Saturday, 18 December 2010

Do you need to be an expert to assess impact?

What should be the role of rural farmers in assessing impact in rural development interventions? Stephen Rudgard of FAO asked the question of Harsha Liyanage, who was an invited panellist at the e-Agriculture session during ICTD2010, London (17th Dec.).

Harsha’s answer in summary:
• Typical rural farmer operates inside the context of poverty
• Impact for him is better price, low cost (from the value chain perspective)
• Assessing impact in rural development interventions needs to: quantify the impact but also illustrate the 'complexity and diversity' of that impact – impact will be made up of more components than just quantitative parts of the value chain
• This approach needs on one hand ‘participation’ of the farmer; on the other hand ‘rigour’ and ‘accountability’ in the assessment
• This therefore should take a participatory  approach – it involves the farmer, but also researchers and intermediaries. All knowledge and perspectives are important in producing an assessment that accounts for the many aspects of impact in a real situation
• Rural farmer can be a participant during planning process, and during data gathering and analysis.

Very important to understand, through his contribution, the micro-environment of the farmer. Then impact can be understood as a journey travelled through a period of time and through changes that have been identified in advance as part of the journey. You can uncover the journey in this way and measure impact through it. So change seen from the farmer’s perspective must be a part of the whole picture of impact.

Read more>> at e-Agriculture perspectives by FAO

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