Economic Metrics

COSA brought forth their experience in measuring farm economics and talked about the recent guidance produced on this topic with Sustainable Food Lab and ISEAL.  Measuring income and assets is difficult, but necessary to understand whether trade and programs are helping to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods. COSA has learned from some of the challenges it has faced in income measurement and shared those insights.

  • It is important not to get caught in the trap that self-reported yield (farm size) and incomes are unreliable, and measured land area and recorded income are great, but difficult to get.
  • It is important to clearly identify the source of data looking at yields (self-reported versus measured land size) and income (self-reported rough estimates versus self-reported detailed income, or consumption versus records).
  • It is important to be clear about approaches when you are working in a supply chain. For instance, differentiate if you are providing detail about the economics of the focus crops with a rough estimate of percentage share of livelihood and the importance of other crops OR providing a full farming household development approach.
  • PPI is interesting as a quick poverty indicator, but not necessarily a viable tool to track income change over time.
  • With the amount of farm-level data that exists now, especially in cocoa, a collective resource would be helpful for informing strategy.
  • There is a lot of interest in using farm planning tools that can help farmers (show return on investment for different practices) while also collecting data.

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