Innovation in agriculture can bring substantial increases to the productivity of land, labor, capital, and other resources allocated to farming. The adoption of new technology, for example, can increase efficiency, productivity, and profitability of farming systems in a variety of ways. Examples include increasing yields through improved genetic potential or increased resistance to stresses, reducing crop growth cycles or labor needs, or by increasing water and nutrient use efficiencies or the amount of nutritious feed a forage crop or crop residue can provide. More broadly, we can think of these technology impacts as increasing output (holding inputs constant), reducing inputs (holding outputs constant), or enhancing some other valued trait (e.g., improved storability, cooking, processing or taste characteristics) whose impacts are reflected in differentiated quality and a higher consumer price. One key set of HarvestChoice products and services relates to evaluation of the potential consequences of the development, diffusion, and use of improved technologies (or production practices) across farms and regions as a consequence of on-going or planned investments. We undertake these “ex ante” technology evaluations drawing on a number of our core datasets and tools including our baseline crop geographies, our crop and livestock* productivity models, and our market level economic evaluation models (that cater for assessing the productivity and economic consequences of knowledge and technology spillover).
*livestock productivity assessments are undertaken in partnership with ILRI