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The Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) project is a new initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and led by the LSMS Team in the Development Research Group (DECRG) of the World Bank. The project will support governments in 7 Sub-Saharan African countries to generate nationally representative, household panel data with a strong focus on agriculture and rural development. The objective of this program is to improve the understanding of development in Africa, particularly agriculture and linkages between farm and non-farm activities.

The LSMS-ISA surveys will be conducted within each project country at least twice during the six-year duration of the project, and will be modeled on the multi-topic household survey design of the LSMS. Hence, the panel surveys will collect detailed information on agricultural production, non-farm income generating activities, consumption expenditures, as well as a wealth of other socio-economic information.

The LSMS-ISA survey samples will be designed to produce national and sub-national statistics for major geographical and/or agro-ecological zones. In all countries, the samples will cover both rural and urban areas for a better understanding of geographical mobility and spatial dimensions of development.

In addition to the goal of improving the availability of policy-relevant agricultural data, the project emphasizes the design and validation of innovative survey methods, the use of technology for improving survey data quality, the development of analytical tools to facilitate the use and analysis of the data collected, and investments in enhancing the capacity of national statistics offices and ministries of agriculture to produce timely and relevant household survey data. The data from these surveys, which will be made publicly available within 12 months of field work completion, will be used by governments, their development partners and the research community at large as a basis for economic analyses and policy research as well as evaluations of agricultural policies to foster discussions and promote effective approaches to advance the role of agriculture and non-farm income activities in economic development.

Key dimensions to this project include:

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