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4P Dialog for benchmarking crop production (biomass-BM)
under seasonal variant conditions

This is a typical dialog for inputs to a PPPP which can use any mathamtical model, econometric model or operations research methods to calculate or run full simulations and optimizations using such methods as Monter Carlo Simulation and linear programming.

Policy decisions by governments commit considerable amounts of money to policies. Therefore, they need to secure intended results for the lowest public outlay and the satisfaction of the agricultural constituency. Therefore, policy analysis procedures need to be practical and effective, providing evidence-based justifications for policy decisions, including risk analysis. Under such circumstances the best approach to training is learning by doing to embed analytical procedures clearly in the mind of trainees so that they become part of the individual’s capabilities in the form of “know how do and why" as opposed to a more theoretical “awareness” of the procedure.

This type of training can be based on the interactive 4P (Policy Procedure Prototyping Platform) that provides online training modules. 4P is a server-side JavaScript decision analysis model for evaluating policy procedures which involve analysis of some kind. Its operation is based on a decision
  • analysis model is used to
  • to evaluate the model itself
  • the range of data needs
  • quality of data
and when these are deemed adequate the model is used to complete the policy procedure based on the defined analytical method and data.

4P is an ideal instrument for training because it can be used to take attendees through the policy procedure design process using DRMs consisting of:
  • The required calculations (formulae)
  • The required data set
These are then used to build the decision analysis model which can then be tested. In this way the utility of procedures can be made very clear and this can be used to select groups of procedures required in any part of the policy management cycle. The resulting model can be saved and used on a repetitive basis to support the procedure in question.

4P can be run:
  • like a calculator
  • to create balance calculators
  • to simulate, test and refine any analysis procedure
  • to identify data gaps
  • to run cost-benefit assessment
  • to run cash flow
  • to run Monte Carlo simulations
  • to run optimization programs
  • to model microeconomic business processes
  • to model macroeconomic policies

By taking attendees through the “model building” process they gain a full understanding of what the procedure can accomplish as well as its limitations and when such a procedure should be applied in the policy management cycle. This models runs in a design studio and can be posted online with security access control. The models can be accessed at any time and used by any authorised person with a browser or thin client on a mobile, tablet or laptop.

Trainees can “play with the model” and carry out calculations or simulations. By leaving the system online training is not limited to training sessions. Trainees can reflect on the session content and when a need for clarification occurs, they can access the model to test specific circumstances at any time convenient to them. In this way they can evaluate the “robustness” of the procedure from perspectives they feel are relevant. This learning by doing “fixes” the process clearly in the mind of trainees and the procedural element becomes a part of the individual’s “know how do” and why, as opposed to a more theoretical “awareness” of the procedure.

Procedures are normally evaluated from three standpoints:
  • The determinant model - causality
  • The quality of information - data
  • Probabilities of events – weather, market prices

The model normally runs as a simulation using existing data and assumed probabilities of events such as bad weather or good weather. The output of a simulation is assessed in terms of likelihood of it being a good representation of expected output or, historic data can be used to test the model. Data used can be saved for use after. Outputs include graphic, tabular and reporting formats which can be printed off for review.

1  ECMAScript is the international standard for JavaScript (standard no 262 at ECMA and ISO/IEC standard no 16262). The leading ECMAScript extension for server side design & implementation is DScript™. For further information on server side ECMAScripting visit

The Decision Analysis Initiative 2010-2015
George Boole Foundation