NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, U.S. — The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization is joining with a wide group of partners for cohesive agricultural data collection in hopes of driving progress toward complete eradication of extreme hunger.

A lack of timely and high-quality agricultural data is making it difficult to implement the UN’s Agenda for Sustainable Development, said FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva at an event in at the UN General Assembly in New York, U.S.

The FAO is partnering with groups such as the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on data collection.

The “50 x 2030” initiative represents the biggest effort made to date to fund agricultural data collection, with a target of raising $500,000 in support of that cause, the FAO said.

Agricultural data collection remains weak in many countries, even for basic data items. Indeed, a majority of the world’s poorest 75 countries have not conducted any agricultural annual surveys or censuses in the past 15 years.

“We need to do much more to close the entire data gap regarding low and lower-middle income countries,” said Graziano da Silva.

He said the initiative should emphasis three priorities: scale up current activities; strengthen collaboration with multiple stakeholders; and have the commitment of country authorities and the donor community.

Forming the backbone of the “50 x 2030” initiative are two existing and tested survey approaches, the FAO’s Agricultural Integrated Surveys (AGRISurvey) and the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study's Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA).

“50 x 2030” will bring these two tools together within a multi-institutional partnership that is aiming to make improved agricultural data available in 35 countries by 2025 and in 50 countries by 2030.

The FAO’s AGRIsurvey is farm-based system of surveys that collects data on the economical (production, area harvested, productivity, cost of production), environmental (use of land, water, fertilizers, pesticides) and social (income, labor) dimensions of agriculture.

The FAO already is implementing AGRISurvey in 10 countries thanks to support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is looking to expand that to 19 more countries by 2021.