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Africa Gender Innovation Lab - Impact Evaluations: Agriculture

August 23, 2017


The Gender Innovation Lab conducts impact evaluations in four key areas including agriculture, private sector development, land & assets and youth employment, as well as a handful of impact evaluations that explore new areas of research or provide specific support to an ongoing project. The lab is currently working on more than 50 impact evaluations across Sub-Saharan Africa.

In Africa, women are less productive farmers than their male peers. This is because women are concentrated in low value crops, lack access to critical productive inputs such as fertilizer, secure land and credit; face time constraints because of care responsibilities; adopt agricultural innovations at lower rates; and face both explicit and implicit discrimination in the delivery of services. The GIL’s impact evaluations of agriculture projects include:

1. World Bank, Cote d’Ivoire Agricultural Support Project

Working with the Ministry of Agriculture in Cote d’Ivoire, the World Bank has proposed two evaluations, the first of which will be geared towards understanding how best to structure agricultural extension and training for crops with long pre-bearing periods (such as rubber) in the context of present-biased farmer preferences. The second proposed evaluation is on the impact of mechanization, a topic of particular interest for the cotton value-chain. This project may include a pilot on how to incentivize female farmers to become cotton producers. Additionally, it might include introducing a quota system in cooperatives/producer organizations, as well as informational media campaigns with different contents (e.g., transmission of information purely on economic returns of becoming a cotton producer with and without the inclusion of content explicitly addressing cultural/social norms hindering women’s participation in cotton production).

2. World Bank ,Cote D’Ivoire Employment for Women in Agro-Processing

This project will consist of an in-depth quantitative and qualitative study of formal employment in the cashew processing industry in Côte d’Ivoire. There is a growing body of evidence, particularly from Sub-Saharan Africa, that extended kin networks lead individuals to engage in costly strategies to conceal income from their kin, leading to suboptimal economic outcomes. However, the current evidence comes from framed lab experiments rather than real-world settings. The cashew processing industry offers ideal characteristics for evaluating the effects of this social pressure to redistribute income on female employees’ workplace-level outcomes, motivation and incomes. It also offers the opportunity to study the effects of behavioral factors, such as self-control, on poor workers’ income potential and welfare.

Moreover, this project will allow us to measure impacts on processing plants’ overall productivity, welfare consequences to the social network as a whole of easing redistribution constraints, as well as the effect of increasing women’s autonomy over their income on gender dynamics in the household. The anticipated interventions will include introducing direct deposit of wages into workers’ private bank accounts; savings freezes and/or earmarking, and individually varying workers’ paydays to maximize income confidentiality. The results of the study will add to our current understanding of the relationship between workplace performance and incentives in formal sector wage jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

3. World Bank, Democratic Republic of Congo Agricultural Rehabilitation and Recovery Support Project (PARRSA)

PARRSA seeks to revitalize DRC’s agricultural sector by raising productivity and production, encouraging agro-industry, and improving marketing channels. The experimental impact evaluation will examine the project's regeneration of the market for improved seeds, the diffusion of improved farming practices through agricultural extension, and the improvement of rural roads infrastructure - analyzing how male and female farmers learn about new technologies and access markets.

4. USAID, Ethiopia Women Agribusiness Leaders Network (WALN)

USAID-funded program provides business training and woman-to-woman mentorship and networking opportunities for agri-business women. For women entrepreneurs, lacking critical skills and role models/mentors regarding effective business behavior can be a significant barrier to participating in male dominated, higher earnings sectors. Even when women do participate in these sectors, these barriers prevent them from overcoming the gender gap in productivity and earnings. The evaluation will assess the impacts of participation in the WALN program on the abilities and performance of the beneficiary businesswomen as well as on their personal and business networks, including business literacy, cognitive and non-cognitive skills, and psycho-social, economic and networking outcomes.  

5. World Bank, Ethiopia Rural Capacity Building Project and Farmer’s Innovation Fund (FIF):

This project focuses on improving and enhancing the delivery of agricultural extension service systems throughout Ethiopia. The evaluation will assess how training delivery agents and upgrading farmer training systems impact farmer productivity. GIL is using in-depth data on farming practices to investigate access to extension services and identify ways to share agricultural information with female farmers in order to narrow the gender productivity gap.

A sub-component of the Rural Capacity Building Project, FIF is an intervention that involves farmers who group themselves to decide on training methodology options and innovative pilot approaches. The evaluation will assess the impact of FIF on technology adoption and productivity.

