The Census of Agriculture of Timor-Leste, conducted in 2019 (TLAC2019), was a comprehensive statistical undertaking for the collection and compilation of information on crop cultivation, raising of livestock and poultry, and fishing and aquaculture activities. The data collected and generated from this census provides necessary evidence for the formulation of plans, policies and programs to develop and improve the agriculture and fisheries sectors in the Timor-Leste (TL). TLAC2019 was the first census of agriculture conducted in the Timor-Leste, one of the first agriculture censuses conducted in Asia and the Pacific under the 2020 round of the World Census of Agriculture (WCA), and one of the first in the region to use Computer-Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI) and hand-held GSP instruments for land area measurement.
The main objective of the TLAC 2019 was to provide structural data on Timor-Leste’s agriculture sector
and temporal data on the agricultural situation in the country, to serve as the base for evidence-based program and policy development and monitoring. Specifically, the census provides:
1. Data on the current structure of the country’s agricultural holdings, including crop production, livestock rearing, and poultry, fishery and aquaculture activities;
2. Data at the smallest administrative unit in the country; and,
3. A sampling frame to conduct future agricultural surveys;
The methodology used for data collection built on the FAO guidelines of the 2020 round of the World Census of Agriculture (WCA2020), covering all recommended core items and additional information necessary to inform Timor-Leste’s agriculture sector research, programme and policy planning needs. The broad data collection approach for the TLAC was to identify and approach all agricultural households in all of Timor-Leste. Census enumerators were trained and mobilized in all municipalities for this massive undertaking. Of the 213 thousand households in Timor-Leste, 141.14 thousand were identified as agricultural holders according to the pre-requisite conditions for operating a minimum cropping area of 0.02 ha and/or raising at least 2 large livestock and/or 3 head of small livestock and/or a minimum of 10
poultry. In addition, the TLAC2019 sampled a subset of the holdings to measure parcel and plot areas using GPS devices under a Circular Systematic Sampling (CSS) methodology.
The TLAC 2019 utilized three questionnaires for the census in both the household and institutional sectors.
The scope of each questionnaire was as follows:
Form 1 – Listing Form: Collected information on the location and involvement of households and institutions in agriculture or aquaculture activities. This form was used to identify households/institutions qualifying for inclusion in the census by operating land used for agricultural purposes, and meeting the minimum size thresholds (0.02 ha of agriculture land, or raising at least 2 large livestock or 3 small livestock or 10 poultry).
Form 2 – Detail Information on the Agricultural Holding: Collected information on the location, the respondent and the agricultural holding. Information included: the legal status of the agricultural holding; basic characteristics of the holding such as size, number of parcels, location, actual area, main land use, and land tenure of each parcel; use of irrigation/fertilizer/pesticides; temporary crops planted, permanent crops planted, agricultural practices, livestock and poultry raised, and fishing/aquaculture activities; implements/equipment and machinery used; hired labour; and the landholder’s household information in the case of household holdings. Information on the agricultural household included total size, names, relation to household head, sex, age, marital status, highest level of education completed, status of employment and tasks undertaken in the agricultural holding in the previous 12 months.
Form 3 – Suco Questionnaire: Collected information on soil types, main topographical features, incidence of calamity or disaster, presence of agro-processing equipment, machinery and facilities, mode of transport, availability of schools, communication facilities, health facilities, water facilities, access to roads and presence of markets, presence of people’s organizations.
All households in the country including its rural and urban areas were covered in the TLAC 2019, along with the non-household institutional farms operated by a corporation (company), religious or non-profit organization (e.g. church, trust), cooperative/community (group activity), or government.
The 12-month period prior to enumeration day, which fell during 12 August 2019 to 12 Oct 2019, was generally used as the reference period for Form 1 and Form 2. However, the reference period for some items was different from this 12month duration, and is thus indicated separately for data items in each questionnaire. One example is the ownership of livestock, which was taken as of the day of enumeration.
The list of enumeration areas (EAs) and information contained in the Population and Housing Census (PHC) 2015 was updated during the intervening period of PHC 2015 and TLAC data collection, and used
as frame in the household sector. An EA (Enumeration Area) was an area defined for the census, delimited by natural or artificial boundaries (river, seaside, road, etc.). In an EA, nearly 90 households on an average are located. All the EA are classified according to an EA-ID of 9 digits as: first 2-digit for municipality followed by next 2-digit for sub-municipality, next 2-digit for suco (village), 2-digit for EA and 1-digit for sector (rural/urban).
All data in the TLAC 2019 were collected in de facto method by a group of trained enumerators and supervisors directly interviewing eligible members of farming households.
The respondents were any adult family member (18 years or older) of the household and knowledgeable of the agricultural holding’s activities. The most qualified respondent was the agriculture holder. However, in his or her absence, the spouse or any son or daughter 18 years or older, could also act as the respondent. No household member below 18 years or neighbour or other household was interviewed or asked for the information on the household being surveyed.
Data in the census were collected using CAPI which was developed based on standardized structured questionnaires guided by the Instruction Manual for Field Staff, which provided detailed concepts, definitions and procedures to be followed for collection of each item. The software for CAPI application was developed using CSPro. The draft questionnaires and instructions manual were prepared on the basis of recommendations from the Census Technical Committee and User-Producers Groups. The census questionnaires and enumeration manuals were revised and finalized based on the results of a pilot census and experiences gained during that exercise. The Instruction Manual for Field Staff was supplemented by a set of checks on the consistency of data incorporated in the CAPI application, and in the subsequent data validation processes.