SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROGRAMME
This is the first of a series of informal notes on Rapid Rural
Appraisal (RRA). The aim is to share experiences and methods
among practitioners of RRA throughout the world.
We plan to publish brief informal pieces on any topic related to
RRA. We would like to hear news of meetings, workshops and
projects, both past and planned. In particular we are seeking
short accounts of experiences with RRA techniques in the field -
failures as well as successes. Please also send titles of
articles, papers and reports for listing under the new
We will publish fairly regularly, depending on the availability
of material. As far as possible each issue will be put together
by a different editor and we would like to hear from volunteers
for this task.
The notes are being produced under the Sustainable Agriculture
Programme of IIED, which is financed by USAID and SIDA.
Material for inclusion in the notes should be sent to:
Ms Jennifer McCracken
International Institute for Environment and Development
3 Endsleigh Street
Telex: 261681 EASCAN G
PLEASE PHOTOCOPY THESE NOTES AND PASS THEM ON TO OTHERS WHO MAY
Editorial What's in a Name
Workshops and Meetings
RRA Methods Workshop in Thailand
Notes of an RRA meeting held in Sussex
Notes from the Field
Pairwise Ranking in Ethiopia
Direct Matrix Ranking in Kenya
and West Bengal
What's in a Name
Rapid Rural Appraisal as it is currently practised covers such a
great variety of methods and techniques that the name is
sometimes misleading. Some RRA methods are not particularly
rapid they may take weeks or months to complete rather than
days. Others are applied in urban rather than rural situations,
and yet others are more concerned with the development process -
farmer participation, project implementation or monitoring -
rather than its appraisal.
But this problem of definition does not matter very much in
practice, because most of us recognize an RRA approach when we
see it or hear of it. What RRA methods tend to have in common
1. greater speed compared with conventional methods of analysis
2. working in the 'field', whether it be a farm, a refugee camp
or an urban slum
3. an emphasis on learning directly from the local inhabitants
4. a semi-structured, multidisciplinary approach with room for
flexibility and innovation
5. an emphasis on producing timely insights, hypotheses or
"best bets" rather than final truths or fixed
In this series of notes 'RRA' covers any method or technique
which can be broadly described in these terms. Similarly in
terms of subject matter we are taking a broad interpretation.
The topics may include agriculture, or irrigation, or health or
urban development. The aim of the notes is to share a wide set
of experiences and ideas our success though depends on
receiving contributions from practitioners. PLEASE WRITE TO US.
3 Endsleigh Street
WORKSHOPS AND MEETINGS
(1) RRA Methodologies Workshop in Thailand: A New Initiative
The Northeast Rainfed Agricultural Development Project in Khon
Kaen recently convened a three day workshop in Korat for 70 staff
from government agencies and regional universities. Many of the
participants have long been at the forefront of developing and
using RRA approaches. Indeed, as many will know, the papers
presented at the International RRA Conference in 1985 held at
Khon Kaen University still represent a major proportion of the
published material on RRA. But many practitioners in Thailand
have recently come to recognize that adoption of RRA into
Government programs has been slower than wished. Thus the NERAD
Project felt that it was a good time to set in motion the process
of production of a series of user-oriented handbooks.
The principal objectives of this multidisciplinary and
multisectoral workshop were the joint analysis of some 15-20 RRA
tools*, the production of guidelines for the handbooks and the
nomination of authors. Participants divided into five working
groups, each to analyse a separate tool, and then presented their
findings to the plenary on overhead transparencies for
discussion. The end result was a series of detailed guidelines
for each handbook, including what the user needs to know in order
to select a tool, understand its implications and some underlying
theory, and to utilise the tool whilst understanding the weak
points. The handbooks are intended to be easy to use, but will
avoid the dangers of a "cookbook" approach by being not over-
detailed and by using case studies and pictorial examples.
Although the handbooks will be designed to be self-sufficient,
they will include a section describing linkages to other tools
and how the information and hypotheses generated should be used.
The handbooks will of course be in Thai, but will probably be
later translated into English.
The list overleaf should be seen not necessarily as representing
the 17 most important handbook titles, but as the first of a
series. Indeed this is one of the most important aspects of the
workshop. It is clearly perceived by all as the beginning of a
process leading to institutionalisation. Once published the
success of the handbooks will be judged by testing through using.
Future workshops will then revise these first editions in
addition to analysing more tools.
