Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) Database

Policymakers increasingly recognize greater investment in agricultural research as an essential element in raising agricultural productivity. Data on the size and scope of research capacity and investments, as well as on the changing institutional structure and functioning of agricultural research agencies, enhance our understanding of how agricultural research agencies, enhance our understanding of how agricultural research promotes agricultural growth. Indicators derived from such information allow the performance, inputs, and outcomes of agricultural research systems to be measured, monitored, and benchmarked. IFPRI’s Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative is one of the few sources of statistics and other information on agricultural research in low and middle-income countries. ASTI provides comprehensive quantitative and qualitative information on and analyses of investment, capacity, and institutional trends in agricultural research. ASTI data and analyses help research managers a
nd policymakers improve policy formulation and decision making at the national regional, and international levels. All outputs are availabale on the ASTI website (

Agricultural Total Factor Productivity (TFP), 2000-2016

Increasing the efficiency of agricultural production—getting more output from the same amount of resources—is critical for improving food security. To measure the efficiency of agricultural systems, we use total factor productivity (TFP). TFP is an indicator of how efficiently agricultural land, labor, capital, and materials (agricultural inputs) are used to produce a country’s crops and livestock (agricultural output)—it is calculated as the ratio of total agricultural output to total production inputs. When more output is produced from a constant amount of resources, meaning that resources are being used more efficiently, TFP increases. Measures of land and labor productivity—partial factor productivity (PFP) measures—are calculated as the ratio of total output to total agricultural area (land productivity) and to the number of economically active persons in agriculture (labor productivity). Because PFP measures are easy to estimate, they are often used to measure agricultural production performance. These measures normally show higher rates of growth than TFP, because growth in land and labor productivity can result not only from increases in TFP but also from a more intensive use of other inputs (such as fertilizer or machinery). Indicators of both TFP and PFP contribute to the understanding of agricultural systems needed for policy and investment decisions by allowing for comparisons across time and across countries and regions.

The data include estimates of TFP and land and labor productivity measures for developing countries and regions for three-sub-periods between 2000 and 2016. These use the most recent data on outputs and inputs from the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture (ERS-USDA), an internationally consistent and comparable dataset on production and input quantities built using data from the FAOSTAT database of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), supplemented with data from national statistical sources (for more on data and methodology).

Worldwide Extension Study

The “Worldwide Extension Study” effort was undertaken by the International Food Policy Research Institute, funded by the United States Agency for International Development and in collaboration with the University of Illinois, FAO, the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services, and regional organizations including Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development.

The objectives of the GFRAS study were to assess and provide empirical data on the current status of pluralistic extension systems worldwide for use in planning future efforts to modernize and strengthen these rural extensions and advisory services. The study focused on collecting useful empirical data on the human and financial resources of agricultural extension and advisory systems worldwide, as well as other important data and information, including:

  1. the primary extension service providers in each country (e.g. public, private and/or non-governmental organizations);
  2. which types and groups of farmers were the primary target groups (e.g. large, medium, and/or small-scale farmers, including rural women) for each extension organization;
  3. how each organization’s resources were allocated to key extension and advisory service functions;
  4. each organization’s information and communication technology resources and capacity; and
  5. what role, if any, different categories of farmers played in setting extension’s priorities and/or assessing performance.

Farm system characterization of two municipalities in the Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape

The purpose of this survey was to characterize family farming systems in the Nicaragua north central region. Household survey was carried on in 90 farms from El-Tuma La Dalia and Waslala. Five most dominant land types were studied for each farm system: cacao plantations, coffee plantations, basic grains, pastures, and patios was collected. The following information was collected based on structured interview to the household head or farm manager:

a) General information of the property: location of the farm, long owning property, land uses, number of farms, cooperatives or links to projects related to agricultural activity.
b) Household composition: household members, age, sex, education, outside farm economic activities.
c) Food security: food origin, difficulty to feed the family long one calendar year, and cost of food over the last year (product, quantity, price and period).
d) General characteristics of the farm: farm diversification, type of productive systems, type of crop, area, livestock.
e) General characteristics of land use: area, previous use, years of managing the use, planting distance, seeded varieties.
f) Productivity: crop yields and animal production, maximum historical production, minimal production and normal (most common).
g) Livestock and crop management: cropping activities and periodicity, type and quantity of inputs (fertilizers, man labor, etc.)
h) Agroecological practices: associations, rotations, etc., soil and water practices conservation.
i) Farm income and marketing products.

Teak agroforestry systems for livelihood enhancement, industrial timber production, and environmental rehabilitation

Teak is produced in industrial plantations in more than 43 countries. National and international demand for teak timber exceeds the sustainable yield from natural forests and plantations. High demand creates opportunities for enterprising farmers. Teak is now grown in smallholder’ agroforestry systems in many tropical countries. These systems enable farmers to diversify production, reduce farm risk, contribute to food security, and generate much-needed income. They also meet commercial needs for timber and improve environmental conditions. This paper reports the contributions of teak systems to smallholders livelihoods in Indonesia, where farmers have been producing teak for over 50 years. Indonesian farmers cultivate teak as one component in integrated multispecies agroforestry systems. Annual cropping is an important aspect of these systems, producing commodities for both household consumption and market sale. Besides supplying food for households, smallholder teak systems provide 40% of household income from agricultural and timber crops. Teak and other tree crops allow households to re-allocate labor to off-farm employment when those opportunities are lucrative. However, farmers suffer from limited resources, labor, and access to information, which constrain the productivity of their teak sys
tems. Specific recommendations are provided regarding how smallholders can adopt improved silvicultural and marketing management. Roles for government, support agencies, and industry that would provide benefits to all parties are outlined. Policy changes that would motivate smallholders to improve the management of their teak systems are identified. Conclusions and recommendations are applicable to smallholder teak systems across the tropics.