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close this bookInter-Regional project for participatory upland conservation and development (Field Document 6/97) - NEPAL - A framework for a participatory economic evaluation of improved goat production by women groups in the Bhusunde Khola watershed (1997)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the document1. Project background
View the document2. Objective and rationale
View the document3. Method
View the document4. The project area
View the document5. Goat production in the project area
View the document6. The role of trees in goat production
View the document7. Economic analysis of improved goat production
View the document8. The framework for a participatory economic evaluation process
View the document9. Recommendations
View the document10. Conclusion
View the document11. References

8. The framework for a participatory economic evaluation process

In the previous section it is discussed which factors (costs and benefits) and which values (e.g., for labour and fodder) are necessary for economic analysis or evaluation in the case of improved goat production. The participatory approach to the economic evaluation is crucial because:

· This should be the farmers' analysis - for the benefit of the farmers, so their involvement from the start is necessary to secure that the focus of the analysis is kept on the important issues,

· validation of inputs and outputs as well as giving importance to socio-economic factors can only be done by the farmers.

The participatory process divided into four phases is scheduled below.

Phase I

Phase II

Phase III

Phase IV

Preparation stage

Participatory workshop

Observation stage

Participatory workshop

Information collection:

Group discussions on:

Farmers record (observe) at the household level:

Analysis and discussions:

· target group(s),

· inputs/outputs

· the amount of inputs and outputs in the system (fodder, labour, manure, meat).

The findings from the observations at household level should be discussed; simple calculations could be set up and the economy of improved goat production be discussed

· inputs & outputs

· the yearly variation in activity and input/output relations (seasonal fodder supply, labour constraints)

To get the seasonal variations in the system this could be done both during the rainy season and during the dry season

Based on the economic evaluation other subjects could be discussed:

· constraints

· changes in input/output and management practice with improved offspring

· possible improvements in management practices

· benefits

· values of the inputs and outputs

· the importance of fodder trees

· the interrelations of the activity within the farming system

· the importance of non-quantifiable factors (e.g. labour, socio-economic values)

· farmers' goals (expectations) for the goat production

· individual goals for the activity

Planning of the future process of analysis





Field staff - with inputs from individual farmers and/or the User Group(s)

The User Group(s) facilitated by field staff

Individual farmers

The User Group(s) facilitated by field staff

Phase I

The activities during the first phase is to identify an initial base of information on the goat production in the farming system, as well as information on farmer' goals and expectations to the use of improved bucks. During this initial field survey a rough identification of most important inputs and outputs of the goat production, and the changes in practice under improved goat production is made, as well as investigations on the importance of social values.

The field interviews carried out in relation to this report and the case study described earlier is a part of this phase.

The information collected in the field on the inputs/outputs makes it possible to plan the next activities in the process and to evaluate the feasibility in analysing the goat production as an activity separate from the rest of the farming system. Based on the information collected as well as the information already available in the project, outlines for the participatory workshop can be set up.

Phase II

A participatory workshop with the user groups involved in improved goat production should be organized with the purpose of initiating the economic evaluation process.


The first step is to further develop and verify the rough identification of inputs and outputs and to discuss if/how the improved goat production have changed their management practices, changes in the amount of inputs needed, and gains in output.

The major constraints in goat production should be discussed. Problems related to certain periods of the year should be identified. It might be useful to list the activities in an 'animal calendar' (possibly with listings of animal diseases, required labour inputs, needed and available fodder resources).


The next step is to start validating the inputs and outputs. Some socio-economic values can hardly be given a monetary value, but their importance should still be discussed and noted as they might be most important in the decision-making.

When validating inputs and outputs two aspects are to be considered:

· the unit prize (e.g. what is the cost of labour - one hour or one day)
· the number of units (e.g. how much labour, hours or days, is spent on an activity - if days how many hours is a day)

For factors with a market value like meat and de-worming tablets this might be quick for the group to estimate, but many of the inputs and outputs will have to be estimated through discussions. Some inputs, like tree fodder, could be measured in amount of labour spent to produce this particular input, and the value of labour then discussed. How much would they pay for hired labour on their farm? How much would others have to pay them before they would be willing to work for others?

If tree fodder is a very scarce resource it may have higher value than just the cost of labour to collect it. Then answers will have to be found on questions like how much would they be willing to pay to be allowed to collect fodder on other people' land, or what is the alternative use of the fodder trees, e.g. as firewood and what is the value of that?

It is, however, important to note that although a value cannot be estimated the economic evaluation can be continued. It can still be an important tool for decision-making, as the discussions which lead to the conclusion are valuable.

Farmers will know roughly for example how much time they spend on various work, but might not have the information in details as needed for estimating the value of input/output. This is the reason for a possible third phase.

Phase III

If the group find difficulties in quantifying for example how much time they spend on certain activities, or how much fodder they cut for the goats every day, they should be encouraged to record or observe these aspects for a period they all can agree upon. As the feeding practise is different in the dry and the rainy season it might be necessary to make observation phases twice. Depending on the capabilities of the individual members the observations can be simple observations related to the discussions on the units and the amount of inputs and outputs, or it can be recorded in greater details and noted down if the group agree to it. It is important that they agree upon how to observe/record. Illiterate farmers (and farmers in general who are not in the habit of record-keeping) can use symbols rather than text and numbers to note down the level of the inputs and outputs.

Whether or not an observation phase is needed will be identified during the first participatory workshop. If it turns out that the group can validate and quantify the most important inputs and outputs at the first workshop this observation phase can be left out and the group can continue analysing their production as in Phase IV.

Phase IV

With the improved data collected during Phase III the group can make more valid estimates for inputs and outputs, costs and benefits, and summarize the results. If the most important factors have been estimated the analysis can be done in a partial budget analysis as mentioned earlier. If most important factors still cannot be quantified the importance of the benefits held against the costs should be evaluated and discussed.

Problems in the goat production can be discussed as well as ideas on how to improve the situation. Findings might, for example, indicate that more trees are needed to secure an adequate supply of fodder to make it possible to benefit fully from the growth potential of the crossbred offspring, or the group might find that the way the buck-keeping is organized within the group is not attractive enough for one person to be able to handle it without personal losses.

These discussions might eventually lead to identification of new activities for the groups that now have a better background for evaluating the attractiveness of the newly identified group activity.

The discussions the group might have during the workshops could also lead to further discussion on the best use of resources available within the farm and how to better secure an adequate supply for their activities. This will be of special importance in relation to discussions on the importance of trees on farm and how it would affect the women' work s if they had more or less trees, if they had access to community forests or other forest.

The participatory workshops (in phase II and IV) could be held during the group' regulars evening meetings.