There is currently some disagreement over the use of terms
such as tool, technique, methodology and approach. For the
purposes of simplicity, the term tool was taken by the
workshop organizers to refer to an implement or means for
effecting some purpose or achieving an objective.
Titles of Handbooks
Decision Making Tools
Map Overlay Analysis
Historical Profile Analysis
Topical Agroecosystem Zoning
Diagnosis of Limiting Factors in Farmer's Fields
Superimposed Treatment Techniques
Further information on the handbooks can be obtained from Iain A
Craig at the North East Rainfed Agricultural Development (NERAD)
Project, NEROA, Tha Phra, Khon Kaen 40260, Thailand; or from me
Jules N Pretty, IIED
** ** *** **
(2) Notes on the RRA Workshop held at IDS, 199 May 1988
Seventeen people, mainly UK practitioners of RRA, met at the
Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex on
19 May 1988 with three purposes:
i) to take stock of the position with RRA
ii) to share experiences and information
iii) to identify needs and plan action.
i) Taking Stock
We noted that the sharp rise of interest in RRA, and much
pioneering activity in Thailand and many other countries. With
the Khon Kaen volume, RRA has come of age, and the case for it
has been quite widely accepted. There are obvious dangers of the
label of RRA being used to legitimise bad and biased work, but
when it is well done, it often proves superior to earlier
We also recognized that demand for training from donor agencies,
NGOs and governments is increasing and already exceeds the
capacity to meet it. Training of trainers, and the efficient
dissemination of methods, are now a priority. New methods are
continually being invented and developed, but much of the
experience is not properly recorded. Practitioners often do not
realise how interesting and important their activities and
methods are. Much of the literature is informal and scattered,
but there are now several initiatives to write manuals.
ii) Sharing Experiences
Seven practitioners made presentations as follows:
1. Sheila Smith (University of Sussex) on the repeated and
intractable problems faced in trying to find the poorest
people during a study in rural Tanzania, and how they were
2. Ian Scoones (Imperial College of Science and Technology, 48
Princes Gardens, London SW7 2PE) on methods of wealth
ranking in rural Zimbabwe, gender differences in choice of
indicators and participatory research by a community's
3. Graham Clarke (IDS and Queen Elizabeth House, 21 St Giles,
Oxford OX1 3LA) on team dynamics in a study in Pakistan with
6 researchers, three pairs of village case studies, the
selection of contrasting households, and after the case
studies, each researcher investigating a crosscutting theme
by questioning his other five colleagues about their
4. Jenny McCracken (IIED) on the use of diagrams in
agroecosystem analysis as a quick means of finding out about
an area and its people, learning farmers' conditions and
constraints, and getting different disciplines to work
5. Robert Chambers (IDS) on ranking methods to enable
individuals or groups to compare and evaluate different
items in a class (such as sorts of vegetables or trees or
rice varieties or fertilizer) according to their own
6. Mary Tiffen (Overseas Development Institute, Regent's
College, Regent's Park, London NW1 4NS) on selecting
villages for representativeness by ranking them by size and
interviewing in each of the total population quartiles.
Selection within each quartile can be done so as to cover
each agroecological zone and each administrative district.
7. David Potten (Hunting Technical Services, Elstree Way,
Borehamwood, Herts WD6 1SB) on triangulation in an
irrigation rehabilitation RRA in Zimbabwe. Biases were
offset by each member of a team of three doing different
things in different places, and comparing notes in the
Sources for these experiences are:
1 and 2. Forthcoming in RRA Notes Number Two.
3. Write to Graham Clarke at IDS or QEH.
4. Gordon R. Conway, Jennifer A. McCracken and Jules N. Pretty,
'Training Notes for Agroecosystem Analysis and Rapid Rural
Appraisal', 2nd edition. Sustainable Agriculture Programme,
IIED, 3 Endsleigh Street, London, WC1H ODD, November 1987.
5. Robert Chambers, pages 13-18 in these notes.
6. Write to Mary Tiffen, Overseas Development Institute, .
7. J. Harvey, D.H. Potten, 'Rapid Rural Appraisal of Small
Irrigation Schemes in Zimbabwe', Agricultural
Administration and Extension, 27 (1987), pp 141-155.
