More than practically every other major livelihood, farming is highly conditioned by its biophysical context. This is particularly so for poor smallholders who have insufficient income and resources to ameliorate production constraints and increase farm productivity. HarvestChoice utilizes four core groups of biophysical data in its characterization and analysis of production conditions: weather and climate, soils, land cover and use, and agroecological zones.
- Weather and Climate. We compile and utilize daily and monthly data on rainfall, temperature, radiation, humidity and windspeed to help assess broad crop suitability, potential pest and disease prevalence, and location-specific yield estimates.
- Soils. HarvestChoice uses several sources of soil data in a number of ways: simple categories of soil types, indicators of soil fertility, and mapping unit or point-based soil indicators at multiple depths.
- Agroecological Zones. Agroecological zones provide consolidated information on climate, temperature and humidity, and serve as a useful tool for assessing the use of land and its resources. For HarvestChoice we are able to report production, population, extent of cultivation, market access, and other measured variables across natural environs as opposed to reporting solely based on country boundaries.
- Land Cover. We use land cover data to identify where agricultural activity, and specifically crop cultivation, is taking place. We use several satellite based land cover datasets to identify the area extent and intensity of cropland.