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Scaling up the use of TAPI software for agricultural statistics

Since 2012, the Global Strategy has been working closely with the World Bank Computational Tools team investing resources in the development of Survey Solutions (SuSo) Tablet Assisted Personal Interview (TAPI) software. As the software is now fully functional, tested, and working efficiently, the Global Strategy is using it as to test cost-effective methodologies. By the end of the year, the Global Strategy will have implemented pilot surveys in Jamaica, Rwanda, and Indonesia, testing methods for measuring crop area, yield and production under mixed and continuous cropping in collaboration with the National Statistical Offices in each country. This will be the first time SuSo has been used in the three countries, and it will serve as a pilot for wider scale adoption of TAPI within the countries. Other lines of research are also looking into the use of TAPI, and will likely follow this example.

Furthermore, the Global Strategy has begun developing a methodological toolkit for the Agricultural and Rural Integrated Survey (AGRIS) project, which will provide direct technical assistance to countries in carrying out agricultural surveys. The AGRIS toolkit will contain resources for developing countries’ governments to start conducting agricultural sample surveys. The survey instrument will be programmed accordingly using SuSo and the toolkit will contain training material on questionnaire design, and survey, tablet, and data management.  

Michael Rahija, Research Officer, Global Strategy


Using cost-effective TAPI tools for evidence-based policy reforms in Tanzania

During July-August 2015, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (MLFD) of Tanzania, in collaboration with the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), carried out a baseline survey for a field pilot – namely a Randomized Control Trial – to test ways of improving the delivery of veterinary services to rural farmers in the country. In order to improve data collection, the Global Strategy provided training and built capacity on Survey Solutions (SuSo) Tablet Assisted Personal Interview (TAPI) and developed field monitoring tools. 

With only 6 teams of a total of 17 enumerators, 478 livestock extension officers were interviewed over 16 days. The results are currently being tabulated and used in the design of the field pilot.

The main lessons for using TAPI were the following: 

  • Connectivity issues in the field can be mitigated by using two SIM cards;
  • Time from data collection to tabulating results using TAPI is much shorter than with paper questionnaires;
  • Survey Solutions (SuSo) TAPI software can be easily used by people without any programming skills;
  • Data management tools and paradata helped monitor data collection and optimize logistics.
After having successfully employed TAPI during the baseline survey, the MLFD, in collaboration with FAO and LSE, will use TAPI during the field pilot as well. The Global Strategy also liaised with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) for the implementation of TAPI: NBS and MoA are indeed considering a wider adoption of TAPI and the baseline survey with MoFL was seen as a pilot of SuSo. In particular, NBS reported that they would be greatly interested in implementing TAPI for the next annual agricultural survey and census.

Michael Rahija, Research Officer, Global Strategy
Ugo Pica-Ciamarra, Livestock Economist, Animal Production and Health Division (AGA), FAO


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We would like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to Mr Flavio Bolliger, who joined the Global Office as Research Coordinator of the Global Strategy in August.

Flavio is a Brazilian national, he holds a degree in Agronomic Engineering, a PhD in Economics and has over ten years of experience in agricultural statistics and socio-economic statistics. He previously worked as Coordinator of Agriculture in the Department of Surveys of the National Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE).

He will be responsible for leading methodological research activities aimed at developing new cost-effective methods to be adopted by countries to improve agricultural and rural statistics.

With kind regards,
The Global Office Team

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