Some points made in discussion were:
ecological and social heterogeneity distinguish RRA from
rapid urban appraisal, but they have much in common and can
learn from eachothers' practices
- finding the poorest can be a major problem and deserves more
maps and diagrams provide common languages, both between
outsiders and rural people and between disciplines
- traders are often neglected as key informants
- rural people's own analysis and comparisons have been
relatively neglected. Asking one group about a contrasting
group, and vice versa, can give quick and good insights
consultants and others need to use RRA methods more
consciously and explicitly
iii) Identify Needs and Planning Action
The major needs identified were:
to capture, record and disseminate experience with current
methods in different conditions, and with new methods as
they are invented and developed
to prepare, test and revise handbooks or manuals on RRA
methods, ensuring widespread distribution, feedback and
- to develop training materials and expertise
- to increase the cadre of experienced practitioners and
In summary, action in hand, known about, proposed or agreed was
ITDG: (Intermediate Technology Development Group, Myson House,
Railway Terrace, Rugby, CV21 3HT)
Publication of Barbara Grandin's wealth ranking manual,
due out in June
An internal ITDG workshop on RRA on 20 June
A bibliography on Applied Techniques in Social Science
(not only RRA) being prepared for ODNRI, due in August
More manuals on methods next year
ILEIA: (Information Centre for Low External Input Agriculture,
c/o ETC, PO Box 64, 3830 AB Leusden, The Netherlands)
The next ILEIA Newsletter will report on the April 1988
ILEIA workshop on Participatory Technology Development.
In addition, and following the recommendations of that
workshop, ILEIA will prepare manuals on:
Getting Started: how to begin with a farming population
Finding and strengthening farmers' experiments
Outsiders and farm families: face-to-face communication
How NGOs can find out about agricultural research
How to learn farm families' agendas (including
supporting their own analysis)
ODA: (Overseas Development Administration, Eland House, Stag
Place, London SW1E 5DH)
(with Don Curtis, Institute of Local Government Studies,
University of Birmingham, PO Box 363, Birmingham, BI5
2TT). A guide to social analysis for development
projects, following the ITDG/ODNRI literature search and
CDC: (Commonwealth Development Corporation, 33 Hill Street,
London W1A 3AR)
A guide for planning and appraisal of small farm
projects to be written by Antony Ellman
NERAD: (NERAD, NEROA, Tha Phra, Khon Kaen 40260, Thailand)
Following the April 1988 workshop at Khon Kaen,
handbooks in Thai are to be produced on each of the
following (see Pretty, Jules N. 1988. Simple and
Innovative Tools for Agricultural Development
Programmes, Sustainable Agriculture Programme, IIED,
April; pages 4 to 5 above)
IIED: A technique bulletin on transects, to be prepared by
Jules Pretty, as the first of a possible series
A Guide to RRA for Agricultural Development, with a list
of key workers and an annotated bibliography, being
prepared for SIDA
Continuing training activities in several countries
(Indonesia, USA, Switzerland etc.)
RRA Notes, of which this is the first issue
Continuing training activities in several countries
(Indonesia, USA, Switzerland etc.)
RRA Notes, of which this is the first issue
For the future, it may be useful to think of a loose leaf folder
with sections for methods which can be removed and updated. A
simple user-friendly layout it important. This will need liaison
between those preparing manuals.
A further one-day workshop is planned for six months' time.
Participants in the RRA Workshop at IDS, 19 May 1988
Hunting Technical Services Ltd
Imperial College of Science and Technology
University of Sussex
What You Can Do
For the moment, the central point for information will best be
IIED, with the RRA Notes as the focus. If you have ideas or
information, please write to RRA Notes, Sustainable Agriculture
Programme, International Institute for Environment and
Development, 3 Endsleigh Street, London, WC1H ODD
Institute of Development Studies
University of Sussex
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
(1) Pairwise Ranking in Ethiopia
An IIED/IDS team consisting of myself, Robert Chambers and
Jennifer McCracken recently ran an RRA workshop in Wollo Province
for the Ethiopian Red Cross. It was primarily intended as a
demonstration of the value of RRA methods in formulating
development plans for Peasant Associations (PA). The fieldwork
was carried out in two PA's Gobeya and Abicho.
The theme of the workshop was diversification and we spent some
time trying to obtain the views of the peasants on the virtues
and drawbacks of different crops and tree species. One technique
we developed was pairwise ranking and the following are extracts
from our report which describe the procedure.
