How and what to sell?
In 3rd World Farmer, crops are sold automatically at the end of each season. So are excess animal products, such as milk, eggs and meat. The values of these products are specified in the crops and livestock sections of the annual report.
Game Design Note: It was an early game design choice to simplify by abstracting these products to their value in money instead of letting the player manage a large inventory of various seeds and livestock produce. This would have been more difficult for us to program, more difficult for the player to understand, and would have detracted from the overall economic clarity of the simulation. However, including inventory management probably would have been more precise, since large parts of the economies in many developing countries, especially for subsistence farmer, is based on barter of seeds and natural resources instead of direct monetary exchanges. See the External Links section below for some interesting perspectives on this.
The selling prices fluctuate slightly year by year, but will generally be around 30% lower than the initial cost of purchase of that type of item. Of course, selling with a loss is never ideal, but there are a few cases where it might be beneficial.
When to Sell?
Tools and buildings generate no annual revenue by themselves. They only add bonuses to the revenue from crops and livestock respectively. So if there’s no money for crops or livestock one year, the player might sell a tool or building. The cash from that will allow him to buy crops and generate new income. Or maybe just to have some savings to pay for the living costs that year. As long as basic living costs are covered, the farmer family will not starve, and their health will not suffer significantly.
A player may also decide to sell his items just to free up placement tiles for better equipment. For example, owning 4 shovels occupies all the tool tiles. The player could chose to sell one of them and buy a scythe, plow, tractor or harvester instead. That would result in a higher cumulative crop bonus.
Likewise, livestock and building properties could be swapped for better alternatives with higher bonuses and revenue in this way.
“Barter Economy” by Tejvan Pettinger, economicshelp.org, 2016:
“Bartering Aids Poor Nations,” by H.J. Maidenberg, New York Times, 1983:
Interesting perspective on money and barter economies. “Money and the myth of barter,” by David Ruccio, 2016: