RHoMIS: the why and what

Welcome the to RHoMIS (Rural Household Multiple Indicator Survey) information webpage! This page gives you information on the tool, new updates, publications, and distributes new data sets that are open for general use.

For background information on RHoMIS you can also check out a presentation on youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbs2v8gsDdw&t=13s. For those of you directly interested in using RHoMIS we have put together an info pack, which you can find on the info pack link next to this page. Below we give a bit more information on the why and how of the tool.

6909204689_35750c3592_bRHoMIS was developed to efficiently collect a series of harmonized and standardized performance indicators at farm household level, especially targeting smallholder farmers in developing (or now maybe better: low income) countries. We started this work after bringing together farm household characterization data to analyse drivers of food security in smallholder systems in Frelat et al. 2016). This work showed how difficult it was to define common indicators across different data sets, with a complete absence of some sort of standard for data collection.


This lack of consistent and comparable data sets hampers our ability to perform good analyses of the drivers of poverty and food insecurity, and to measure and attribute change. We hope with the development of RHoMIS to:

1) contribute to the standardization of indicator sets and procedures for data collection and data analysis at smallholder farm household level;

2) develop time-, and thereby cost-, efficient tools that quantitatively link agricultural management and production options to income, food security and nutritional status;

3) use these tools to identify and track the different development pathways that can improve the income, food security and nutritional status of different groups of smallholder farmers, within and across sites in the developing world.

vanwijk_trainingofenumeratorsvietnam_courtesyofadrianbolligerSpecial focus of our work is on creating a common database that quantitatively links agricultural management and production to their effects on food security, poverty and diets. We are especially interested how factors at farm household level (e.g., farm size, number of animals, farmer’s attitudes, household composition) and at regional level (e.g., socio-cultural factors, market access, population density, agro-ecology) shape these relationships.

This work started as a small-scale collaboration between scientists of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), but has now expanded to a larger community of scientists and other people working in agricultural development.

paperjimOn this page you will find links to information describing the tool, the survey tool and analysis files themselves, publications about results achieved with the tool, and, as time progresses, more and more data sets. The RHoMIS tool has been and is currently applied in more than 17 countries with data collected of more than 11000 smallholder farm households. These numbers will increase over time to generate a large data source to quantify how smallholder farm households are performing in terms of poverty, food security, gender equity, nutrition, productivity, income generation, diversification, intensification and sustainability at the moment, but also how these indicators are changing over time.

All tools (and a growing body of data) will be made publicly available and will be open to general use. If more support or information than what is supplied on this information webpage is needed you can contact us and we will give support. We will then, however, ask you to contribute the data that you collect to the overall database, thereby contributing to our overall, globally oriented, effort.


Key references for further reading:

  • Fraval S, Hammond J, Lannerstad M, Oosting SJ, Sayula G, Teufel N, Silvestri S, Poole EJ, Herrero M, van Wijk MT. 2018. Livelihoods and food security in an urban linked, high potential region of Tanzania: Changes over a three year period. Agricultural Systems 160, 87-95.
  • Frelat, R, Lopez-Ridaura S, Giller KE, Herrero M, Douxchamps S, Djurfeldt A, Erenstein O, Henderson B, Kassie M, Paul B, Rigolot C, Ritzema RS, Rodriguez D, van Asten P, van Wijk MT. 2016. Drivers of household food availability in sub-Saharan Africa based on big data from small farms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113(2), 458-463.
  • Hammond J, Fraval S, van Etten J, Suchini JG, Mercado L, Pagella T, Frelat R, Lannerstad M, Douxchamps S, Teufel N, Valbuena D, van Wijk MT. 2017. The Rural Household Multi-Indicator Survey (RHoMIS) for rapid characterisation of households to inform climate smart agriculture interventions: Description and applications in East Africa and Central America. Agricultural Systems 151, 225-233.
  • Rosenstock TS, Lamanna C, Chesterman S, Hammond J, Kadiyala S, Luedeling E, Shepherd K, DeRenzi B, van Wijk MT. 2017. When less is more: innovations for tracking progress toward global targets. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 26, 54-61.
  • Van Etten J, Steinke J, van Wijk M. 2017. How can the Data Revolution contribute to climate action in smallholder agriculture? Agriculture Development 44.
  • van Wijk M, Hammond J, van Etten J, Pagella T, Ritzema R, Teufel N, Rosenstock T. 2016. The Rural Household Multi-Indicator Survey (RHoMIS): A rapid, cost-effective and flexible tool for farm household characterisation, targeting interventions and monitoring progress towards climate-smart agriculture. CCAFS infonote.