E-Agriculture

Juan Forero

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Juan Forero
Juan ForeroColombia

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d. The Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA™)
COSA works with cacao farming in Nicaragua in IFC funded projects aimed at increasing acreages planted with cacao. They have been working with Lutheran World Relief and Catholic Health Services who have likewise been using the PPI in Central America. The PPI is also being used in an evaluation of a technical assistance certification program in Veracruz.
COSAS’s data collection has been taking place in rural communities with producers of cacao and coffee in Central America (Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Veracruz, Mexico) and Colombia. Usually the interview takes place at home or on the producer’s farm. COSAS’s surveyors talk to the farmers on their farms or at their homes and at the end of the interview the PPI is given as a separate interview segment. Depending on who the client is and what they are looking for, the entire survey could be as long as 100 questions.

[1] http://coffeelands.crs.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Borderlands-Colomb...
[2] http://www.fantaproject.org/.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need more information on our projects and we will be more than happy to tell you more about it
 

Juan Forero
Juan ForeroColombia

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The main objective for building the baseline was to test if the control and treatment groups were homogeneous in order to check at the end of the project if the differences between them are due to the intervention. Another objective was to have an “initial photograph” of the current status of the farmers in the municipalities involved. The survey provided information on the socio-economic situation of producers, their connectivity and access to information, property characterization, production and coffee marketing, and access to capital and division of labor (gender component), among others.
CIAT designed a stratified sample that was taken from the population of beneficiaries (1,600 for Colombia and 1,600 for Ecuador) and made a geographical dispersion map based on the number of small holder coffee farmers in the project’s municipalities for selecting the control group. In total they conducted 510 surveys in Colombia (228 for the treatment group and 282 for the control group) and 519 in Ecuador (235 for the treatment group and 284 for the control group). They began collecting the PPI in April, 2012 and spent one and a half months completing the process, using 12 surveyors in total for Colombia and 23 for Ecuador. The agronomic part of the survey was applied at the farms and the socio-economic part was applied at the beneficiaries’ households.
c. Sustainable Food Labs (SFL)
The main objective of this project is to gain a better understanding of the realities faced by small-scale sugar cane farmers. To accomplish this, SFL is collecting farm level data from certified fair trade, organic smallholder farmers in Paraguay.
This project is designed to accomplish two goals:
1.     Provide greater insight on the livelihoods and challenges of cane farmers; and
2.     Test the concept of a lightweight, cost effective set of core metrics for smallholders.
An initial baseline survey of 45 farmers in 3 organic, fair trade certified cooperatives was completed in April 2012 by SFL and local experts in collaboration with Fair Trade International’s Paraguay staff.
Additional surveys have been being completed since early 2013 with the support of the Ford Foundation, who has also founded the new PPI for Paraguay released in December 2012. These surveys have reached a larger number of farmers and include interviews with hired cane workers to understand the livelihood profile of this group.
In March 2013 SFL started using the PPI in Paraguay, where they work with sugarcane farmers, in order to complement their pre-existing performance measurement work. The aim of implementing the PPI with their larger original survey is to arrive at a straightforward assessment of their impact on the livelihood statuses of small-scale producers. The questions they aim to answer with their original survey and PPI are: “Who are you reaching?” “Are you reaching the poor with this value chain?” “Is poverty decreasing overtime?”
An essential part of SFL’s measurement of livelihood statuses is household income; however, this is very difficult to calculate quickly. In this approach assets are the best measurement of income and income potential; but, said assets must be assigned a value related to their given context which can be hard to determine and very time consuming. SFL thought that PPI could be a possible shortcut to circumvent this costly process of household income analysis and easily determine if value chains were reaching the poor and if producers are less poor over time.
The surveys were conducted in the field by technical assistants from six producer organizations and administered to a random sample of sugarcane farmers, all of whom were fair trade certified cooperative members. These technical assistants also gave tech assistance to farmers on different visits.
As of now, SFL has collected 300 PPI surveys in Paraguay; this data is just now coming in and getting ready to be reported. Besides SFL, other organizations such as Unilever, Sab Miller, and cegenta, are all in the thought stage of exploring PPI use; Root Capital has actually tested it.

Juan Forero
Juan ForeroColombia

Dear all,
I just wanted to share a few ressources that could be interesting for the discussions and for further conversations.

