- Non-availability of the specific person in the household in charge of certain productive activities at the time of the single point survey.
- Non-measurement or usage of non-standard measurement units.
- Social desirability bias, especially in answering questions about wages, fertilizer use etc.
- Lack of information that can be used to cross check self-reported data
- Following multiple schedules and practices such as intercropping and sharecropping, make it difficult for farmers to single out the inputs and productive expenditures that go into the cultivation of that particular crop unit in question.
- Questionnaires in most studies are administered at one point in time and test recall of expenses or usage over the entirety of the last completed season (which could entail a large recall period of over four months, depending on the crop schedule and the lag at which the survey is conducted).
- Most small-scale farmers do not meticulously track their expenses and usage and are more prone to being spontaneous spenders and users.
- Due to the highly specialized nature of agricultural practices, inadequate training of survey staff on the various aspects of cultivation and common terminology causes them to overlook presence of unreported or wrongly reported data.
|An LSMS survey being conducted (Photocredit: World Bank)|
Traditional pen and paper diaries are also the most natural way of recording information among those unfamiliar with technology or residing in areas where use of technology is infeasible. For our study, we have decided to explore the potential of using harvest diaries to record the quantity and value of inputs employed by paddy farmers in our study areas in rural Tamilnadu during the ongoing paddy season, locally known as “samba”. Over the next two posts, this series will share our experience in designing a diary based follow up and the lessons we have learnt thus far.