This year’s census includes more questions than the previous one to gain a better scope of food security and agriculture practices across the country.
The National Population & Housing Census began on September 15 and the enumeration exercise (where census field staff administers questionnaires) is expected to conclude soon.
As the country’s largest national data collection exercise, the census aims to collect social, demographic and economic data to aid in crafting policies to best help citizens across the country and identify developmental gaps.
Chief Statistician Errol La Cruz, who oversees the ongoing National Census, says new questions have been included in the census since the exercise was last carried out in 2012.
“Sometimes you look at a community and you may think ‘these people are affluent, there couldn’t be food insecurity here’, but the data may find otherwise.”
Questions added on food security include; whether any member of the household had no food of any kind to eat due to lack of resources to get food over the past month and whether anyone in the household went to bed hungry because there was not enough food.
“The question on hunger wasn’t there before. And, we’ve added a module on agriculture where we’re asking people about their involvement in agriculture, what kind of crops or livestock they have and what scale of agriculture they’re involved in.”
Questions in the new agriculture module ask whether members of the household engaged in any listed agricultural activities inclusive of pig rearing poultry farming, vegetable farming, coconut farming, etc. The questionnaire also requests details on the scale of these activities.
Guyana has significantly advanced its food security and nutrition agenda by achieving the World Food Summit (1996) and Millennium Development Goals (2015) hunger targets.
Further, Guyana continues to improve our standing through advocacy and implementation of CARICOMs Regional Food and Nutrition Security Action Plan and Twenty-five by 2025 Strategy – Reducing CARICOM’s Agri-food Imports.
He added that Guyana has always been known as the bread basket of the Caribbean and given the country’s tremendous potential in agriculture, it was important to note how persons across the country are partaking in agricultural practices.
La Cruz says he felt that it was important these questions be added at this time where the country is undergoing rapid development and crucial data is needed to decide how best to improve the quality of life for Guyanese.
“We cannot ignore that this census is happening after covid where food security became a real challenge for lots of persons. Covid highlighted that there are people who are in difficult circumstances and are vulnerable to food insecurity who may not have previously been viewed as being vulnerable.”
Persons are also now being asked what quality of internet access they have.