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This metric focuses on cash crops and the land allocated to these crops. It is important for the scientist to obtain information that is context-specific on what are considered to be cash crops (these may be traditional cash crops as defined nationally or regionally). The scientists may also have an option to define the cash crop for their study. A threshold may be set as, for example, for crop X, if y% is sold to the market, then it is considered a cash crop. For instance, Frelat et al. (2016) considered an arbitrary number of 90% of total production sold to classify that crop as a cash crop. These levels may be set in consultation with secondary data on area crop sales.
How to operationalize the metric
Method of data collection and data needed to compute the method:
The calculation of this metric requires data on the total cultivated land area and the land that is allocated to the production of cash crops. These data are usually collected in the agricultural survey sections on crops grown by plot and allocated area. In the standard LSMS-ISA surveys (World Bank, 2017) the following questions are asked of the farmer:
- Was the [crop] planted on this plot?
- Approximately what percentage of the plot was planted with [crop]?
Prior to these questions, these total household land areas were obtained either by visiting the plot and measuring it using a GPS unit or by asking for the farmer’s area estimate.
Unit of analysis:
The unit of analysis is the percentage of land allocated to cash crops. First the scientists should sum up the total area that was planted with all crops by the household in that season. Next, the scientist should sum up the area that was planted with only the cash crops. The researcher should note if any plots are intercropped and make adjustments accordingly. In the case of a monocrop on the plot, that calculation is straight forward-- divide the total area cultivated by the total area planted to cash crops.
Limitations regarding estimation and interpretation
The market orientation index works best when all the crops grown by the household are included in the estimation. Using a single crop may affect the interpretation of the output. For example, interventions in SSA have tended to focus on staple crops and, although such crops may be income -generating or cash crops for some households (especially the poorer ones), it may be difficult to examine the level of market orientation for this single crop. It is important to discuss with farmers or hold discussion groups to understand the importance of different crops as cash generators or food crops within a heterogeneous population.