A nation has to feed its people adequately to have healthy and wealthy citizens for the promotion of its development and growth. A government concerned with the well being of its people and aiming at the rectification of the national economy makes agriculture its top priority for the achievement of the above goals. Policy making and decision taking are essential in this regard. But there are recognized constraints such as the availability of adequate and comprehensive statistical data on agriculture that guides policies and decisions for attaining development targets in the agricultural sector.
In recognition of these constraints, and in an effort to provide accurate, reliable and timely data on the nation’s agriculture that policies and decisions entail, the Central Statistical Authority (CSA) has been conducting annual agricultural sample surveys since 1980/81 (1973 E.C.). As a result, data on area, production and yield of major crops, farm management practices, land use, livestock, poultry and beehives have been produced at country, regional and zonal levels for both Meher and Belg seasons on a yearly basis.
Despite this effort, the economic policy has recently focused on agricultural sector and data users became more sophisticated demanding for various data in greater detail on timely basis, with improved accuracy and reliability and highly disaggregated to levels where project planning and implementation take place. Hence, the existing data that has resulted from the regular annual agricultural sample survey could not meet these demands. Accordingly, these needs led the CSA to reappraise the agricultural data it has produced so far and realized the gap between the demand for agricultural data and the data supplied is widening. Thus, as an organization situated between the data and its users, the CSA was
prompted by the gravity of the demand for more detailed data to embark upon a census of agriculture in the year 2001/02 and narrow the existing data gap.
Development and monitoring of the agricultural sector require data on a wide range of indicators. A census of agriculture is the leading source of such data. It provides an image of a nation’s farming and agricultural activity at a particular point in time (an agricultural production year) for the data disaggregated at the lowest level of reporting.
In Ethiopia, prospects and policies regarding agriculture have evolved significantly over recent years. Economic problems have been the major factor in development and implementation of these policies and programs. The agricultural policies and programs are targeted at ensuring that food crops will be made available to those who need it and don’t obtain enough of it or guaranteeing everyone access to safe and nutritious food. To put it in a nutshell: it is to create and maintain food security. The realization of this goal requires the implementation of the policies and programs at woreda level and make available agricultural statistics at corresponding administrative level. It is against this background that the census was conducted to monitor the trends and the changing patterns in agricultural production with the acquisition of agricultural statistics at wereda, zonal, regional and country levels.