), Mr Ekezie Obodozie, has advised the Federal Government to conduct agriculture census to boost its diversification drive agenda in agriculture.
Obodozie, a retired director of ICT at the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.
He stressed the need for the government to produce agricultural statistics that would reflect on current agricultural food supply and provide information to help government in short term decision making.
The expert said that Nigeria was supposed to be conducting census on agriculture every 10 years to enhance effective planning in that sector.
“Agric census was done last in 1993, we were supposed to do the second round in 2003 but there was no fund to do it.
“In fact, many foreign agencies tried to support the Federal Government then, but it couldn’t meet up because it is expensive
“By Agric census, you are talking about data sets from a state, when you are talking about 36 states, it is a large sum of data,’’ he said.
Obodozie said that since the country had not conducted the census, it would be difficult to ascertain states with comparative advantage in a particular farm product.
He said the census would provide data on agricultural holdings, such as farm size, land use, land tenure, livestock population, the use of machinery, as well as crop and livestock distribution nationwide.
He said it would have been very easy for the country to invest in agriculture with availability of agric census.
“We are taking about new thinking in agriculture which is value chain but we cannot talk about it without data from the states,’’ the expert said.