We first tried it to find out which tree species the peasant's
preferred for reforestation: 'First we interviewed three farmers,
on the PA Chairman, another the Producer Co-operative Chairman
and the third a farmer who had been specially trained in
conservation. We chose six most widely used reforestation
species and wrote the name of each on a square of paper. We
presented the three farmers with a pairwise comparison by laying
two of the squares, Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Eucalyptus
globulus, on the floor and asking the men to collectively chose
why they had chosen that species over the other. We also asked
whether the less preferred species was superior to the preferred
in any respect. Finally we asked whether there was anything else
they could tell us about the pair. We continued laying out
different pairs of squares for comparison until all the possible
combinations had been considered.
The final ranking was obtained by examining all the pair
combinations, laying out the squares of paper in a line so that
each species was above all those to which it was preferred. The
ranking and characteristics were as follows:
1. African olive Diverse utilisation.
Implements-digging sticks, yoke and
other parts of ploughs, hoes, axe
House construction not attacked
Firewood no smoke
Incense from leaves.
2. E. camaldulensis Easy to split.
Strong for construction.
Easy to make charcoal.
3. E. globulus
5. White acacia or
Good for holding nails.
High elasticity bends easily
Difficult to produce charcoal
Window and door timber.
Smokey as firewood
We then asked whether there was any characteristic or potential
tree missing from this list. After some discussion the farmers
said they would like a hard furniture tree like Podocarpus which
would be better than Juniper.
We then interviewed one of our team members who was a forestry
expert, and asked him to make the pairwise choices on the same
species, and to consider their characteristics in terms of ease
of nursery cultivation, establishment, productivity and erosion
control. His ranking was as follows:
1. E. camaldulensis
2. E. globulus
3. African olive
5. White acacia
No nursery problems.
High survival rate.
Not so good erosion control.
Like E. camaldulensis but lower
yield and survival rate.
Longer in nursery.
Good erosion control.
Even longer in nursery.
Lower survival rate.
Once mature better erosion control.
Faster in nursery.
Poorer erosion control.
Better erosion control but longer
Better in highlands.
(The comparisons refer to the species immediately above).
One conclusion from this analysis is that a tree which combines
the fast growing characteristics of the Eucalyptus with the
versatility of use and better erosion control of the African
olive would be of great value.
Preferred Homegarden Species
We used a similar ranking procedure to find out which home garden
crops one particular farmer preferred and why. We selected the
eight most important home garden crops and performed the same
pairwise comparisons as for the tree species, in this case asking
the farmer to make his choice each time on the basis of which of
the two he would grow in the homegarden of the new village if
land was short and he could only grow one of the pair. The main
criteria the farmer used were size of cash income, quickness of
cash income, and importance as an ingredient in traditional
cooking. The final ranking was more complicated than for the
tree species. We could not lay the squares in a straight line;
instead they formed a pattern as in Figure 1.
Coffee, onions and chat were preferred over potatoes, cabbage and
hops because they provide a cash income. Coffee was said to be
good because it provided the country with foreign exchange.
Berberi (Chili) was preferred over chat, potatoes, cabbage and
hops because it is a basic ingredient of traditional stews, but
onions were preferred over berberi because "there is no point in
using berberi unless stew has onions".
Onions and chat were preferred over coffee because income is
The farmer could not chose between berberi and coffee or onions
and chat, i.e. between a basic ingredient and a cash income.
Sweet potato was preferred over Irish potato because it can be
readily mixed with wheat and other foods to produce bread. Irish
potatoes were preferred over cabbage because they produce more
income and over hops because two crops a year can be obtained.
Cabbage was preferred over hops because it combined personal use
We were all struck by just how informative this simple pairwise
ranking turned out to be. In just over half an hour we had
uncovered a rich pattern of decision making that was not
obvious by direct observation of casual conversation.
The practical value of the information was that it brought home
to the team how important it was to provide a broad range of
crops from which the farmers could choose when developing the
home gardens in the new villages.
Gordon R Conway, IIED, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H ODD
O'ION I---- ffC
dR69RI- ---- CHAT
%nx I farmer pftrnwes for home e.m ciofs
(2) Direct Matrix Ranking (DMR) in Kenya and West Bengal
When Gordon Conway and I went on from Ethiopia to Kenya, we
continued to work on ranking methods. We took the criteria
elicited from pairwise choices and made a table, with the
criteria down the side and the items (in this case species of
trees) across the top. The informant was then asked to rank the
items according to each criterion in turn. Table 1 is an example
of the result.
