Swisscontact Cocoa Program Leverages PPI Data via Online Application >


An interview with Manfred Borer, Swisscontact

Swisscontact is a business-oriented foundation for international development cooperation. Working in 34 countries with over 1,200 team members, we have been fostering economic, social, and environmental development since 1959. Mission: We promote economic, social, and environmental development by helping people integrate into local economic life. We make it possible for them to improve their living conditions through their own initiatives. Swisscontact acts as a catalyst in project implementation by fostering a sustainable environment for entrepreneurship and facilitating access to information, skills, and markets. Swisscontact provides practical, market-oriented, and locally adapted solutions to economic development challenges.

Swisscontact Indonesia’s Sustainable Cocoa Production Program (SCPP), initiated by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) Switzerland, is currently the largest Public Private Partnership development program of its kind in Indonesia, collaborating with twelve local and multinational cocoa and chocolate companies. The Program focuses on increasing farmer household income from cocoa by 75% and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the cocoa sector by 30%. The Program works in 57 districts in 11 provinces across the archipelago and aims to reach 165,000 cocoa farmers' households by 2020.

1. When did your organization start using the PPI, and why? What was the need you were hoping to address?

One of the SCPP goals is poverty reduction by helping people integrate into local economic life in the Indonesian cocoa sector. Since the start of the program in 2010, we measure the results of our work against internationally recognized standards and methods. Instead of using hundreds of expenditure questions to estimate poverty level, the PPI provides the most efficient way by using ten indicators of household characteristics. 

2. How does your organization use the PPI? To measure poverty outreach? To improve social performance (targeting or product/service design)? To track changes?

In terms of poverty targeting, we want to make sure that we work to empower the smallholder cocoa farm households who mostly live below the $2.50/day 2005 PPP poverty line. The PPI allows us to confirm whether we are reaching our target group. We also use the PPI for tracking changes in the poverty level of our beneficiaries. We targeted a 50% reduction of cocoa farmers living below the $1.25 poverty line and by 41% living below the $2.50 poverty line (from absolute 10% to 5% for the $1.25 poverty line and from 60% to 35% for the $2.50 poverty line). Currently, the evaluation method that we use is a simple before-and-after of targeted group comparison. This year, we started a Randomized Control Trial method in Aceh Utara district. We are hopeful that after four years of implementation, the results will provide for a more robust causal attribution. 

3. Does your organization collect PPI data directly from households, or do you get PPI data reported to you from partners/investees?

Our field staff directly collect PPI data from our beneficiaries (the cocoa farm households) on a regular basis. See more details below.

4. What did PPI data tell you that you didn’t already know? What actions has your organization taken as a result of what you've learned from the PPI data? For example, have you made changes to your product offerings, your client base, or your business model? Or chosen to invest or partner with organizations differently?

The official poverty data from the government statistical office only provides poverty information (according to the national standard) for agriculture in general, with no disaggregation of sectors and level of areas at the same time. Therefore, we collect the PPI data of cocoa sector farmers to get poverty data that is specific at the district level, and it is internationally comparable. This provides us with guidance in portraying the poverty situation where we are working in the cocoa sector, and combined with other information, becomes a reference for implementing activities. For example, the basic nutrition program, capacity building on financial literacy, and greater access to financial institutions are provided to support the poor smallholder cocoa farms in increasing their productivity.

Photo Credit: Swisscontact

5. Is the PPI helping you to achieve your goals? What impact do you think the PPI has had on your organization and/or its beneficiaries? How many people do you think have benefited from your organization’s use of the PPI?

Answers to specific PPI questions help us see what changed when a household’s PPI score increases or decreases. Some indicators are sensitive with increased income, while some others don’t change within a short time. Since the Program has been using PPI, we have seen an eight percentage point poverty reduction (below PPP$2.50). This translates to approximately 6,238 beneficiaries moving above the poverty line.

6. Describe the logistics of collecting and using the PPI at your organization. This could include what data collection platform you use, who does the data collection, whether data is collected via sample or census, how many households you collect PPI data on, whether data collection is integrated into operations, how frequently data is collected, who does the data analysis, and whether the PPI is used as part of a broader monitoring and evaluation strategy.

The Program launched (CT), an online application developed by PT Koltiva, to observe and integrate farm and project management systems in order to populate dashboards which allow for farmer identification, producer profiles, farm mapping, and full product traceability in a real-time manner. We use Android tablets equipped with the CT application for PPI data collection conducted by our field staff. The baseline data is collected from all farmers in a census before individual trainings begin. At present, we have collected PPI data of 56,238 farm households. After each farmer has been in the program for two years, they are revisited for the post-line survey. So far, we have carried out 14,722 post-line surveys. The CT application automatically measures the final scoring and average poverty levels which are then analyzed by the Monitoring and Result Measurement (MRM) team. 

7. Describe the data analysis you conduct on PPI results and, if applicable, how you aggregate data from multiple investees/partners. Do you offer technical or other support to investees/partners on their use of PPI?

CocoaTrace calculates the PPI scores and poverty likelihoods directly and provides charts and results in the dashboard. The raw data of PPI scores can be exported to Excel for further analysis. In the latest SCPP annual management report, we used the PPI data not only to estimate the poverty level but also to analyze other dimensions of poverty by looking at the status of deprivation in education, housing quality, and key assets ownership that come from the individual PPI questions. We have found, for example, that the cocoa farmers supported by SCPP are especially deprived in three aspects: child and female education, toilet facilities, and cooking fuel.

8. Has the way your organization has used the PPI evolved, or does your organization have plans for it to evolve in future? If so, why and how?

We have integrated the PPI as part of an online application, (CT), which allows us to have a more progressive measurement in a professional and responsible manner.