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Bridging the Agricultural Data Gap

Each year, low and lower middle-income countries (L/MICs) invest billions of dollars in agriculture, often without good evidence to inform those investments. This leads to suboptimal outcomes, causing losses in productivity, shortfalls in agricultural income and, ultimately, more hunger and poverty. The scarcity of high-quality, timely agricultural data makes it extremely difficult for policymakers to make sound decisions to drive their country’s economic growth and reduce poverty.

It is also a key constraint for L/LMICs to effectively plan, finance and implement agricultural development strategies as they strive to realize their full potential. Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2)— to promote sustainable agriculture, end hunger, achieve food security and improved—is a powerful call for action to address the lack of accurate data in agriculture. The CAADP Malabo declaration provides a similar call for good data, accountability for results, and transparency.

Most low-income and lower middle-income countries currently cannot produce three critical SDG2 indicators that should be collected through an agricultural survey

  • 2.3.1 Labor productivity
  • 2.3.2 Small-holder income
  • 2.4.1 Land under sustainable production
Good decisions are fundamental for agricultural growth. Yet, decisions can only be as good as the evidence that informs them.

A Partnership for Data-Smart Agriculture

The 50x2030 Initiative to Close the Agricultural Data Gap is a multi-partner effort that seeks to bridge the global agricultural data gap by transforming country data systems across 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America by 2030. This unprecedented initiative focuses on improving country level data by building strong nationally-representative survey programs— building upon the experiences of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Agricultural Integrated Survey (AGRISurvey) Programme and the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA)— that produce high-quality and timely agricultural data and make evidence-based decision-making in agriculture the norm.

This effort will be complemented by the experience of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Research and Impact Assessment Division (RIA) in increasing and improving the use of survey data to inform decision-making.

50x2030 will pave the way for agriculture’s newest revolution: data-smart agriculture. It will create stronger capacity to produce, analyze, interpret, and apply data to decisions in the agricultural sector, and provide the infrastructure to build evidence-informed policies for rural development and food security.