Agriculture Sector Analysis and Simulation Projects – An Overview. [1966 – 1979]

Co-Principal Investigators:

Project end date: December 31, 1979

Project Name:           Agriculture Sector Analysis and Simulation Projects – Overview.
Donor:                        USAID Washington and Country Missions
Contract No:              AID/csd-1557, AID/csd-2975, AID/ead-184, AID/ta-C-1322, and others
Account No:               Unknown
Location:                    MSU Campus, Colombia, Nigeria, and Korea
Duration:                    1966 -1979
Budget:                       > $3,000,000 over all projects

Key MSU Faculty and Graduate Students: Michael H. Abkin, Marcus R. Buchner, Derek R. Byerlee, Tom W. Carroll,  Kuong-Yuan Chong, David W. Culver, Hartwig de Haen, Stanley W. Driskell,  Richard D. Duvick, Forrest J. Gibson, Albert N. Halter, Martin E. Hanratty, Marvin L. Hayenga, Gary R. Ingvaldson, Glenn L. Johnson, Francis C. Jones, Earl D. Kellogg, Herbert C. Kriesel, Thomas J. Manetsch, Fred A. Mangum, Jr., Keith Olsen, Gloria Page, Dennis Pervis, Bert M. Pulaski, George E. Rossmiller, Lloyd D. Teigen, Alan R. Thodey, Mark Turnquist, James Williams,  Claudia S. Winer, and Chris Wolf.

Documents:               (Click here to view)

Project Goals:           To conducted research and training in the general system simulation approach (GSSA) in order to provide analyses for agricultural development/public decision-making.       

Project Plans/Objectives:  Four basic lines of activity were called for and carried out under these various contracts:

  • Disciplinary and methodological research and development to support model building and utilization;
  • Design and implementation of a training program in GSSA and agricultural policy analysis for  participants from developing countries;
  • Design and implementation of a software library of generalized simulation models, components, and routines; and
  • Application of the approach in one or more developing countries, including model development, model utilization for policy analysis, and training of local counterparts—all with a view towards institutionalization of GSSA within the host country’s agricultural policy and planning apparatus.

Cooperating Institutions: Counterpart organizations in Colombia, Nigeria and Korea. See project summaries for these activities.         

Project Summary: (The discussion  below is taken from the Final Report of the Korean Simulation Model Advisory Service, by Michael Abkin, December 1977)

Over the ten-year period 1966-1976 MSU has, under a succession of contracts with the Agency for International Development (AID), conducted research and training in the general system simulation approach (GSSA) to provide analyses for agricultural development/public decision-making.  At MSU the studies have been called the Agricultural Sector Analysis and Simulation Projects (ASASP).  (Click here to view an illustration of the relationship and time-lines of the various projects discussed below.)

Under the first contract (AID/csd-1557—Agricultural Sector Simulation Research), the ASASP was charged with developing the GSSA methodology and investigating the feasibility of applying the approach within the agricultural decision-making process of developing countries. Because of prior MSU experience with agricultural sector analysis in Nigeria (AID/afr-264 -Consortium for the Study of Nigerian Rural Development),  that country was chosen as a case study for simulation modeling.  Since the contract did not call for actual application of the approach in Nigeria, the participation of Nigerian decision makers and analysts in the modeling process was minimal.  Nevertheless, the model and its results were used by Nigerians in their preparation of a long-run perspective plan for Nigerian agricultural development.

Based on the project’s conclusions that GSSA was a feasible approach for agricultural development policy and planning analysis and that simulation models and components were generalizable for application in different countries and contexts, ASASP undertook a second contract with AID in 1971 (AID/csd-2975 - Korean Agricultural Sector Study (KASS) - Adapting and Testing of Agricultural Simulation Models to Sector Analysis).  Four basic lines of activity were called for and carried out under this contract: 1) disciplinary and methodological research and development to support model building and utilization; 2) design and implementation of a training program in GSSA and agricultural policy analysis for  participants from developing countries; 3) design and implementation of a software library of generalized simulation models, components, and routines; and 4) application of the approach in one or more developing countries, including model development, model utilization for policy analysis, and training of local counterparts—all with a view towards institutionalization of GSSA within the host country’s agricultural policy and planning apparatus.

Also in 1971, at the request of the Korean government and the AID mission in the Republic of Korea, ASASP at MSU entered into another contract (AID/ead-184 - Korean Agricultural Sector Simulation Model) for a one-year project to perform an agricultural sector analysis and an investment priorities study.  Recognizing the complementarities of the two projects, ASASP undertook its Contract 2975 field activities in Korea, which came to be known as KASS - The Korean Agricultural Sector Study.  Indeed, those complementarities, primarily the use of the preliminary simulation model developed during that first year under Contract 2975, enabled completion of the sector analysis within the prescribed time limit under Contract 184.

Pleased with these results, the Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) requested continuation of the model development field activities of Contract 2975 and committed Korean manpower both to the project’s on-campus training program and to local project involvement.  The project’s counterpart institution in Korea was the National Agricultural Economics Research Institute (NAERI), the economic research and analysis arm of MAF.   It soon became apparent to both MAF and MSU, however, that for effective utilization (and eventual institutionalization) of the analytical capacity being developed at NAERI, efforts aimed more directly at the decision-making units of MAF proper would also be necessary.  Thus, the Korean Agricultural Planning Project (KAPP) was begun in 1974, this time under a direct contract between MSU and MAF funded by an AID grant to the Korean government (AID/ASIA-C-1157).  KAPP included a policy analyst, a program and project analyst, a situation and outlook analyst, and an agricultural statistician, and it called for, among other things, 1) cooperation with the KASS project in utilizing the simulation models for decision analysis, and 2) recommendations on the institutional reorganization of MAF.

With the termination in early 1976 of the KASS field activities under Contract 2975, the AS ASP and NAERI were faced with the prospect of a break in the provision of professional systems science services.  Although Koreans had returned or were about to return from training at lower levels, successful continued model development, in-service training, institutionalization and cooperative analysis with KAPP required the continuing presence of a Ph.D. level systems scientist until additional trainees could return.  Therefore, in 1976 MSU entered into another contract (AID/ta-C-1322 - Korean Agricultural Simulation Advisory Services) to advise and assist Korean staff in computer model operation, updating of data, testing various policy alternatives and evaluating results and use of the model.  This contract ended in December 1977, the date marking the end of the ASASP contracts.

A spin-off of these contracts and the GSSA approach was MSU‘s involvement with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Food and Agriculture Program (FAP). MSU was the official U.S. representative for the Academy of Science at IIASA, and a Cooperative Agreement between MSU and the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture called for the development of a detailed U.S. model of agriculture, its integration with the IIASA/FAP global system, and the installation of that system at the USDA‘s Washington Computer Center.  The model, constructed with the skills and insight developed over the course of the ASASP projects, became fully operational at the USDA.

Documents From/About This Project