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Methodology and Baseline Strategy

Introduction
In mid-July 2012 THE PROGRAM was instructed to shift its current approach, of mostly plantation
and fruit farm establishment, to quality improvement of the existing fruit farms with a main focus on
High Value Marketing through exploiting the opportunities for exporting thus benefitting the farmers
immediately. THE PROGRAM started work on revising annual work plan and performance
management plan, which was finally approved in mid-July 2012. By that time, unfortunately THE
PROGRAM had already lost the chance to work with the target beneficiaries on quality improvement
part of the program, because the production season was already in, and there was no chance of helping
them improve their agriculture practices. But, for the coming year THE PROGRAM started setting
visible steps to work with the farmers on improving their farm practices and ultimately improving their
fruit quality.
THE PROGRAM had detailed SWOT analysis on each value chain in the months of Feb-Apr 2012. In
light of these SWOT analyses THE PROGRAM had found the major bottlenecks of the five value
chains, and started to work through value chain approach. THE PROGRAM started to integrate this
into the annual work plan. From these analyses it was clear that the target producers are facing with
some of the following major problems:
Lack of knowledge of modern agricultural practices (pre-harvest practices) that results into the
poor quality of the fruit
Lack of proper marketing approach (from post harvest practices picking, through sorting,
grading and packing)
Lack of proper link between producer and local trader and through them with the international
market (standards and quality required by the international market)
Lack of proper transportation especially refrigerated-containers
Lack of proper storage facilities to uniform the supply chain and have a bit of control over price
Finally, to address the first option and fit into the new scenario of value chains, THE PROGRAM had
to apply a baseline-survey that at least satisfy two of the following indicators.
I. Percent Increase in Farmer Household Income (5.1d-i)
II. Number of MT Increase in Quality Quantity Production per Hectare (5.1.1.a)
The Survey Scope and Purpose
THE PROGRAM has over 12000 Lead-Sub farmers with whom THE PROGRAM works for
quality improvement.
This baseline survey was designed to provide benchmark information for use in analyzing and
tracking program impact over time on the farmers' income.
The baseline survey was also designed to capture, through recall, the situation of the
participating farmers at joining of the program.
Methodology and Baseline Strategy
A baseline survey questionnaire was designed and applied to the lead-farmers in the target area.
A total of 771 male lead-farmers were interviewed for the designed questionnaire survey.
A same survey was applied to 51 female lead-farmers.
The data analysis was disaggregated by value chain farmer categories as Apple, Apricot, Almond,
Grape and Pomegranate.
The Survey Methodology

The format was designed for collection of the facts and information. Besides a database was
developed accordingly which carry all the fields from the formats. The number of beneficiaries
were selected on evenly and randomly sampling basis. In the next step names of the
information regarding the beneficiaries were shared with the M&E team at provincial level.
The M&E staff was provided with training on how to apply the survey, who subsequently
trained the relevant extension staff.

The program has t o conduct periodical assessments to reevaluate the values thus
collected. For each baseline value we collect a corresponding assessment value that show the
difference and effectiveness of the program efforts for a particular indicator, which are
referred in their reference sheets. In short;

Importance of the Survey
The need to make a positive impact on the target group is a priority of a program, and the
need to prove authentically that the donors' money is being used properly to make this
impact.

The Need for Measurement
The need to measure and to measure in an accepted way is an essential element for a survey.

Survey Preparation, strategy and methodology
Talk to the concerned departments on details of the survey and discuss how, who, when,
where, what questions, to make the process a successful one. All the planning steps were
finalized with an action plan prepared.

Baseline Purpose and Objectives

As already highlighted, the main purpose of this baseline survey was to provide benchmark information
that will be used for analyzing and tracking program impact on the target farmer income and crop yield.
This is worth mentioning that the selected farmers had producing farms, so this survey represents
information for the year 2012, which works as baseline for quality improvement "Farmer Income per
Hectare and Yield MTs per Hectare".

The specific objectives of the baseline survey were as follows:-

1. Documenting the demographic status, livelihoods status, and farm ownership for the
participating farmers.
2. Assess and document crop yield in MTs per hectare and annual income due to the crop.
3. Assessing the production and marketing situation of participating farmers at the entry to the
program in terms of volume of production, yield, types of fruits produced, quality of
production, agricultural practices, irrigation system, water source, use of and sources of
inputs, cost of inputs, information on intercrop, pest and disease control, farm-gate prices,
harvesting methods etc.
4. Assessing the pre-project situation regarding to credit access for the farmers. Documenting
the prices currently paid to farmers for their produce.

Practical Phases of the Survey

Phase 1: Development of Baseline Survey Questionnaire

Discuss the questionnaire with relevant departments and experts, include questions that reflect the
information required properly.

Based on the needs of the program and especially farmer income and fruit yield, THE PROGRAM
designed a comprehensive format. It included recording of the information as demographic, farm
information as farm area, farm age, farm crop type, annual yield of fresh and dried fruit, farm-gate price,
costs incurred on crop management, labor days, daily wage, general problems, access to market,
payment nature, irrigation system, irrigation source, harvesting methods, pest and disease management,
agriculture practices and a general commentary etc.

Sampling, Select Number of Beneficiaries

To ease and pace up the process of the survey, THE PROGRAM included all the lead-farmer to this
survey, because THE PROGRAM wanted to work extensively with the lead-farmers during the
subsequent time to come. This list was a kind of diverse and representative of all types of the
beneficiaries base on value chain involved in the process of program.

Database Development

A database would be developed for each questionnaire accordingly.

Selection of Interviewers

In order to pace up the process, THE PROGRAM used its extension staff for the baseline, who
worked as interviewer. The big edge on their side was that they were familiar with the locality and their
movement was easy in those areas being local.

Training Interviewers

The selected number of the interviewer were trained in the questionnaire, the survey strategy,
methodology and how to implement the survey.

Phase 2. Interviews (apply the Questionnaire)

A total of 771 male lead-farmers were interviewed for the designed questionnaire survey. A same survey
was applied to 51 female lead-farmers.

Fieldwork Monitoring

During the survey the M&E team continuously had a close contact with the survey team and monitored
their work closely.

Information Validity Check

Each form had to be checked for information validity by the M&E staff and had to be repeated in case
seemed so necessary.

Phase 3: Data Collection

This survey was applied through THE PROGRAM extension officers. They were familiar with the
demographics and it was really easy for them to collect the information. Besides, the security concerns
they being local could move easily through their districts. After a pilot check, THE PROGRAM M&E
provided full support and guidance during the survey.

Data Entry into the database
The data was updated into a database in Kabul, compiling all the forms. Data cleaning, data redundancy
and data analysis was done by the M&E.

Data Screening and cleaning
The process of data screening and cleaning was applied by the M&E in Kabul.

Data Analysis and Report
Data was analyzed and presented in the required formats, and the targets for the indicators were
updated.

Phase 4. Direct Observation

This technique enabled the baseline survey team to see the farm practically and look for the agricultural
practices already in practice and also to see the scale and gravity of any problem, and act as the basis of
triangulation of data sources.

Phase 5. Photography & GPS Coordinates Collection

For illustration purposes, photographs of the farm and in most cases the GPS point coordinates are
collected.

Challenges

A few challenges were encountered during the baseline survey. These included:-
(i) Security reasons shadowed the survey in some areas, for which some of the information as GPS
coordinates could not be collected.
(ii) The baseline survey coincided with the peak of the horticultural production season when farmers
remain busy, which is why it was shifted to suitable time.
(iii) The extension staff were also busy in their routine job, so the process took a bit more time.