Tanzania Holds Technical Working Group Meeting in Morogoro (26th-28th Feb,2013)

TWG Members on CountrySTAT

01/03/2013

The TWG meeting for the collection and validation of national food and agricultural statistics was held in Morogoro from 26th to 28th February 2013. The objective of the meeting was to redress the challenges of data collection, standardization and harmonisation of national food and agricultural statistics for uploading in the CountrySTAT database.  The team critically reviewed the discrepancies and anomalies of data that were previously uploaded in CountrySTAT website.   The evaluation report for Tanzania of January 2013 was used to guide the TWG team discussion, review process and agree on way forward.

 

Speaking at the meeting the National CountrySTAT Coordinator Ms. Joyce Urasa said the TWG members have been drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Water, National Bureau of Statistics, Office of the Chief Government Statistics – Zanzibar, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources-Zanzibar and Tanzania Revenue Authority.

 

CountrySTAT Tanzania started in 2008 followed by official launching in 2010 with financial support of FAO. When asked to comment on the achievements of CountrySTAT Tanzania Ms. Urasa said “comparing from where we started, things are better of now as there are more people visiting the countrySTAT website. The increasing number of visitors is an indication that the database contains useful information. And actually that is what we intend the website should be providing to our stakeholders”. 

 

When asked on the challenges faced Ms. Urasa had this to say “CountrySTAT is a living database which has to have current data. There is no one time when we can just sit and relax that we have done it all, but need continued commitment of all TWG members to collect and upload current data to address the needs of our users”.

 

The IT specialist of CountrySTAT Tanzania Mr. Faraja Komba has been working with the system since 2009. On the use of the database, he said “progressively people are increasingly becoming aware and are using the countrySTAT and provide feedback on specific data”.  Similar views were given by Ms. Beatrice Rwegoshora  who is also an IT specialist. Ms. Rwegoshora further commended countrySTAT system especially the current Fenix platform that its fast to access data and user-friendly. 

 

Mr. Malemi Nyanda, the Head of Statistics Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives and member of ContrySTAT Secretariat feels that countrySTAT is an important tool for dissemination of agricultural statistics to stakeholders.  Mr. Malemi further said that efforts are being made to ensure that all relevant agricultural data are collected and are uploaded in the countrySTAT platform where stakeholders can access the data. 

 

Most TWG members felt that there is need for creating more public awareness on countrySTAT. Policy and decision makers need to be well informed so that resources can be made available to support data collection.  This has to go hand in hand with commitment of all TWG members and have more time allocated to work with the countrySTAT data. Experiences show that most TWG members have little time to work on countrySTAT data when they go back to their offices due to other office duties. As such, more time or frequency of the TWG meetings should be considered in the future.

TWG members familiarizing with the new Fenix platform of CountrySTAT during a recent meeting in Morogoro

CountrySTAT is a web-based information technology system for food and agriculture statistics at the regional, national and sub national levels. It provides decision-makers with a one stop centre for easy access to statistics across thematic areas such as production, prices, trade and consumption. The information available can support data analysis, informed policy-making and monitoring with the goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. CountrySTAT has been developed using cutting-edge open-source technology and is part of the FAOSTAT family, and therefore benefitting from the same technology implemented recently for the new FAOSTAT system, which is known as the FENIX platform. This platform offers users an internet-based and scalable system that provides functionalities to users and other web-applications. 

 

CountrySTAT is currently operational in 22 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Ouganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia), and 2 Regional Organizations (UEMOA - Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine and EAC - East African Community).  The system is also implemented in Asia in Bhutan and the Philippines.  Recently new projects were started for the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) with a CountrySTAT pilot in Afghanistan.

 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (through FAO) financed the implementation of CountrySTAT in 17 Sub- Saharan countries of Africa in 2007. The project has since then attracted numerous partners, including Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA), East African Community (EAC), Cooperazione Italiana, WFP, MAFAP, Africa Fertilizers, Africa Livestock, SADC, ECO and CEMAC. 


For further information please visit www.countrystat.org/ ; or contact Ms. Joyce Urasa, National CountrySTAT Coordinator; email: jurasa@nbs.go.tzor jurasa56@yahoo.comcell: +255 754 360 258  or Mr. Richard Kasuga, Communication Focal Point, email: Richard.kasuga@kilimo.go.tz;rykasuga@yahoo.com; cell: +255 769 239946