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Plainsailing for pilot to test upcoming agricultural census

Junias Erasmus, Chief Information Officer at Namibia Statistics Agency.

Junias Erasmus, Chief Information Officer at Namibia Statistics Agency.

The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) this week said that it has successfully conducted its Pilot Agricultural Census.
The pilot census was carried out as a ‘dry-run’ of the Census of Agriculture which will commence in January 2014.
“A census of this magnitude and importance requires everything to go as planned. That is why this two-week pilot was carried out across different regions in Namibia. Equipment, software, transportation and all the logistics need to work like a well-oiled machine before the enumerators can even think of carrying out their duties smoothly and flawlessly,” said Junias Erasmus, Chief Information Officer at NSA.
He said, most of the enumerators working on this census are young people that are attached to the National Youth Service (NYS) and have been specifically trained by the NSA. The pilot census ensured that the training is put to the test before the actual National Agricultural Census takes place.

“The December 2013 pilot census took place in five regions, namely Ohangwena, Karas, Zambezi, Otjozondjupa and Kunene. Going to these regions meant that the cars, online connectivity of the IT equipment, the enumerators and the GPS were put through their paces. Although, NSA has lots of experience from previous surveys, the situation on the ground always throws up unexpected challenges. These challenges were identified through the Pilot and were able to be ironed out,” said Erasmus.
He further said, there were no major issues, only a flat tyre whilst in transit and some connectivity issues for the IT equipment, but these were easily resolved. All systems are ‘GO’ for the enumerators, the equipment and the NSA being ready to carry out the full census starting in January 2014.
The 2013/14 Namibia Census of Agriculture will be carried out as per the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010 and is done in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. The NSA hopes that this collaboration will spread to all parts of Namibia and all Namibians will help in making this census a success.
“We were confident that everything was in place and ready to carry out the National Agriculture Census. The success of the pilot census has only boosted our confidence and we look forward to collecting relevant and necessary agricultural data from around the country,” said Ndamona Kali, Director of Economics Statistics and the Census Project Manager.

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