PET- Crops Assessor's Course Print E-mail


Pictorial Evalution Tools - Crops Assessor's Course




Since the 1970s, public awareness of the vulnerability of nations to food deficits has risen markedly. There is now a general understanding that food deficit is not merely a result of production failure , but is condition brought about by a series of interacting events when lowered production collides with a series of natural disasters or inappropriate policies exacerbated by poverty,conflict, political/social unrest and/or international manipulation of grain prices, the latter condition is particularly important for landlocked countries in structural cereal deficit.

An accurate, early understanding domestic levels of crop production is now recognised as an essential first step in determining Government and Agency food security strategies.

This course is for assessors who wish to use the Pictorial Evaluation Tool (PET- Crops) to best advantage to improve crop-yield assessing and rationalise their approach to rapid assessment missions, leading to improved accuracy and understanding at all levels.


Course Objectives


By the end of the course, all participants should be able to:

  • Explain that PET is not just a manual but is an approach to assessing yields.
  • Use PET- Crops with confidence to improve assessments of crop yields at harvest time.
  • Explain how PET- Crops may be incorporated into crop and food supply assessments.
  • Explain how crop and food supply assessment missions contribute to food security.,/span>
  • Describe the limitations of the PET approach.
  • Show others how to use PET.




The PET-Crops Course is designed to give trainees practical instruction and field experience in assessing yields using PET- Crops.

Those trainees demonstrating confident use of the PET approach during the course; and being able to answer a series of related questions, at the end of the course, to the satisfaction of the instructors, will be issued with a PET- Crops Assessor's Certificate.

The course is divided into five modules delivered over a period of 5 days.

Day 1


Module 1 - Introduction to the course.

Module 2 - Introduction to food security and crop and food supply assessment.

Module 3 - Introduction to PET- Crops  -  structure and content.

Day 2

Module 4 - PET- Crops  -  application.

Practical - Field assessing - transects, assessing fields, cross-check sampling, sample handling, drying to constant weight, recording, field calculations.

Day 3

Practical - Field assessing - transects, assessing fields, cross-check sampling, sample handling, drying to constant weight, recording, field calculations.

Day 4

Practical - Field assessing - transects, assessing fields, cross-check sampling, sample handling, drying to constant weight, recording, field calculations.

Day 5

Module 5 - Conclusions, reviews of performance, issuing certificates.

Module 1. Introduction to Course


  The goal of the first module is to provide an overview of the course and introduce the participants and the trainers.

By the end of this module trainees should be able to:-

  • Demonstrate a good understanding of the purpose.
  • Describe the structure of the course.
  • Explain the value of practical exercises.
  • Discuss the expectations of other participants and trainers.


1.1 Introdution of Trainers and Participants.  The trainers introduce themselves and describe their qualifications. Participants introduce themselves in plenary session, giving their organization, position and experience.

1.2 Discussion of Participant Expectations. Each partcipant describes briefly his or her expectations for the course without going into detail  i.e. What do I want to learn from this training?

1.3 Overview of CourseAn overview of the objectives of the course, the course structure and the topics to be covered. Core concepts to be discussed during the training. The purpose of the practical elements. Code of practice during the course.

1.4 Quiz 1Completion of initial short questionnaire on national crops, assessing, and field-assessors' functional numeracy.


Module 2. Introduction to food security and crop and food assessing


The goal of the second module is to review the basic concepts and terminology with regard to food security and to crop and food supply assessments.

By the end of this module trainees should be able to:-

  • Define food security as the household's ability to secure access at all times to sufficient food for a healthy life without jeopardising future supply.
  • Explain the value of rapid assessments to policy implementers is connected to the "rapidity"element- concept of optimum levels of accuracy (OLA).
  • Describe the constitution of crop and food supply assessments.
  • Explain the contribution of production, access and availability to prevailing conditiond of food security.
  • Define production of staples as a function of area multiplied by yield.
  • Identify sources of information for both area and yield.
  • Explain the need for independent assessments of yield.


2.1 Food security  definitions and meaning- establishment and maintenance of an enabling environment to improve production, availability and access to adequate levels of food that constitute a balanced diet for all members of all households, without prejudicing food for future generations.  -  Each participant describes briefly his or her understanding- giving examples including the related concepts of access, sufficiency, security and sustainability.

2.2 Support strategies at national, state, district and household level.

2.3 Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions.  CFSAMs purpose and history. Cereal balances, domestic availability and domestic requirement of the main staples - cereals. Availability described in terms of production and stocks, requirements in terms of losses, seed needs and food and animal feed requirements; role of access- in terms of availability of quantities in markets and current market prices.

The national cereal balance viewed in the context of the economic state of the nation, its fiscal policies, and the overall socio-welfare situation of urban and rural communities in order to determine the levels of access to food and the need for food aid. Where a joint mission with WFP is undertaken, food aid is taken forward to programme level with WFP identifying interventions, beneficiaries and support mechanisms.

2.4 Implementation- appropriate skills and instruments to conduct agricultural and livestock related assessments, level of rigour, credibility and acceptability of findings. Timing of field work, writing and reporting.


Module 3. PET- Crops; Structure and Content


The goal of the third module is to review the basic concepts and terminology with regard to food security and to crop and food supply assessments.

By the end of this module trainees should be able to:-

  • Describe the purpose of PET and its application in the context of assessments, baseline and endline surveys of projects.
  • Explain that PET is an objective approach, which begins with no assumptions.
  • Explain that PET is a measure providing a range of photo-indicators of 9 estimated values for most crops from which the assessor may select the closest fit, not a prescriptive catalogue.


3.1 PET structureOverview of the rubric and photo-indicators.

3.2 PET contentExplanation of each of the seven steps. Explanation of the photo-indicators. Explanation of the annexes.


Module 4. PET- Crops; Its application and use


The goal of the fourth module is to prepare the trainees to use the PET approach and to use PET manuals properly in the practical repetitions that should take several days of field work.

By the end of this module trainees should be able to:-

  • Describe the seven steps of application.
  • Choose the steps to follow to suit the field and the circumstances.
  • Explain each of the 9 photo-indicators, plus "inbetween" values.
  • Describe the purpose of walking and vehicle transects.
  • Describe the purpose of cross-check sampling.
  • Use PET quadrats and balances.
  • Choose materials for mission.
  • Weigh to a constant weight.


4.1 PET- Crops. Detailed review of each step; practise use of tools, sampling- labelling, weighing, recording.

4.2 PET- Crops. Field work and repetitions; establishing daily and evening routines.

4.3 PET- Crops. Site selection; sampling, sample temporary storage, threshing/shelling, drying., weighing to constant weight.

4.4 PET- Crops. Calculating yields for homogenous and heterogeneous fields.


Module 5. Conclusion: PET- Review results obtained and review performance of trainees.


The goal of the fifth module is to review the performance of the trainees and identify lessons learnt from using PET- Crops over the 4 day period.

By the end of this module trainees should be able to:-

  • Use PET- Crops to good effect.
  • Explain how the PET approach differs from current assessment methods.
  • Describe the limitations of the PET system.
  • Satisfactorily complete a simple test exhibiting assessing competence.


5.1 Presentations - Transects. Each trainee reports on their process and presents their transects and associated findings.

5.2 Presentations - Samples. Each trainee presents their process, the samples, the weighings and associated calculations.

5.3 Presentations - Each trainee presents their yield estimates at field, and block level.

5.4 Quiz 2 - each individual trainee answers a short series of questions relating to assessing.


Presentation of Certificates





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