Agricultural censuses and agricultural surveys are the main sources of data on agricultural holdings and sub-holdings, and can serve as vehicle for collecting data on the type and amount of work contributed by women and men to the agricultural production. Among others, they provide data on agricultural productivity, characteristics of the agricultural holdings, socio-economic characteristics of the holder and of the household members, use of agricultural inputs and services in the holding, and farm labour. The unit of enumeration in agricultural censuses and surveys is the agricultural holding and most of the data are collected at this level. Thus, the information provided can be used for analysis of access to productive resources at the level of female and male headed holdings. In some countries, some of the data are also collected at the level of subholdings. However, other sources of data, such as the Living Standard Measurement Study – Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA), or thematic agricultural surveys should be considered for obtaining more disaggregated data at the individual level of household members.
Agricultural censuses and surveys have a distinctive perspective on agricultural labour, compared to other data sources. The information collected refer not only to the main job of the person (such as in the labour force surveys and population censuses), but also to the secondary and tertiary economic activities. Agricultural censuses and surveys may also favour an “usual activity” approach in collecting data on economic activity for persons living in agricultural households, as opposed to the ”current activity” approach commonly used in labour force surveys and population censuses. The “usual activity” approach is expected to better capture the subtleties of seasonal and intermittent economic activity in agriculture.
Living Standard Measurement Surveys (LSMS) often integrate in their data collection aspects related to access to agricultural resources, including data on ownership, decision-making, access to financial services, and labour. In particular, the LSMS Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) are designed to have a strong focus on agriculture; detailed data are collected on basic crop production, storage/sales; productivity of main crops; land holdings; farming practices; input use and technology adoption; access to and use of services, infrastructure and natural resources; livestock and fishery. Households are the units of enumeration and most of the data are collected at the household level. Nevertheless, some of the data on access to productive resources in agriculture are collected at individual level, or disaggregated at the level of sub-holdings such as plots of lands and types of livestock.
Labour Force Surveys (LFS) are the main sources of data on labour force participation, employment and unemployment, by industry (branch) of economic activity. Data by industry, usually collected only with regard to the main job of the person and classified according to the International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC), are the basis for obtaining statistics on population economically active in agriculture. The main job is often defined as the job where the person spends most time working, or, sometimes, the job that provides the highest income from employment. However, many women and men are involved in agricultural work as a secondary or tertiary economic activity, on their own agricultural holding or for an employer. These types of farm labourers are captured in other sources of data, such as agricultural censuses and surveys.
Time Use Surveys are useful to achieve a better understanding of the time and type of labour invested by women, men, girls and boys in family farming within the general context of household production.