Reports and Case Studies on the PPI: In this site http://www.progressoutofpoverty.org/case-studies-reports you can find all our case studies in order of construction. There is a short description of each one so you can choose which one you find interesting. I recommend the "Gratia Plena Social Action Center and the PPI®" case study, which is one of the firsts.
 
Please find below some extracts of a report we made on the use of the PPI by organizations. As you may see most of them are in a very early stage. I am including some that are working in the agricultural sector (you will find renowned players such as COSA, SFL and CIAT):

a. ASOCATI and Fundauniban
ASOCATI and Fundauniban are two organizations that have been using the PPI as part of the Community Knowledge Worker’s pilots that Grameen Foundation is conducting in Colombia. Fundauniban began using the PPI in August 2012, even though they made a small pilot in July 2011; ASOCATI began using the PPI in June 2012. Because both organizations are part of the CKW pilots the purpose of using the PPI is the same: to first understand the poverty profile of its associates or beneficiaries and to ensure that the project is focusing on the poor population. The second objective was to build a sample that could serve as a baseline for tracking the progress of the communities over time.
The PPI was administered by Community Knowledge Workers (CKWs) who use smart phones to capture responses from beneficiaries. Alongside the PPI, other types of indicators were entered related to socio-demographic, agronomic, financial, and technology access indicators. The idea is to analyze PPI data with the data from the other indicators, characterize different groups within the baseline group and to track the relationships between the behaviors of these different indicators, including food security. In the future they want to improve the focus on the beneficiaries and identify the possible causes of the improvement or worsening of their initial economic situations with the help of more in depth qualitative studies.
ASOCATI has collected 500 surveys and Fundauniban has collected 411 surveys. The collection methodology used by both is on a census basis of all small holder farmers (SHF). Currently Uniban has five CKWs in the field and ASOCATI has five CKWs and seven technicians. All the CKWs from both organizations have been trained in PPI use, and the management is familiarized with interpreting PPI data.

b. Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT)
CIAT was hired by CRS to build a baseline for an impact study that would evaluate the results of a project in the border between Colombia and Ecuador called “The Borderlands Coffee Project.” It is aimed to help 3,200 smallholder farmers in conflict-affected communities to expand high-value market opportunities and reduce their vulnerability to hunger and environmental degradation. CRS and its local partners will be working with 1,600 smallholder farmers in the highlands of Nariño in Colombia, and 1,600 family farmers in the Amazon provinces of Orellana and Sucumbíos in Ecuador. The project’s objective is to help farmers increase coffee productivity and quality, as well as their income. In addition, it works to expand non-coffee livelihood alternatives and reduce vulnerability to hunger and assist with adapting to climate change.
CIAT built a survey[1] comprised of more than one thousand questions that was able to capture data related to the farmers’ socioeconomic characteristics, the farm’s characteristics, the different forms of farm ownership, production, commercialization, associability and general agriculture practices. They also captured farm geo-positions and applied two other tools: the Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS) and the Months of Adequate Household Food Provisioning (MAHFP) for measuring household food access, both by FANTA[2]. (to be continued)

Juan Forero
Juan ForeroColombia

Thanks everyone!
So far we have covered a range of challenges from financing and extension of services to sustainability and gender gaps.  Let's dig into these issues even deeper...perhaps there are some overlapping root problems that can be addressed with singular solutions.  
Some issues for futher discussion: partnerships (PPPs, government partners for sustainability)...can this also be part of the solution in terms of sustainability, longevity and connectivity?  It would be great to hear both the pros and cons to partnering for impact in this field.  As well, what of issues in technology and capacity development?
Again, thanks to everyone for your continued involvement and participation!

Juan Forero
Juan ForeroColombia

Merci Patrice de votre contribution, elle est très intéressante. Cette fois-ci le forum se déroule en anglais mais si vous préférez de continuer en français on fera l'effort de vous suivre. Par rapport à votre commentaire, vous soulignez l’importance et la dynamique actuelle de l’internet et de la technologie mobile en Afrique mais nous aimerons aussi connaitre plus d’information sur sa relation ponctuelle avec le développement agricole dans le continent.

(In English)

Patrice Yapi N'Cho has shared interesting figures and documents related to the rise of internet and mobile phones uptake and usage in sub-Saharan countries. I am asking Patrice if he can tell us more about the way technology has made contributions to agricultural development in the African continent