FSODC Challenge Questions from Harvest Choice
Collective submission by HarvestChoice Team at IFPRI
1. Would investing on fertilizers in farmers’ fields profitable, given the price of fertilizer and seeds and the marginal value of increased yields, and what would be the associated risk?
2. Should I use crop residue for feed stock/cooking/roofing for immediate use, or leave on the field to improve soil fertility over long run?
3. As a poor farmer, shall I diversify or intensify my production to increase productivity and income and to improve nutrition?
4. What are the top 3 actions I can take now to maintain soil fertility? How much will that cost me?
5. Shall I buy 1 cow or 3 pigs (or what's the optimum livestock mix to improve nutrition and revenues)?
6. Considering my agro-eco-soil zone, what (if any) specialty crops (by that I mean crops whose production yield more $$) could I farm here? What activities would I have to do to add value to those harvests?
7. Am seeing that the expenses for rearing my *beloved* cows are increasing, and soon I won’t be able to afford them, but I know that it’s important for me to keep the cows I have. Shall I sell them?
8. I am thinking of selling my chickens to buy a cow, so that I can feed my children with milk instead of buying it, since its price is high for me. Shall I do that?
9. I think my livestock is being exposed to disease, and recently some of my cows died because of drought. I heard about the crossbreed, shall I spend my little savings in exotic breeds, or veterinary services?
10. What is my goal, higher quantity of production or lower production cost? What's the optimum balance between my costs and my outcome?
1. Livestock as a capital asset and viewed as saving mechanism to buffer against crop failures in dry lands. How can poor farmers own livestock?
2. With increasing scarcity of production land and expansion of cultivated area, how can pastoralists feed their livestock herd?
3. In semi-arid areas drought results in cattle death making people vulnerable to poverty. Is there any important and locally accessible medicinal feed that farmers can use to help cattle survive drought?
4. Are there any measures to improve feed availability and quality for livestock owners?
5. What are the feeding regimes that can help to improve livestock management systems as well as improve their performance?
6. How can local markets become more active for livestock and livestock products?
7. How can I exploit my small piece of land to provide food, animal feed, and improve soil fertility?
1. For subsistence farmers, what's the level of productivity that they need to sufficiently feed their family while meeting nutritional requirements?
2. What are the long-term opportunities for landless households to meet their food requirements in the remote areas?
3. Given current productivity how many children can I safely afford to raise?
1. What would be the acceptable level of rainfall and yield variability that farmers can cope with?
2. Given the distance between farmers’ fields and the rainfall gauge (or nearest met station in the area), would the index-based insurance work for me?
3. Is climate really changing? Or, is this my soil fertility declining. Should I go fallow?
4. How relevant is the weather forecast in my area's newspaper/radio broadcast to my village/field?
5. When should I plant my seeds? Should I do it early to be on the market ahead of others, or wait few more days to be on the safe side of rainfall?
6. With observed unreliable patterns of rainfall distribution and variability during the growing season, are there specific planting window that reduce the risk for crop loss?
7. How can farmers manage risk in emerging high value crop and livestock markets?
8. Are there any measures taken by the bank to handle crop failures caused by drought, pest breakthrough, or animal damage?
9. Is there any crop insurance that would cover my crop if drought/ flood happen?
Access to Credit
1. I am illiterate and do not have any guarantee. How can I get a loan to increase the production of my farm?
2. With climate variability, I have to adjust my sowing dates from season to season. How can I get a loan from the local bank to meet these dates?
1. What's the most important crop production constraint that I need to resolve?
2. What kind, and how much fertilizer should I apply, when? Up to what amount is the fertilizer effective/efficient/profitable?
3. Is this seed really the seed the seller said? How would I know if I'm overpaying for a fake seed?
4. My crops look sick – what’s the problem, and where can I ask for help identifying the problem? What should I do?
1. Do the international research organizations and developing agencies really know my questions and understand the complexity? Who are on my side?
2. Do I pay too much to my landlord? How much other farmers pay?
3. Which varieties others are planting? What'd be the performance?
4. Increasing food security in Africa will need significant expansion of food production for which there are two primary strategies; expand cultivated areas or intensify production on existing cultivated lands. Taking into account population growth patterns, increased demand, the distribution of suitable land for crop production, water resources, and valued habitat/biodiverisity, what might be the relative contribution of each of these strategies where (looking across SSA as a whole)? Where might expansion and intensification pose the greatest environmental risks?
1. What's trending in our village/region/country - among farmers like me: crop, seed variety, fertilizer, cropping calendar, yield levels, pests/diseases outbreaks.
2. What are farmers planning within five kilometers of my farm, and when are they planning it?
3. Heard rumors that there are some Open/Free Data out there that may benefit my farm. Where is the nearest place to get cellphone or information kiosk to access the data, and how?
4. Where is the nearest market which I can sell my crop for maximum profit?
5. What is difference between price of maize in my village and the price of maize in neighboring villages?
6. Which crop is the most vulnerable from market price fluctuation this year?
7. Would there be another food security crises in my country this year, when?
8. Given the so-cheaply imported (or even freely distributed) wheat in my region, would it make sense to grow wheat locally? Can the locally grown wheat profitable?
9. What would be the effect of market price changes on my production? What should I expect?
10. Where can I find the expert who can give me advices on management practices, investment choices, marketing my crops, and so on?
11. How far would I have to travel to sell value-added products from my farm?
12. Are there any other farmers around I could share my transport costs with to go sell my products in the market?
New Technologies and Adoption
1. Shall I move from traditional practices towards conservation agriculture?
2. Can conservation agriculture help to satisfy the food requirements of my family?
3. How can the adoption and use of GMO can improve food self-sufficiency?
4. Are there some specific skills that are required to adopt promoting new technologies that increase productivity? If so, how can I acquire these skills? How much does it cost to acquire/develop such skills?
5. Given the increasing water deficit in dry lands, what are opportunities to achieve the improvement of the performance of irrigation systems?
6. Given the high price of fertilizer and the degraded status of crop field, what are affordable ways for poor farmers to increase the productivity of their smallholdings?
7. Irrigation has often triggered the intensification of crop production in sub-Saharan Africa. But are there specific irrigation technologies that consider market opportunities, consider investment and policies on input systems, as well as, socio-economic aspects and differences in livelihood strategies among households?
8. How can land constrained poor households improve their productivity and livelihood?