structural changes in
informing policy dialogue

Methodological framework

What will be like the structures of agriculture for the next generation of farmers, and to what degree will they meet the multiple expectations of society in terms of sustainable development, notably to achieve food security, economic growth and its equitable share, poverty reduction, employment generation, environmental sustainability?

Some  dynamics of observatory are trying to answer this gap, and are interested in international partnering to further facilitate comparable exchanges, capitalization and capacity development. These dynamics of stakeholders are central for the WAW Initiative, and led to an International Stakeholders Consultation held in April 2012 in Rome, gathering scientists, agricultural specialists, and representatives of civil society, as well as international institutions such as FAO, IFAD, IFPRI and CIRAD.

This Workshop confirmed WAW’s rationale, and  developed a common vision on a methodological framework enabling to understand and compare the structural agrarian transformations at stake. Such common framework, elaborated collaboratively with partners, builds on the sustainable livelihood framework and ‘capital assets’ as the analytical framework which allows a structured, comprehensive understanding of transformation, including driving forces and impacts.

Ultimately, this Workshop recommended WAW to start implementation based on a modular and phased work plan, later translated into WAW overall Global Framework for Action.

This figure illustrates this methodological framework, which was debated and endorsed during the April 2012 Workshop.


WAW has adapted the sustainable livelihoods framework (DFID, 2003) for its analyses. The figure shows that, within a specific territory, in response to drivers and pressures, different types of holdings employ different strategies to manage the five key capital assets (natural, physical, financial, human, social) - through appropriate tradeoffs – in order to achieve desirable livelihood outcomes. The strategies adopted also depend upon the institutions, organizations and social relations within the territory, including how stakeholders are organized within different value chains. The framework thus allows a comprehensive, systemic, cross-sectoral approach to identifying core indicators that are determinant in agricultural transformations. It offers a structured approach for a better understanding of transformation, driving forces and impacts, as well as a guide for appropriate indicator selection and subsequent data collection, both at territorial and holding level.

A core set of indicators are developed to assess structural transformations, key drivers and challenges. To characterize agricultural holdings, a typology is being developed, with different types of “agricultural holdings” (see: Towards an International Typology of Agricultural Holdings). These different types are then characterized based on a common core set of indicators selected to facilitate analyses and comparisons of transformation processes in different places.

This international typology will lead to the production of a tool box, based on the described methodology, facilitating the production of detailed analysis and aggregation of information at holding level, providing figures and tables, spider gram, on the different assets and performance of different holdings.

Last updated on October 7th, 2015