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First Meeting of Experts of the Community of Practice on Agricultural Statistics in Central America and the Dominican Republic

11 May 2023|Briefing note

The First Meeting of Experts of the Community of Practice on Agricultural Statistics in Central America and the Dominican Republic took place via virtual mode on the 11th and 12th of May 2023.

Participants included experts and officials of the Ministries of Agriculture from the Mesoamerica and Caribbean regions, from most member states of the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC), and international organizations, with their respective acronyms in Spanish and English, such as the Inter-American Organization of Agricultural Markets (OIMA), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), among others.

ECLAC, through its subregional headquarters in Mexico, has been promoting for more than four decades the conformation, development, and use of its System of Agricultural Information (SIAGRO) in collaboration with the countries of Central America, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, and Haiti. SIAGRO contains information on agricultural activities, rural development, food and nutritional security, climate variables, and climate change scenarios.

In this sense, ECLAC and the Executive Secretariat of CAC organized this expert meeting in agricultural statistics with the objective of strengthening the management of basic statistics on agricultural activity to facilitate the formulation of policies in the sector toward sustainable agriculture, inclusive and climate smart adaptation in the member states of the Central American Integration System (SICA in Spanish) /CAC. It also aims to exchange good practices identified in the region on the management of information on these aforementioned topics and to identify potential cooperation between countries and from international organization experts on the compilation of related basic data.

The inauguration during the first day were Lucrecia Rodríguez, Executive Secretary of CAC, Julie Gail Lennox, Head of the Agricultural Development and Climate Change Unit of ECLAC- Subregional Headquarters in Mexico, Kimberly Mercer, President of OIMA, who all emphasized the importance of having a dialogue space to share methodologies, procedures, and technological tools that contribute to the generation of agricultural statistics that will translate into sustainable development policies in the agricultural sector and rural area.

In the first meeting the participating institutions shared some chosen experiences: with Belize exhibiting its agricultural statistics informational system (BAIMS); El Salvador presenting a multi-proposed methodology utilized for probabilistic sampling in national agricultural surveys (ENAPM); Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FewsNet) exhibiting methodologies and toolset for monitoring food security; Mexico explaining the methodologies and lessons learned from the 2022 Agricultural Census; Honduras demonstrating the administration of its database system and the dissemination of market information through its Market Information System of Agricultural Products in Honduras (SIMPAH in Spanish); the Dominican Republic explaining the utilization of Administrative Records for the compilation of agricultural statistics; the WFP showing its system of continuous monitoring of food and nutritional security in Central America; and also in Mexico, through the Agri-Food and Fisheries Information Service (SIAP in Spanish), presenting the systems and technologies utilized for the compilation of basic statistics in the agricultural sector. Additionally, officials from the Ministries of Agriculture of Central America, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Belize, Cuba, and Haiti as well as participants from several English-speaking countries in the Caribbean were offered simultaneous translation services.

The event ended on the second day, concluding with an agreement for a second meeting of the community of practice in agricultural statistics to continue promoting the interexchange of good practices, identification of areas to be improved, and potential bilateral cooperations between the participant countries and international organizations.