Sunday, 25 August 2013

Conceptual framework and methodology

Research subject: 
Constraints for replanting aged cocoa trees with hybrid varieties

Research Objective
Nestle's impoved strategy for increased replanting of aged
cocoa  cocoa farms with hybrid cocoa varieties

2 Main research questions  
What are farmers’ opinions and experiences about hybrid cocoa varieties?
What factors discourage the renewal aged farms with hybrid cocoa varieties?

Conceptual framework

Improved crop variety is one of components of agricultural technology. During research design stage we came across different concepts but for our research we used the conceptual framework of constraints for adoption of agricultural technologies proposed by Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative of Jameel Poverty Action Lab (MIT) and Center for Effective Global Action (Berkeley). According to this framework, markets of well-functioning economies capture all costs and benefits and farmers will adopt a new technology but under one or more market inefficiencies, farmers will face constraints to adopt a new technology (Jack, 2011). It defines 7 groups of inefficiencies of following types: 

Some of the examples of the 7 groups of inefficiencies are:

Informational Inefficiencies

    the lack of information about new crop or highly varied opinions about the yields of the new variety and about ease or difficulty of its maintenance; varied or even contradicting opinions between user-farmers and ‘’promoter’’ extension-officers.


     some of the positive or negative effects of the adoption that do not accrue to the individual who adopted; In the case of higher yielding variety, spill-over effects can be: increased supply, price reduction, reduction of total farmland needed for cocoa due to intensification.

Input-Output Related
     inability to access the plant material and information about it;  if farmers think that adoption of hybrid varieties results in significant benefit only when combined with adoption of fertilizers and other chemicals for which farmers  do not have funds; output market not requiring and offering separate packing and pricing of hybrid and old cocoa varieties.

Land Market Related

     as  replanted cocoa brings first income after 3 years and needs even more time for peak yields, farmers with uncertain tenure security will be most restrained in risky adoption decisions. In sharecropping arrangements, landowners’ unwillingness to deduct the maintenance costs during dormant years.

Labour Related Inefficiencies

    some agricultural innovations that save labour may be adopted by households who lack domestic labour force and are financially restrained to use hired labour. If this is not the case, such households will be constrained in adoption. If farmers think that hybrid cocoa needs more pruning, weeding, spraying than old varieties, then they also realise that hybrid’s adoption will demand more labour inputs from them.

Credit Market Inefficiencies

      due to very long payback time for tree crops, likelihood of ‘’official’’ bank loan is extremely low and would not be even feasible due to high interest rates. If new variety needs more labour and non-labour inputs, farmers, due to high interest rates, may not be able to borrow even for shorter periods such as borrowing in March for fertilizers and paying back in November from cocoa income.

Risk Market Inefficiencies

the new variety may be promising but not certain; The uncertainty can be aggregated by lack of information on whether new variety needs a more intense maintenance and whether it is more susceptible to diseases; Farmers expectation of cocoa beans market price over next 10 years may certainly impact decision on investing into replanting;


For survey methodology, we found CIMMYT's ''The Adoption of Agricultural Technology: A Guide for Survey Design'' as very useful. 

To make sure that farmers understood the questions well, we asked questions as simple as possible.  Example:

question in the questionnaire: 

''In terms of resistance to diseases, which variety is more resistant, hybrid or Amazonian?''

the way this question was asked:

''If you leave hybrids and Amazonian parts of your farm not sprayed, which will be more affected by diseases, hybrids or Amazonians?

Total of 90 farmers were interviewed with following criteria:

Prior to quantitative survey, the focus group interview with 4 farmers were conducted to reveal those questions and issues we could not anticipate during desk-study stage.

Total of 76 questions were asked of which 24 were open ended and 52 were multiple choice questions. Although, licensed buying company Armajaro's field manager, extension officer and purchasing clerks were key in arranging farmer meetings, none of them were present during interviewing.

Obtained data were processed in SPSS statistical software. 

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