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Citation Information

Type Conference Paper - International Conference of Agricultural Economists, Milan Italy 2015
Title Welcome To Fantasyland: Comparing Approaches To Land Area Measurement In Household Surveys
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/211849/2/Kilic-Expanding the Toolkit of Agricultural​Economists-843.pdf
In rural societies land is a major measure of wealth, a critical input in agricultural production,
and a key variable for assessing agricultural performance and productivity. In the absence of
cadastral information to refer to, measures of land plots have historically been taken with one of
two approaches: traversing (very precise, but cumbersome), and farmers’ self-report (cheap, but
marred by large, systematic measurement error). Recently, the advent of cheap handheld GPS
devices has held promise of balancing cost and precision. There are, however, concerns about
how GPS measures may perform on certain types of plots, or under given measurement
Using purposely collected data from methodological validation studies conducted in Ethiopia,
Nigeria, and Tanzania, this paper analyses the use of farmer self-reported area estimation
against the primary objective measurement alternatives. Guided by analytical results, and with
consideration for practical household survey implementation, the paper assesses the nature and
magnitude of measurement error under different methods and proposes a set of
recommendations for plot area measurement. Results largely point to the support of GPS
measurement, with simultaneous collection of farmer self-reported areas.

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