Conceptual framework

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The MonQI concept

The MonQI core methodology, systematic monitoring and analysis of agricultural (resource-based) livelihoods or enterprises, uses a theoretical framework that strongly guides its setup and application. This framework uses a model approach whereby each household/enterprise under study is divided into units, activities and flows. 

Units: Are static entities and include:Agricultural Enterprise (unit as part of a village)Land Unit (part of the Agricultural Enterprise)
Activities: Are always part of a parent unitAre dynamic, their management expressed in flowsAre sources and destinations of flows
Flows: Represent management processes by means of inputs and outputs.Are described as a quantity of product from a certain source into a certain activity at a given time with a given value.Can then be expressed in terms of product, amount, money, nutrients, energy, etc.

The following units and activities are distinguished:

AEAgricultural Enterprise (Farm, Household)Main unit of analysis, depending on the project settings this is referred to as Agricultural Enterprise, Farm or ‘Household’.This unit ‘contains’ the other units/activities except for EXT.
HAHuman ActivityHousehold: the combination of household members.(do not confuse this household –the group of people- with the AE/Household that represents the household plus its activities)
HHMHousehold memberIndividual household member
SAStorage ActivityFood and feed stocks
LULand UnitPiece of land (field) with homogeneous physical and ownership characteristics
LALand use ActivityCrop or land use activity located within a single LU and with a limited lifespan. (e.g. one crop in one field for one season)
AAAnimal ActivityGroup of animals of same species managed by farmer as one group.
RARedistribution ActivityActivity, other than the above, where nutrient flows accumulate and from which they are redistributed: stables, manure heaps and compost heaps. Also included fish ponds and salt pans.
OAOther ActivityActivities like fishing, hunting, gathering, processing and others that are managed by the household and not necessarily bound to on-farm land. These activities are monitored in detail and can be both agricultural and non-agricultural.
EXTExternalAny source/destination outside the AE. Can be used to distinguish different markets.

The information that is being gathered can be divided into two parts, Inventory and Monitoring. The Inventory describes the AE in terms of the above mentioned units/activities and their characteristics while the monitoring part describes the dynamic management of these units in terms of input and output flows. 

Below is a (non-exhaustive) overview of the information gathered by MonQI at the different unit/activity levels during both inventory and monitoring. 

NameInput information
AE: Agricultural Enterprise– location (district, villages)- information about interview sessions
HA: HouseholdAssets owned by household, per month- housing and buildings, tools and transport, household and luxury goods- sales, purchases, borrowing and lending, giftsLoans and savings- loans (amount, source, purpose, payback period, amounts paid back per month)- savings (whether present)Services- services obtained (land rent paid)- services provided (off-farm labor, land rent received)
HHM: Household memberInventory of household members- name, sex, age, relation to household head- occupation and education- presence in household per month- agricultural labor per month
SA: Storage ActivityInventory of stocks (Food and feed stock by default)- inputs of (staple) food into stock from own production, purchases and gifts- outputs of food from stock for sales and gifts.
LU: Land UnitInventory of land in use by AE- ownership- land type and soil type- area per month- sales, purchases, borrowing and lending of land
LA: Land use ActivityInventory of cropping activities- crops planted- area and relation to LU- timing and duration of activity in time- inputs used for cropping (seed, fertilizer, manure, pesticides, hired labor, others)- outputs harvested from crop activities (crop products and residues)
AA: Animal ActivityInventory of animal activities- animal type- ownership- number of animals per month- sales, purchases, gifts, losses and births
RA: Redistribution ActivityInventory of redistribution activities- type of activity (stables, fish ponds, manure/compost heaps)- area and relation to LU- inputs into RAs (manure, crop residues, aquaculture inputs, hired labor, others)- outputs from RAs (manure, compost, outputs from aquaculture and salt pans)
OA: Other ActivityInventory of ‘other’ activities (processing, fishing, hunting, gathering)- inputs used for those activities- outputs produced
EXT: External* No information is gathered for EXT. this unit serves only as source and destination for inputs/outputs for activities listed above *

Users can add (unlimited) questions to each of the unit/activity levels in addition to the information gathered by MonQI by default. This information is stored in the database and exported with the other results.

MonQI output will reproduce all input data in structured tables. In addition the following values will be calculated for each of the units/activities (non-exhaustive list).

NameOutput information
AE: Agricultural Enterprise– total income (per month) per sector (crops, livestock, processing, off-farm).- total net cash flow (per month) per sector (crops, livestock, processing, off-farm).- capital costs- cultivated area- nutrient balance per AE- returns to labor and land
HA: Household– asset value per month- total labor per month
HHM: Household member– labor per member per month- off-farm income per member per month
SA: Storage Activity– income per storage activity- food availability in stock per month (planned)
LU: Land Unit– nutrient balance per land unit
LA: Land use Activity– income and cash flow per activity (per type of input/output)- nutrient balance per activity- yield of crop products and residues
AA: Animal Activity– number of animals and Tropical Livestock Units per month- income and cash flow per activity (per type of input/output)
RA: Redistribution Activity– income and cash flow per activity (per type of input/output)- nutrient balance per activity
OA: Other Activity– income and cash flow per activity (per type of input/output)

All output data are presented in structured (database) tables that allow for further processing and reporting in third party software.