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Farm Diversity Score

Indicator Phrasing

the average number of crop types grown by the target households during the last [specify the name of the season]
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: the average number of crop types grown by the target households during the last [specify the name of the season]

French: le nombre moyen de types de cultures cultivées par les ménages cibles au cours de la dernière [précisez le nom de la saison]

Portuguese: número médio de tipos de culturas produzidas pelos agregados familiares-alvo durante o último [especifique o nome da estação do ano]

Czech: průměrný počet druhů plodin pěstovaných cílovými domácnostmi během poslední [určete sezónu]

What is its purpose?

The indicator measures the diversity of farming households’ crop production. Crop diversity is important for ensuring people’s access to nutritious food and for supporting the diversity of the local agro-ecosystems.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Determine the indicator's value by using the following methodology:


1) Prepare a list of all crops grown in the target areas during the season you are interested in - for example, during the last rainy season. Create it based on consultations with the key informants, such as extension workers, more experienced farmers and the project’s field staff. Ensure that you name the crops in ways the respondents are familiar with (always pre-test it). When preparing the list, include various types of crops, including:

  > cereals, legumes, tubers, vegetables, fruits, trees

  > staple crops, cash crops, animal fodder crops


2) Conduct individual interviews with a representative sample of your target group members, asking them about each of the listed crop varieties. For example: In the past long rainy season, did your household grow any haricot beans? Indicate in your questionnaire all crops which were grown.


3) Count the total number of crops grown by the respondent’s household (i.e. the “farm diversity score”).


4) Calculate the indicator’s value by summing up all the individual scores and dividing them by the total number of respondents. 


Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by wealth and other relevant criteria.

Important Comments

1) Farmers often do not report the crops which they planted but due to crop failure or other circumstances did not harvest. Consider therefore adding an extra question: Were there any crops which your household planted but did not harvest due to poor weather, pests or other reasons? Depending on the purpose of your survey, decide whether these crops should be included or not.


2) Many different varieties of crops are grown (for example, there are over 50 varieties of maize). If you need to know what they are, assess them as a part of the survey.


3) If your main interest is assessing the proportion of farmers who diversified their crop production, consider using a slightly different indicator: “% of targeted farmers who increased the number of crop types grown in their farm”. However, be aware that such an indicator requires collecting baseline and endline from exactly the same respondents which is not easy (the baseline sample size also needs to be larger, so that even if some farmers are not available for the endline, the sample still maintains its representative size). 


4) The data collected for the Farm Diversity Score indicator allows you to also assess the percentage of farmers growing specific types of crops.


5) Many households’ diets depend on collecting wild foods. If you are interested in households’ physical access to food, you might want to include additional questions assessing households’ use of local wild crops (while keeping in mind that they should not be counted as “farm production”).


6) Keep in mind that many farmers practice crop rotation. Therefore, if you want to also use the farm diversity data for assessing the number of farmers experienced in growing a particular crop, add an additional question for frequently rotated crops: Are there any crops which you regularly grow but due to crop rotation you did not plant them in the [specify the season your survey assesses]?


7) If possible, measure crop diversity at least one season after you completed your crop production support, otherwise you won’t see whether farmers continue growing the promoted crops in the absence of external assistance.


8) Ensure that the data collectors always interview the household member primarily responsible for crop production (not any other person). If the person is not available, interview another household and return later.


9) If required, you can extend the questionnaire and also include the domestic animals (possibly also their number). 


10) If you have a clear use of such data, consider also assessing the use of the grown crops (primarily for sale / for consumption / both) and the cropping area per each crop. 


11) European Commission's DEVCO recommends using a similar indicator: "Crop diversification index". 

This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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