Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Jawoo Koo (IFPRI), Geospatial Database Tools

At the 2014 Scaling Up Adoption and Use of Agricultural Technologies GLEE in Bangkok, Thailand, participants got a chance to attend an innovative session that focused on "Decision-Making to Define and Select Effective Pathways." The session was organized using a "bus stop" approach, which was designed to be lively and interactive, and provided maximum space for discussions and networking. Below is a recorded bus stop and a set of questions and answers from the presenter.

What decision does the tool or filter support in designing a scaling-up pathway?

Where to target the technologies

What is the tool or filter and briefly, how does it work?

HarvestChoice’s grid-based, geospatial database includes 300+ layers of agro-ecological, farming systems, and socio-economic information at 10 km resolution. Users of the tool can filter out areas that do not meet the conditions/requirements that the technology requires.

What are the strengths and weaknesses, and tradeoffs in using this tool?

Users can quickly visualize (on the map and charts) the changing geography of where the technology has the potential of adoption and potential performance by adjusting filters of individual layers. The results can inform the decision making process by providing geographical information. However, the tool is as useful as the quality and validity of the input data layers; it’d be still necessary for the results to be evaluated by experts knowledgeable on local conditions.

What does this tool or filter tell you about the potential for scaling up or setting targets?

By filtering out areas where the required conditions for the technologies do not meet, the tool will help selecting geographic areas where the potential of achieving targets is higher than others. Additionally, this tool can help assessing how much cropland areas (and population) the conditions meet thus the technologies can potentially reach.

What is the approximate cost and time needed to use this tool or filter?

The tool is freely available, being developed by HarvestChoice team at IFPRI, in close collaboration with the Partnership team at AGRA, with the grant provided by USAID. Prototypes can be developed quickly (2-3 days) using already available layers (the list of layers can be browsed at the HarvestChoice website at http://harvestchoice.org/products/data). If other types of data layers to be included, some additional time for processing is needed before making the tools updated with the new information.

What can the tool filter indicate about the sustainability of adoption or the likelihood of sustained long-term use of the technology?

The tool itself does not indicate about the sustainability of adoption, yet the likelihood of sustained adoption may be assessed as high in the areas where the technology’s requirements are all well within the required ranges.

Please also provide some basic information about examples of where the tool has been used to design scaling-up.

The prototype of tools were presented at the Scaling Technology Workshops organized by AGRA’s Partnership initiative in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Malawi in 2013. This tool is a customized version of the Mappr tool, an online mapping application available in HarvestChoice’s website (http://harvestchoice.org/mappr) and used by more than 3,000 visitors since its launch in 2012.


Jawoo Koo (J.Koo@cgiar.org) is a Research Fellow at International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), working as a crop systems modeler at IFPRI’s Environment and Production Technology Division. Jawoo leads biophysical modeling research and spatial analysis activities of the Harvest Choice project (harvestchoice.org), which generates knowledge products for agricultural research and development partners and donor community to make better informed strategic decisions in Sub-Saharan Africa.