Later, in West Bengal, with Robin Adhikari and other staff of the
Indo-British Fertiliser Education Project, a further change was
introduced. We ran into the problem of incomparability. A
respondent objected that 'I cannot compare these two varieties of
paddy because I plant them on different sorts of land'. We had
to improvise another method for eliciting criteria other than
pairwise choices, so we asked directly what was good and what
bad, about each item. We then used this method for varieties of
paddy/rice, for types of vegetables, and for types of fertilizer
(Tables 2-4). 'Direct matrix ranking' or DMR describes the
method because it moves quickly from early discussion and
questioning to recording respondents' views directly onto a table
or matrix. It is simple, quick, and informative, and everyone
seems to learn something from it.
How To Do It : Seven Steps
As it stands, the procedure has seven steps:
1. Choose an individual or qroup.
2. Choose, or ask people to choose, a class of object (tree
species, paddy varieties, vegetables, fertilisers etc.)
which are important to them and about which they know.
3. Ask them to name the most important. The list could be
anything from 2 to 7 or more. So far 4, 5 or 6 have proved
4. Elicit criteria. For each item in turn ask: what is good
about it? and continue asking until there are no more
replies, and then what is bad about it? and similarly
continue to exhaustion.
5. List all the criteria. Turn negative criteria (eg
vulnerable to pests) into positive ones (eg not vulnerable
to pests) so that all are positive.
6. Draw up a matrix with the objects across the top, and the
criteria down the side.
7. Ask which object is best by each criterion. With six
objects, I have found that the following sequence works
which is best?
which is next best?
which is worst?
which is next worst?
of the two remaining, which is better?
Record the rankings directly onto the matrix. Force a final
choice with questions on the lines of: "If you could only
have one of these, which would you choose?" Which next?
Which next? etc.
Experience and Reflections
1. With whom? We have used the method, or something like it,
with both individuals and groups. Both worked well. Groups
have several advantages
a wider range of experience is brought to bear
responses tend to be quicker
if one person gets tired, others can take over
more criteria are likely to be elicited, and more quickly
arguments which develop can be revealing, and identify
issues for further investigation.
Groups also have the usual disadvantage that some people may
dominate while others stay quiet.
A homogeneous group (eg all men, or all women) may be
easiest and most informative. Our groups in West Bengal
were mainly male marginal and small farmers, although our
party did manage to do one ranking of paddy varieties with
women. Whether mixed groups, e.g. of men and women, would
reveal more through arguments and disagreements needs to be
2. By whom? Two people may be best, one to ask the questions
and conduct the interview, and the other to keep notes and
do most of the work collating and listing the criteria. The
second person can also observe what goes in a group, noting
potential key informants for follow-up, and listing points
for further probing.
3. Whose criteria? It is tempting for interviewers to
introduce their own criteria. This should be done only at
the end, and the criteria should be clearly marked off from
those of the respondents.
4. Listing and weighting the criteria. Listing can be tricky.
I made a mess of the vegetable ranking (see Table 4).
Brinjal comes out badly on many criteria, but ends up ranked
number one. There seem to be two reasons for this. The
first is that the method at present does not include any
weighting for different criteria. The second reason is that
in the hurry of listing the criteria I failed to include
high cash returns. This was because of a complicated
discussion about the relative importance of stable prices,
but also of seasonally high prices if you can market while
they prevail. The lesson is to be careful at the listing
stage, and to discuss the criteria with respondents and
other team members wherever there is any doubt. The final
forced choice question came into its own here, and proved
its value as a check.
5. Credits and sharing. Unless informants prefer not to be
named, it will be a good practice to give them credit by
listing them. In any case, they can be sent a copy of the
Weaknesses and Strengths
DMR has or could have weaknesses:
- it does not handle weightings, yet
- it is limited to rankings of classes of objects, so far
(but there seems no reason why different types of relationship,
conditions or practice should not be ranked such as types of
patron-client relationship, types of occupation, types of
diseases, methods of cooking, treatments for an illness etc.).
it is subject to most of the usual biases and weaknesses of
individual and group interviews
it could become an end in itself. It is not. It is an
optional stage in a process of learning from and with
On the other hand, it is strong on
- speed. It has usually taken no more than an hour
- interest. All concerned have so far found it interesting
and participants themselves can learn something through the
discussion and through making choices explicit
reversals. It requires outsiders to learn, and to respect
and record the knowledge, judgements and preferences of
rural people according to their own criteria.
