ECHOcommunity Conversations

Metrics for the Effectiveness of Agricultural Workshops

My organization conducts trainings on simple yield-improving techniques for farmers in “developing countries.” As of right now, we have workshops on raised planting beds, bucket drip irrigation, and composting. We are hoping to improve the way we evaluate the effectiveness and impact of our program on participating farmers.

From your experience, what are the key metrics for measuring the effectiveness of agriculture workshops on a farmer’s life, socially, economically, health-wise, etc.? It would be helpful if these metrics were clear and easily measurable. It would also be good to note how long after the workshop a certain metric should be taken (months? years?).

Examples may include prevalence of malnutrition in the family, change in crop yield by kilo, improvement of certain illnesses, time saved from decreased water use, etc.

Thank you!

Great question! A good practice is to ask the group what they hope to accomplish. The facilitator should encourage them to think about benefits beyond productivity (liters of milk, etc…) to include child nutrition (as you noted) and sometimes for women, it is the opportunity to leave the farm.
Another good metric and the number of new techniques that each household implements. They may not be successful the first time around, but willingness to try is key to eventual success.
Good luck!

Great Question to ask regarding measuring workshop success. In addtion to goatladies comments here are few to consider below:

  1. Increase access to better markets
  2. Better understanding of appropriate technology available to farmers
  3. Understanding the agricultural supply chain- where are the links that need to be strengthen and steps taken to improve those gaps.
  4. Increased understanding of seed varieties and rotating crops to improve soil health
  5. Proper crop storage to reduce/eliminate post-harvest loss

If you have any questions about these please feel free to email as I conduct workshops and work with small-scale farmers often.