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Gero Carletto, LSMS ManagerDear LSMS friends,
I first attended the World Statistics Congress of the International Statistical Institute in 2011, where I presented at the one single event dealing with agricultural statistics. Four years later, attending the most recent World Statistics Congress held this year in Brazil from July 26-31, I was struck by the sheer number of sessions and papers focused on agriculture and agricultural statistics. Given the importance of sound statistics in informing investment and policy decisions, it seems to me that this expansion of focus on agriculture in the statistical world is great news for smallholder farmers worldwide.

Smallholder farmers, particularly those living in remote rural areas in developing countries, are among the populations most likely to suffer from extreme poverty and hunger. Thus, if we're serious about truly bringing an end to extreme poverty in the world, a continued focus on increasing our understanding of agriculture and rural areas through sound statistics must remain a top priority in the development agenda. Keep following us on Facebook and on our website as we continue our efforts to improve statistics around the world!

From East to West Africa, it has been a busy season for the ISA project. In Mali, one of our new member countries, the team has wrapped up field work for Wave 1 of the Enquête Agricole de Conjoncture Intégrée.  In Niger, the field work for Wave 2 of Enquête Nationale sur les Conditions de Vie des Ménages et l'Agriculture is complete. Our Tanzania team is currently in the field with the Wave 4 of the National Panel Survey. Starting this August, Nigeria and Ethiopia are getting ready to implement Wave 3 of the General Household Survey Panel and the Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey, respectively. Stay tuned for data releases!

Africa Map
  Survey solutions 4.7 is out! 

Survey Solutions has just released version 4.7, with a new user interface for tablets and the capacity to handle up to 1.5 million households! The new interface simplifies navigation in large questionnaires, improves questionnaire responsiveness and provides interviewers live statistics on the progress of data collection.

Survey Solutions

Survey Solutions is a free software program developed by the Surveys and Methods group of the World Bank to enable developing countries to produce high-quality, cost-effective surveys with minimal or no technical assistance. To date, Survey Solutions has been used for 60 surveys in 36 countries, with more than 500,000 questionnaires collected as of July 2015. 
  Research Highlights          
  Myths and Facts logoAgriculture in Africa - Telling Facts from Myths

Governments, donors, and the private sector are investing billions of dollars in Africa's agriculture. The Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths project revisits 17 commonly perceived wisdoms about African agriculture to guide these investments, establish baselines, and ground the agricultural policy dialogues. The initiative is almost complete, and the results are revealing. Some accepted truths are simply refuted, others are fine-tuned and some others are confirmed. 15 of the findings were featured at a one day event co-sponsored by IFPRI on June 15, 2015.
Myths and Fact Infographics
They have been further elaborated in one published article, 12 working papers and 6 blogs.

For a prelude of the findings, watch the video; for more detailed info, visit the website.
  On the road: LSMS at ISI, ICAE, ESRA

The LSMS team has been and will be attending several important conferences in July and August from the North Atlantic to the Tropics in an effort to disseminate lessons learned in the LSMS program and to learn from others. We presented and organized sessions on survey methodology at the European Survey Research Association (ESRA) Conference in Reykjavik, the 60th World Statistics Congress - ISI 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, and the upcoming 29th International Conference of Agricultural Economists - ICAE in Milan. We are reporting, among other things, on a range of methodological experiments on the measurement of land area, skills, soil fertility, micro-enterprise profits, and individual asset ownership!



Measurement of agricultural labor is fraught with issues. This is worrisome given the importance of these measurements for productivity and thus poverty. The LSMS has been conducting innovative experiments on the measurement of agricultural labor in Tanzania and Ghana. Households are either visited weekly, called weekly, or visited at the end of the agricultural season to track work and other activities. In Tanzania where fieldwork has been completed, the preliminary results show that recall questions tend to over-report the hours worked on agriculture by household members.
Fieldwork is rolling out now in Ghana. In this experiment the new ILO labor definition of subsistence labor will also be tested.
  Market imperfections worsen the gender gap

Labor and credit market imperfections - by discouraging off-farm income activities and restricting access to inputs - affect female farm productivity more deeply than male productivity. Amparo Palacios-Lopez and Ramon E. Lopez examine the extent to which female agricultural labor productivity is affected. Get the whole story here: Market Imperfections Exacerbate the Gender Gap: The Case of Malawi.
  34% of the gender gap is explained by differences in labor market access and 29% by differences in credit access.   LSMS AND THE SDGs 

As part of the Measurement and Accountability for Results in Health Summit held at the World Bank in June 2015, the LSMS team joined other major household survey programs such as the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) in presenting its achievements and motivating the need for household surveys in the era of the new Sustainable Development Goals, which will rely heavily on indicators collected in household surveys such as those conducted by the LSMS.

Tanzania Malawi Country Page Ethiopia Ethiopia