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In writing this Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology, I have drawn information from several different sources and countries. For their innovative research and dedication to understanding commodity systems, I am strongly indebted to Maria Loli Alvarez and Gerald Murray for their work in Haiti and Rafael Amezquita and Cesar Rodriguez for their research in the Dominican Republic.

Once the basic methodology was developed, it was field tested under a variety of circumstances in countries as diverse as Taiwan, the four Windward Islands (Eastern Caribbean), Malaysia and Nepal. During this further learning and development process, over 100 professionals from a dozen countries made useful contributions with information, ideas and constructive criticism. It is not possible to mention them all, but special thanks are due the following: my colleagues from IICA, Rafael Marte and Gonzalo Estefanell; Ron Wills, New South Wales University; Samson C.S. Tsou, Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center; James R. Jones and Paul Muneta, University of Idaho; Ray Gonzales, ASEAN Food Handling Bureau; Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute postharvest specialists Abdullah Hassan, Abdullah Shukor Abd. Rahman and Lam Peng Fatt. Thanks are also due such dedicated professionals as Sing Ching Tongdee and Suraphong Kosiyachinda, Thailand; Lee Song Khuen, Singapore; Ofelia K. Bautista and Ma Concepcion Lizada, Philippines, who so willingly dedicated their time and knowledge to improving the methodology.

The actual writing of the CSAM would have been impossible without the valuable support of a number of persons. Robert Skiles, PIP, recognized the need for a CSAM and suggested an IICA/PIP joint effort as early as 1983. Harvey Neese, PIP, and Ray Gonzales, AFHB, arranged financing and coordinated the field testing of the methodology in India, Malaysia and Nepal. Robert J. Haggerty, PIP, and Leong Poo Chow, AFHB, were co-authors in the original writing of Chapter 3. Valuable suggestions concerning content and organization were made by Felicity Proctor, NRI Fruit and Vegetable Technologist, and University of Idaho agricultural marketing specialists Dick Schermerhorn and Larry Makus. Washington State University professor of marketing, Jim McCullough, made valuable recommendations for improving the methodology, based on his field testing of the CSAM in Nepal. I am very grateful to Angie Husbands, St. Lucian artist, who prepared the drawings throughout CSAM.

Special thanks are due Harvey Neese, PIP Director, and Tom Dechert, PIP Field Director, for having reviewed and corrected the many drafts of this manual. They provided invaluable comments and support. The unsung heroes of any document of this size are the secretaries and computer operators who dedicate long, tedious hours in preparing the manuscript. Many thanks to all of them who have contributed their time to produce this manual.