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close this bookResource Management for Upland Areas in Southeast Asia - An Information Kit (IIRR, 1995, 207 p.)
close this folder4. Diagnostic methods and tools
View the documentParticipatory appraisal methods
View the documentIntegrated land-use planning in upland areas
View the documentFarm househoId profile
View the documentGender analysis
View the documentCollecting information on crops
View the documentBuilding on indigenous knowledge

Collecting information on crops

Information on income, labor and other costs involved in producing individual crops can be useful in many situations. It can be useful for:

· scientists in determining suitable topics for research.

· planners in estimating the probable returns of a project.

· farmers in making farm management decisions.

· extension workers and farmers as basis for discussions aimed at finding ways to improve the farm economy.

Data collection

Crop information can be collected in various ways. The method used depends on available local resources, purpose and the degree of accuracy needed.

Data collection workshop

Gather farmers (men and women) in the area for a 1-2 day workshop. Small groups of 3 to 5 farmers should discuss a specific crop and fill out the information sheet. Crop data can be presented and discussed among the participants.

Individual interviews of farmers by extension agents

This is a time-consuming way to gather information. The data may not be any more accurate than those collected through a workshop or group meeting.

Collection by farmers

Interested individual farmers collect information by themselves as they carry out their farm activities. Initial supervision by the local extensionist is needed to ensure that the data are recorded correctly. Once every 6 or 12 months, the extensionist can gather the information from the farmers for analysis and presentation.

Data to collect

· Yields
· Fertilizers and pesticides—management, use, quantities and costs
· Labor use—days for different activities, cost per day
· Other inputs, costs
· Income, prices received, quantities sold
· Constraints in the cultivation of individual crops
· Marketing.

Write the data on a form (See example on next page) This form is adapted from one used in Khao Kho (northern Thailand), an area with commercial agriculture. It should be adapted to suit local conditions. The units of measurement (e.g., $, kg, ha) should also be changed to suit local uses.

Presentation of results

After collection, the data should be presented in a systematic yet simple way that everybody can understand. The presentation should stimulate a dialog among farmers and researchers or extensionists. Suitable times are during a short training session, workshop or farmer group meeting.

Crop information sheet