Ranking methods in general appear a versatile tool, suitable for
use in RRA. Potential uses include:
i) rapid understanding of people's technical knowledge;
ii) rapid understanding of how values and use of items vary by
gender, occupational group etc;
iii) identification of priorities for research, e.g. as a stage
in finding out what people perceive as their needs and
iv) as an ice-breaker, leading to further interviews and
v) as a means of identifying key informants;
vi) as a training tool, reversing the learning process by
providing a procedure which elicits a wide range of
knowledge from people;
vii) as a means for senior and busy officials and others to
quickly and enjoyably learn from, and develop rapport with,
groups of rural people.
Ranking methods are not new. We are probably rediscovering the
wheel. There is a considerable psychological literature on
ranking and personal construct theory, some of which gets
complicated and difficult. DMR, in contrast, is simple.
Similarly, Barbara Grandin's wealth ranking method is
straightforward, using the sorting of cards, each of which
represents a household, by respondents who place them in piles of
similar wealth. Jeremy Swift has used a system for progressive
ranking of problems using holes in the ground and stones, asking
people to make a hole for each problem identified, put a stone in
each, and then progressively eliminate the least important,
transferring their stones to more important holes. If you know
of other methods, or have developed any of your own, or if you
gain experience with something like those described above, do
please write in.
Robert Chambers, Institute of Development Studies
RANKING OF CHARACTERISTICS OF
FOUR TREE SPECIES BY MRS ZENA IBRAHIM,
MUNIAS DIVISION, KAKAMEGA DISTRICT. KENYA. 7 MARCH 1988
COMPARISONS OF FIVE TYPES OP FERTILIZER BY FOUR FARMERS
IN VILLAGE KUJCHIAKOL.E DISTRICT BANKURA
ACCORDING TO THEIR CRITERIA 28 APRIL 1988
SPEED OF GROWTH 3 4 1 2
TIMBER 1 2 DON'T DON'T
FIREWOOD 1 4 2 3
IMPROVES SOIL 3= 3= 1= 1=
OK WITH CROPS 3= 3= 1= 1=
KITCHEN SMOKE 1 4 2 3
STATUS/POPULARITY 1 4 2 3
MARKET VALUE 1 DON'T NIL NIL
BEAUTY 3 1 4 2
RESISTS TERMITES 1 DON'T 2= 2=
1 = BEST
4 = WORST
LOW COST 5 1 4 2 3
PRICE RISES LITTLE 1 3 4 2 5
EASY TO APPLY 5 2= 2= 4 1
GOOD NUTRIENT PROPORTIONS 1 3 2 4= 4=
HIGH N CONCENTRATION 4 3 2 NIL 1
MICRONUTRIENTS 1 -
N AVAILABILITY TO PLANT 4 1 2 NIL 3
LASTS WELL IN SOIL 1 2 3 4 5
IMPROVES SOIL FERTILITY (+) 1 (-) 3 (-) 4 (-) 2 (-) 5
SOIL HOLDS WATER BETTER 1 2= 2= 2= 2=
ACIDITY NOT INCREASED 1 DK DK DK 5
EFFECT ON PESTS/DISEASES 1= 3 4 1= 5
MARKET AVAILABILITY* 2 1= 1= 1= 1=
STORING QUALITY* 2 3 4 1 S
* = suggested by interviewer
1 = BEST 5 = WORST
FYM = Farmyard manure
DAP = Diammonium phosphate
MOP = Muriate of potash
CRITERIA AND RANKING FOR PADDY VARIETIES
BY 14 FARMERS (4-10 BIGHAS) AT VILLAGE
NEMAIPUR, DISTRICT BANKURA ON 29.4.1988
RANKING OF SIX VEGETABLES ACCORDING TO
undertaken by Tarapada Ghosh and 8 other
marginal and small farmers in village,
Purulia District, West Bengal, April 1988
RAS1 IR-50 IR-36 HIRAMOTI MASURI NAGRASAL
3. Length of straw
-4. Market price
5. Suitable for
6. Eating quality
7. Suitable for
8. Recovery of
1. Tolerance to
2. Height of straw
3. Milling recovery
4. Seed available
5. Yield per Bigha
6. Length of
7. Suitable for
4 2 5
5 3 2
Low investment 2 4 1 6 3 5
Stable price 4 3 6 5 1 2
Continuous production 2 1
Short duration 5 6 1 3 2 4
Useful byproducts 6 3 4 5 1= 1=
Needs less irrigation 1 6 2 3 4 5
Can stand flooding 2 3 1 6 4 -5
Less pests/diseases 3 6 1 2 4 5
Produce keeps well 2 4 5 1 6 3
Low fertilizer cost 2 5 1 6 3 4
Less pesticide needed 2 6 1 3 4 5
Easy to harvest* 2 3 1 6 4= 4=
Low labour cost* 2 5 1 6 3 4
If you could only grow
one, which would you 4 1 5= 5= 2= 2=
1 = BEST 6 = WORST
SUGGESTED BY INTERVIEWER
3= 3= 1 5= 2 5=
I = BEST 6 = WORST
Freedom From Hunger Foundation. 1988. Rapid Rural Appraisal for
Project Analysis Planning. Draft. FFH Foundation, Davis,
Conway, G.R. 1987. The Properties of Agroecosystems.
