Targeting the poorest farmers The adoption of new technologies, including seed of new varieties, could threaten the livelihoods (as measured through household food security and financial income) of resource-poor farming families. Only those families with sufficient land or earnings to guarantee food security throughout the year can take this risk. To target the poorest groups with our research, farming families were categorised according to their ability to take risk: Landless/food insecure, ultra-poor family Must rent land to grow food or do paid labour to buy food and pay for other necessities. Cannot take any risks. Marginal/food insecure farming family Has insufficient land to achieve household food security. Regular shortages of food and cash. Must do labour to buy additional food, inputs and other basic necessities. Can enter a downward spiral into extreme poverty very easily. Cannot take any risks. Subsistence/self-sufficient farming family Has sufficient land to meet basic food needs under normal conditions. May need to do labour to pay for inputs and other necessities (including school fees). Remains vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks. Is risk averse. Food surplus farming family Has sufficient land to guarantee household food security on a regular basis. Able to produce surplus grain and cash crops for sale to buy inputs, send children to school and accumulate ‘middle class’ assets, e.g. bicycle, TV, electric fan. Able to take risk. According to this classification, only ‘subsistence’ and ‘food surplus’ farmers are able to take risk and therefore it is these farmers who are most likely to adopt new technologies In order to target the poorest, risk-prone, marginal and landless farming families it was necessary to classify them according to their ability to be food secure. The method used for this process involved calculating the Rice Self Sufficiency Index (RSSI) for each household, since these families depend on rice for their food security. This was based on their landholding (i.e. the area of land that they own), number and ages of dependents and expected yield of unprocessed, rice paddy, according to the following formula (modified from Page and Chonyera 1994). The annual rice paddy requirement of each household is calculated according the mean, minimum, recommended daily energy intakes for adults, adolescents over 10 years and children under 10 years.4 This is 2,500 kcals, equivalent to 365 kg of (unprocessed) paddy rice per year5 for an active adult, 2,000 kcal, equivalent to 274 kg of paddy rice per year for an adolescent 10–18 years and 1,500 kcal, equivalent to 183 kg/year for a child under 10 years. The farmer’s own yield data in terms of kilograms of paddy per hectare is used to calculate the RSSI for his household. The Rice Self Sufficiency Index (RSSI) for landless farmers will normally be zero, while the RSSI for marginal farmers will always be less than 100%. For the purposes of this research, the RSSI for subsistence farmers was set at between 100% and 200%, while farming families who had RSSIs of more than 200% were classified as food surplus/ cash-cropping farmers. This poverty assessment method is both quick and accurate to use in the field since it requires only five simple statistics: the numbers of adults, adolescents aged 10–18 years and children aged <10 years in the household, the landholding and the most recent rice paddy yield per unit area. These can easily be re-called by farmers.