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The objective of MADS is to improve the capacity of developing countries to analyze their agricultural sector, formulate strategies, and propose programs for international and national funding, by providing a tool for modelling and analysing agricultural activities. MADS is based on simple deterministic cost-benefit analysis models. The core model would represent a production system i.e. a production unit / farm model defined as a linear combination of crop and/or livestock systems and other farm or non-farm activities. A region, a development program or the entire agricultural sector of a country is then represented as a linear combination of production units.

The MADS approach wants to be a synthesis between the manipulation of non-typed variables and the detailed structuring of data found in other software. The idea is to structure the data in order to allow for maximum pre-definition of calculations, as well as to provide for mechanisms that would let the user specify additional calculations and define the format of customized reports (tables). The number of data types is kept limited, combining two primary generic data structures (data object types), called Commodity and Plan, that are meant to be general enough to accommodate most basic analysis situations, and a specialized data structures to handle livestock demographic models (Herd).

Calculations will be performed and reports produced for a given plan. Calculations corresponding to commodities and herds within a plan are predefined. Additional variables can be specified and assigned values by defining Scripts. A fifth generic data structure, called Table, handles the production of user-defined table reports.


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