The first agricultural census of the re-independent Estonia will be conducted on 15–29 July 2001.
The last agricultural census in Estonia was in 1939, the next will be on the basis of the recommendations of the FAO and in accordance with the practice of developed countries presumably in 2010–2011.
The need for conducting the agricultural census in Estonia at the turn of the century results from the main trends of the development of the statistical system in Estonia approved by the Government of the Republic on 10 September 1996 (protocol No 61), the Regulation No 229 of the Government of the Republic (RT I 2000, 61, 389) and from the recommendations of international organizations (Eurostat, FAO).
According to the Agricultural Census Act that was passed on 12 April 2000 the purpose of the Agricultural Census is to obtain:
- data on the economic activity and economic position, types of production, main sources of income, production resources, location, legal status, management and managers of units of enumeration;
- aggregated data in order to analyse the dynamics of the basic characteristics of the agricultural activities of holdings intercensal periods;
- aggregated data on the agricultural condition of administrative units;
- data for the establishment of samples for statistical surveys.
The units of enumeration are agricultural holdings and household plots.
Agricultural holding is a production unit which has a single management, both technically and economically, and the main activity of which is agriculture, where:
- there is at least one hectare of agricultural or forest land or at least 0.3 hectare of fish ponds, or
- there is at least one hectare of agricultural or forest land or less than 0.3 hectare of fish ponds or there is no agricultural or forest land or fish ponds and where agricultural products are produced mainly (more than one-half) for sale.
Household plot is a production unit where there is less than one hectare of agricultural or forest land or there is no agricultural or forest land and where agricultural products are produced mainly (more than one-half) for own use and where:
- there are 50 or more square metres of kitchen garden or there are at least three fruit trees or six berry bushes, or
- there are at least 10 rabbits, 10 domestic fowls or other farm animals, or
- there are at least three beehives.
Agricultural Census committees and co-operation with local governments
The main agency conducting a Census is the Statistical Office. The Agricultural Census Committee of the Government of the Republic was formed as an expert committee in order to solve problems arising upon the organization of a Census by the Regulation of the Government of the Republic No 1199-k of 8 December 1998. Each county has a county Agricultural Census committee. In Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Kohtla-Järve and Narva there are city Agricultural Census committees. In organizing a Census, local governments shall perform essential role. They have compiled the lists of enumeration units which will be adjusted in June 2001 in co-operation with the Census staff and employees of the Statistical Office.
Direct organization of the Census
The person questioned is the holder of an agricultural holding or a household plot, or a representative of the holder. The principle of enumeration is the same as in the Population and Housing Census. The enumerator fills in census questionnaires on each unit of enumeration (agricultural holdings and household plots). The forms of Census questionnaires shall be approved by the Regulation No 229 of the Government of the Republic of 13 July 2000 “Approval of the forms of questionnaires and Census rules and fixing the moment of Census, the enumeration period and post-enumeration survey period”.
Census data are used only for statistical purposes. Census data shall not be disclosed or transferred to third persons. The protection of Census data shall be organized pursuant to the Agricultural Census Act, the Personal Data Protection Act, the Databases Act and the Official Statistics Act.
The Statistical Office shall publish preliminary summaries of a Census not later than on the ninetieth day after the end of post-enumeration survey, statistical tables of Census results shall be published within two years after the end of the enumeration period. Census results are public and shall be available to everyone.