ImpactLite survey tool improves understanding of on-farm reality

The IMPACTlite tool together with open access data related to smallholders and agricultural systems are ready to be explored. Photo: N. Palmer
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Explore a new tool and data sets related to on-farm resources, farm management strategies, farm productivity and household economics at the household farm level.

Agricultural research is many times about the analysis of data, hence the data collection process is a major factor in the success of a study. Comprehensive data sets can really help support what we aim to achieve in the end: improved livelihoods for farmers.

The Integrated Modelling Platform for Mixed Animal Crop systems (IMPACT) was developed to encourage data sharing by using standard protocols, and allowing tools to be linked to facilitate evaluations of various farming systems. There was however a need to further improve the tool, to make it easier and more effective to use, as it took considerable time to complete an interview.

Improving the modelling platform

With this in mind, our Data and Tools team commissioned the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) the task to design IMPACTlite tool for household characterization.

Led by scientists from ILRI and CCAFS, IMPACTlite was designed and implemented on field. The survey was carried out across 15 of our benchmark sites in twelve countries across East Africa, West Africa and South Asia.

This tool helps capture the diversity of farming activities and characterize the main agricultural production systems. It is really useful to anyone with the ambition to better understand farmers' production systems and their dynamics. In addition to that the IMPACTlite tool provides a unifying framework for collecting data.

The datasets include detailed information and data about household composition, agriculture production systems and activities. They also include information about land and labour allocation within households, farmers’ income from on-farm and off-farm activities as well as household consumption on food and assets, to mention some.

A gender-lens on control over resources, land ownership and allocation of activities has also been added to the datasets.

Researchers can easily download the data and figures that have been prepared. It is also possible to replicate the survey in other sites, which can then be used to compare with existing data. Researchers could develop other surveys building on the existing IMPACTlite existing tool and data.

the Impactlite platform has an added gender lens, related to control over resources and land ownership. The tool is All open access and ready to be explored! Photo: UNAMID

Silvia Silvestri, scientist in Environment and Livelihoods and one of the team members involved in IMPACTlite, asserts that the dataset from IMPACTlite represents an important source of information for the scientific community:

"The IMPACT-Lite will allow us to capture within-site variability on key performance and livelihood indicators that could be used for a wide range of analysis" she says. "It represents a great example of cross- sites and cross-teams collaboration, together with an excellent learning opportunity about data analysis and household modelling."

All about team work

The IMPACTlite team from ILRI gathered secondary information for each of the research sites with the assistance and support from local site coordinators. Well-organized partnerships and collaborations were really the key to IMPACTlite's success.

Visit the platform to start downloading data and supporting materials.

Our colleagues are using the IMPACTlite survey tool! Africa RISING uses IMPACT-Lite survey tool to document baseline data in Ethiopia