50x2030 and UN Food Systems Summit publish editorial in Quartz

A lack of basic agricultural data is holding African countries back

By Dr. Agnes Kalibata, UN Special Envoy to the UN Food Systems Summit & Dr. El Iza Mohamedou, 50x2030 Program Manager

$957 billion. That has just been confirmed by the UN as the average amount that low- and lower-middle-income countries invest annually in agriculture. So, if agriculture accounts for more than 25% of GDP in some developing countries, employs 63% of the world’s poor people and has the potential to improve food security for 80% of them, then why hasn’t this investment translated into stronger economies and better livelihoods?

One of the answers is data. Or the lack of it. Many low-income countries are limited by gaping holes in agricultural and rural data that could inform planning, budgeting and policy making in this vital sector. The scarcity of high-quality, timely agricultural data is directly complicating countries’ plans for economic growth and efforts to reduce poverty.

These data gaps take on added significance this year because it is a “super-year” for food systems, a year in which food production, consumption and disposal finally received the requisite global attention as the United Nations convenes the world’s first Food Systems Summit in September. With a view to improving stability and prosperity for people and the planet,  the Summit is a massive undertaking, engaging millions—scientists, farmers, youth, indigenous peoples, researchers, private sector, policy leaders and ministers of agriculture, environment, health, and finance among others.

Read the full editorial on Quartz.com.