Featured - Local - Technology - Top Stories - May 28, 2021

Zimstat acts on digital transformation

The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) is for the first time conducting the 2021 Agriculture and Livestock Survey (ALS) electronically using the Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI), a move that is expected to improve data collection monitoring and quality of work.

Zimstat used to rely on Paper Assisted Personal Interviews (PAPI) which was labour interviews and took long to process data.

The organisation is carrying out the ALS to collect data for use in assessing the food security position at both household and national level, compilation of the contribution of agriculture industry to country gross domestic product (GDP) and formulation of Government’s agricultural policies among other things.

The data will also assist to establish how the overall economy can benefit from the agriculture sector through backward and forward linkages.

The ALS is an annual survey, which consists of nine modules and conducted at different times of the year in line with the agriculture season.

Some of the modules are conducted quarterly while others are conducted annually.

The survey, which is running from May to June will also be used to gather data to be used for economic analysis of the agriculture industry, intake planning of crops and livestock output and forecasting of agricultural inputs use by farmers.

Zimstat production statistics director, Matiwonesa Phiri, said this time the ALS was being conducted through Computer Assisted Personal interviews.

“This is the first time Zimstat is conducting the Agriculture and Livestock Survey using CAPI.

“Using the technology, interviewers ask questions from respondents and record them using a computer or tablet instead of recording the responses on paper.

“As an organisation whose mandate is to produce official statistics in the country, there is need for us to move with time and modernise our statistics production processes.

“Using CAP in the ALS is the reduction in turnaround time for producing agriculture statistics as data entry takes place during the interview process.

“In built skip patterns consistency checks and data validation also ensure collection of high quality data and supervision of the work. With PAPI, office editing and data entry would take place well after data collection,” she said.

Zimstats director-general, Mr Taguma Mahonde, said data would be collected from the six farming sectors of Zimbabwe; the large scale commercial farms, small scale commercial farms, communal lands, old resettlement schemes (Models A, B1, B2 and E), A1 and A2 farms.

“The exercise seeks to collect data on the number of people employed in agriculture and wages paid by sex.

“It will also collect data on the area under crop, cropping patterns and crop production estimates, inventory of livestock and livestock inputs and inventory of farm implements and machinery,” he said.

Also to be collected is data on the construction of buildings and other infrastructure and transport and energy use.

“The purpose of the survey is also to collect agriculture data on: inventory of farm implements and machinery, cost of new buildings, works and farm improvements and inventory of cattle, other livestock and quantities and values of livestock inputs,” he said.

The data collected will also include loans facilities, transport costs and fuel use on farm holdings.

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