Agricultural Systems. 24: 95-117
Ethiopian Red Cross Society. 1988. Rapid Rural Appraisal: A
Closer Look at Rural Life in Wollo. Ethiopian Red Cross Society,
Addis Ababa and IIED, London
McCracken, J.A. 1988. A working framework for RRA: Lessons from
a Fiji experience. Agricultural Administration. 29(3): 163-184
Khon Kaen University. 1987. Proceedings of the 1985
International Conference on Rapid Rural Appraisal. Khon Kaen
Thailand: Rural Systems Research and Farming Systems Research
Farrington, J. and Martin, A. 1987. Farmer Participatory
Research: A Review of Concepts and Practices. ODI, Agricultural
Administration Network Discussion Paper 19. ODI, London
Kumar, J. 1987. Conducting Group Interviews in Developing
Countries. Agency for International Development Program Design
and Evaluation Methodology Report No 8. Washington DC
Grandin, B. 1988. Wealth Ranking. Intermediate Technology
Rhoades, R.E. 1987. Farmers and Experimentation. Agricultural
Administration Network Discussion Paper 21. ODI, London
Gibbs, C. 1986. Rapid Appraisal Bibliography. East-West
Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
Craig, I.A. and Pisone, U. 1988. A Summary of NERAD Promising
Processes, Methodologies and Technologies for Rainfed Agriculture
in Northeast Thailand. Northeast Rainfed Agricultural
Development (NERAD) *Project Technology Documentation Working
Paper No TO. Khon Kaen, Thailand
Pretty, J.N. 1988. Simple and Innovative Tools for Agricultural
Development Programs. IIED, London
The Reasons Why People Grow Trees
One of the outcomes of ranking methods is that they produce a
fascinating variety of reasons why people prefer one tree or crop
Two examples from Kenya:
Tall isolated trees are often justifiably avoided because they
stand the risk of being struck by lightning. But one tall local
Kenyan tree (species unfortunately unidentified) standing beside
a house was claimed to be a lightning repellent.
One woman questioned about the tall Eucalyptus beside her house
said she liked it because it told everyone where her house was.
Have You Heard The Story About The:
Antique dealer who heard about a peasant up country who possessed
a saucer decorated with an Imperial Crown.
The antique dealer travelled by plane and jeep and finally for
several miles on foot until he came to the village of the
peasant. The villagers directed him to the peasant's hut where
he was made welcome. His eyes immediately lit on a sleek black
cat lapping up milk from a saucer. As the cat licked the last
drops of milk the antique dealer could see the Imperial Crown
marked upon the saucer and knew it to be very valuable.
He sat talking to the peasant and after a while remarked upon
what a fine cat the peasant owned. The chatted further and then
the dealer said he thought the cat was so fine that he would like
to purchase it. The peasant demurred at first but after several
minutes of haggling agreed to sell the cat. The dealer was
delighted but concealed his pleasure and as he was about to
depart said casually:
'I shall need something to give the cat its milk, so if you don't
mind I'll take that old saucer as well.'
You can have the cat' replied the peasant, 'but not the saucer.
We need the saucer to sell cats'.