|Resource Management for Upland Areas in Southeast Asia - An Information Kit (IIRR, 1995, 207 p.)|
|4. Diagnostic methods and tools|
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.
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
· Fertilizers and pesticidesmanagement, use, quantities and costs
· Labor usedays for different activities, cost per day
· Other inputs, costs
· Income, prices received, quantities sold
· Constraints in the cultivation of individual crops
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