THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said it hopes to release by March the preliminary results of its 2022 Census of Agriculture and Fisheries.

“The PSA is committed to release the preliminary important results during the first quarter of next year,” National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa said in a media on Wednesday.

Final data from the census, conducted every 10 years or so, will be released by July on a staggered basis.

Mr. Mapa said land dedicated to farming has been declining since 1980, when farmland was tallied at 9.73 million hectares.

“In 1991 (there were) close to 10 million hectares; in 2002 9.67 million hectares; and in 2012 it further declined to 7.27 million hectares,” he said.

The PSA’s Census of Agriculture for 2012, the latest edition of the census, tallied 5.56 million farms covering about 7.19 million hectares, for an average area of 1.29 hectare per farm.

In 2002, there had been 4.8 million farms across 9.67 million hectares.

“We need to update the data (from the last census) to discover the real situation on the ground,” he said.

The PSA said it applied new technology, including satellite imaging, to estimate crop volumes and the size of aquaculture farms.

The PSA will use satellite imaging and artificial intelligence, as well as a computer aided personal interview for data gathering. — Adrian H. Halili