Multi-scale analysis of agricultural development: a modelling approach for Ilocos Norte, Philippines

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Decisions and policies that have implications on allocation of resources are made at different levels. Goals at different scales may be conflicting and decisions at one scale have consequences for those at other scales. Performing analyses at more than one scale is, therefore necessary in analysing future options for resource use. This paper illustrates the use of a multi-scale method enabling assessment of multi-purpose natural resource management options. Three examples of analyses that it allows are presented for Ilocos Norte province in the Philippines, at the farm household, municipal (Batac municipality) and provincial levels. Results show that: (1) Differences in resource endowments of farm households strongly affect the potential adoption rates of five well-defined alternative technologies. (2) Limited markets, inadequate infrastructure and resource endowments of farm households have large effects on resource use and goal achievement in the municipality. Not including these factors in a resource use analysis results in a so-called aggregation bias. As these are significant, ignoring them may result in misleading simulation results and policy conclusions. The aggregation bias resulting from assuming spatially fixed input and output prices is significant for Batac, which has poor farm-to-market roads. This suggests large potential benefits from improving infrastructure. The factors investigated suggest that aggregate income in the municipality is most strongly affected by the size of the market for some vegetables. (3) The differences in resource allocations resulting from prioritizing objectives at different levels reveal potential conflicts. The municipal income was highest with crops which pose more risk to farmers; our farm household analysis shows that farmers tend not to select too much of these crops. Similarly, the provincial income is highest when resources in the province are allocated such that more of the staple crop rice and less of the highly profitable cash crops are cultivated in Batac, resulting in lower income for the municipality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-873
JournalAgricultural Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • land-use analysis
  • cropping systems
  • costa-rica
  • policy
  • asia
  • instruments
  • framework
  • options
  • east
  • tool


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