Data Collection

Enumerators are employed at the monitored border points and markets they gather market price information and informal cross-border information.  To gather indicative prices and to ensure consistency, market prices are collected daily at between 6 am – 9.00am whereas, border volumes are collected continuously during the day.

Data collection technique                                                           

Techniques for collecting primary cross-border data are generally applied either alone, or as a combination, depending on the circumstances: border observation; tracking the movement of large transport vehicles; and stocktaking at open markets.


1. Border Observation Technique

The Enumerators/monitors are positioned strategically at the main informal entry points to collect and record all commodities entering or leaving the country by direct observation.  In addition, the enumerator also works with selected traders and border agents who act as key informants for any qualitative information and clarifications needed with regard to the cross-border flows.

2. Tracking Technique

It is aimed at estimating the volume of unrecorded trade that passes across the border through manipulation of the documentation procedures. It involves interviewing the drivers to find out information such as commodity carried, source and destination and other information that cannot be gathered by observation. Tracking is conducted only on a sample of 10 percent of the trucks passing through selected borders. It entails tracing cargo from the port of entry to the declared destination, eventually comparing the findings with those in the official customs records. The information acquired through tracking basically augments data obtained from border observation.

3 Stock Taking Techniques

It works only in those borders with open markets where all commodities moving in and out of the country are assembled or stored at these markets. The objective of this approach is to estimate the number of goods sold and bought by traders/buyers from either country, taking into account stock carryover and replenishment. The technique requires quantification of net import and export figures by taking into account volume of goods brought to the market by traders in both countries, volumes purchased, and carryover stocks—the latter being treated as beginning stocks for the next market day. A sample of traders is taken and an estimate made at the end of the trading day of the goods traded and the carryover stocks. This approach, however, is combined with the border observation on nonmarket days when the level of trade activity declines and interviewing to find out other detailed information.


Three methods are recommended in collecting price data. These include:

1.      Noting the price if prices are marked

2.      Asking the seller the price of the commodity as if the enumerator were a buyer

3.      Observing a transaction between an actual buyer and seller.

Five wholesale price quotations are required for each commodity; the quotations are collected from 3 pre-selected established traders and 2 randomly selected traders. The selected traders are the key informants on qualitative information about market prices, flows, and trader behavior.

Data submission and dissemination.

Data entry is done using an Android Smartphone Application, which is used to capture the market information in the field then sent via a 2G or 3G internet connection to a central database.

The application contains designs that ensure data quality and integrity.  The phone GPS system is used to ensure data entry is done at the profiled market/border and will not accept information that is keyed outside the geo-fence profile. The system also flags potential data anomalies before data is submitted to the system, forcing the enumerator to verify their data before submission. Additional data quality feedback is also provided by farmer groups, traders, and associations, all of whom are system users

The stored data is manipulated by the data analysis tools and produced through the Content Management System (CMS) on a web browser.