Farmers on the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso in West Africa cultivate under precarious conditions. Rainfall variability is extremely high in this area and accounts for much of the uncertainty surrounding the farmers′ decision-making process. Strategies to cope with these risks are typically dynamic. Sequential decision making is one of the most important ways to cope with risk due to uncertain rainfall. In this paper, a stochastic programming model is presented to describe farmers′ sequential decisions in reaction to rainfall. The model describes farmers′ strategies of production, consumption, selling, purchasing, and storage from the start of the growing season until one year after the harvest period. This dynamic model better describes farmers′ strategies than do static models that are usually applied. This study draws important policy conclusions regarding reorientation of research programs and illustrates how operations research techniques can be usefully applied to study grass root problems in developing countries.
Maatman, M., Schweigman, C., Ruijs, A., & van der Vlerk, M. H. (2002). Modeling farmers' response to uncertain rainfall in Burkina Faso: a stochastic programming approach. Operations Research, 50(3), 399-414. https://doi.org/10.1287/opre.50.3.399.7749