What is a value chain? How to analyse market data or how to conduct an experiment in agricultural markets? These and many other questions were pondered in a training course offered by FoodAfrica WP6 team.

Analysis of agricultural markets is a timely topic. A well-conducted analysis can help stakeholders to make informed decisions.

“However, obtaining robust information on how, for instance, market shocks or interventions influence the value chain is challenging, and it usually entails collecting and analyzing data from the field or implementing an experiment in a well-designed setting”, explains research professor Jarkko Niemi from Luke.

FoodAfrica training in Ghana what is a value chain how to analyse market data agriculture agricultural markets by Jarkko Niemi Natural Resources institute Finland Luke.
30 people got together in Accra, Ghana to learn more about analysing agricultural markets. Photo: Jarkko Niemi.

Strengthening capacity

In January, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of University of Ghana, and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) organized a three-day capacity building workshop on methods for research in agricultural markets in Accra, Ghana. Approximately 30 active students representing different fields of social sciences and agriculture participated in the training.

The workshop was intended to provide an overview on different approaches that can be used in research focusing on agricultural markets. The first day of the training was devoted to agricultural value chain analysis and multimarket models. Dr. Nick Minot, senior research fellow at IFPRI, introduced the main concepts, tools, and data sources for value chain analysis. Price analysis and price volatility in agricultural commodity market in Africa were also investigated.

The second day of the workshop focused mainly on hands-on exercises with real data and statistical software. The students conducted exercises on how to manage survey data and how to conduct a basic analysis with these data. Questionnaire design and random sampling were also introduced to them.

The third day provided an overview of impact evaluation methods. Jarkko Niemi explained experimental methods, in particular randomized control trials, and their advantages and disadvantages. Alternatives to methods in impact evaluation, including non-experimental methods based on the analysis of data collected from the firms or from the markets and quasi-experimental methods, and the main assumptions behind them were also introduced.

The contents of the training were designed in collaboration with the local organizers, coordinated by Dr. Simon Bawakyillenuo, senior research fellow at ISSER. Based on feedback, the participants were overall satisfied with the training and found it very useful.