Farmers call for improved agri data system

Farmers call for improved agri data system

FARMERS said agriculture continues to be burdened by inadequate data that the industry relies on to make production decisions.

The Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) said in a statement that data discrepancies will continue to “haunt” the industry until data collection systems improve.

The gathering of agricultural data is currently undertaken by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), local government units, Department of Agriculture (DA) regional offices, and institutional stakeholders.

“Information is indispensable for proper analysis, planning and decision making. We cannot properly address our recurrent food shortages and problems if we continue to have a shortage in timely, correct and meaningful data,” FFF National Manager Raul Q. Montemayor said.

Mr. Montemayor added that the PSA needs additional manpower and technical expertise to implement a dedicated agricultural data collection system.

“Within the DA, a system must be set up to gather and link data from various agencies and programs and to process these into meaningful and timely information for program implementors and policy makers,” he said.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr., has said that he supports the revival of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), the former agency in charge of farm data.

The BAS was established under a 1987 executive order, mandated to collect, compile, and release official agricultural data from the DA.

The agency was abolished and absorbed by the PSA in 2013.

Mr. Montemayor also urged the private sector to contribute to agricultural data collection by providing regular feedback to check the accuracy of the data generated by the system.

In an earlier interview with BusinessWorld, Edwin C. Mapanao, president of the Philippine Association of Feed Millers, Inc. likewise called for better government forecasts of crop output.

Mr. Mapanao added that crop status reports, planting intentions, and forecasts, would “go a long way in helping corn-reliant industries in planning their purchases.” — Adrian H. Halili