Another sub-component of the Rural Capacity Building Project, this intervention was designed in response to the low turnout of female participants in other RCBP components. The project is designed to increase women's participation in extension services, enhance productivity by providing start-up capital for their group activity, and deliver training in agricultural production and commercialization.

6. World Bank, Ethiopia Food Security Program (FSP):

This World Bank-funded program offered recurring loans to vulnerable households in food-insecure communities in Ethiopia. Initial analysis of program data suggests that the intervention had higher impacts for female-headed households, who enjoyed increased food security and diversified their economic activities by expanding to off-farm work.

7. World Bank, Ghana Out-Grower Contracts for Small Holder Rice Farms, GADCO:

WIENCO, one of the major rice producers in Ghana, has set up an outgrower program for smallholder rain-fed and irrigated rice farmers in the Volta and Eastern Regions of Ghana. Participants in the program are offered fertilizer, crop protection chemicals, extension services, and mechanization on credit. In exchange, they give WIENCO exclusive rights to purchase the smallholders’ rice crop at the end of each harvest season. This study is a randomized controlled trial impact evaluation of the outgrower program with roughly 1,400 farmers of which 30% are female. It explores the economic and social impact of participation in the outgrower scheme on these smallholder farmers. Specifically, it explores the impacts on technology adoption, knowledge transfer, productivity and profits, net indebtedness and credit constraints, the distribution of resources (e.g. labor and inputs) and income within the household, investment in the human capital of children (health and education), intra-household relationships, and income diversification. This study is being carried out in partnership with the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP), the World Bank’s Development Research Group’s Agriculture and Rural Development Team, and Innovations for Poverty Action.

8. World Bank, Ghana Randomizing access to irrigated land and/or inputs at the household and spousal level

Rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa face a number of binding constraints in agricultural production, including access to quality land, irrigation, and complementary inputs such as improved seeds and fertilizer. Where households do not cooperate fully in their productive decisions, women may be further constrained in their agricultural activities by less access to inputs, services, and credit relative to their husbands. To address the needs of female and male smallholder farmers, the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) supports a number of contract farming and “nucleus-outgrower” arrangements that partner small-scale farmers with larger entities that are able to provide access to inputs, markets, and land and irrigation services. In this context, we are carrying out a randomized control trial in partnership with GCAP and Ariku farms in the Upper East region of Ghana to study. The study combines two cross-randomized components.

First, access to an irrigated plot of land via rental arrangement with Ariku Farms will be randomly allocated among interested households. This will allow an estimate of the impact of access to irrigated land rental in a region where irrigation is relatively uncommon. Second, for all households who receive rental contracts and inputs or only inputs, either the husband or a wife will be randomly selected to be the sole “contracting member” who contracts with Ariku Farms to receive and pay for any land or inputs on behalf of the household.  In a context in which men tend to have stronger access to productive inputs and women tend to have access only through their husbands, this component of the study will offer evidence of whether direct access for women alters production or consumption patterns in the household.

*Formerly Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP)

9. World Bank, Ghana Gender, Insurance and Agricultural Productivity

To provide rigorous evidence as to whether the provision of extension, inputs and insurance can lead to marked improvements in female farmers’ investment and yields in Ghana. The specific objectives for this project include assessing the effects of regular extension services on output of women farmers as part of a larger effort in providing community based extension services to a larger population in northern Ghana, integrating a gender dimension into a project that was previously focused only on men, and testing the effects of counterpart funding of drought index insurance support to women and its’ influence on household allocation of resources including land.

10. World Bank, Niger Texting for Change: Mobiles, Messages and Savings:

This research project seeks to understand how mobile phone technology can be used to promote savings in rural Niger, with a particular focus on savings for an important religious holiday. In particular, the purpose of this research is to provide insights into whether SMS reminders about savings goals can increase women's and men's ability to save, thereby minimizing the need to sell other assets.

11. World Bank, Niger Export and Agro-pastoral Market Development Project (PRODEX)

PRODEX seeks to increase the value of targeted agro-pastoral export products, with a broader view towards boosting incomes of project-supported producers and stimulating agricultural growth. The impact evaluation analyzes the effects of support services (training, access to credit, market facilitation and technical assistance) delivered to farming and livestock groups via matching grants. The impact evaluation will offer evidence on whether targeted support to female farmer groups has a disproportionately higher impact on their farm yields and sales revenue.

12. USAID, Nigeria Feed the Future Nutrition and Livelihood Program

This project targets vulnerable households in Northern Nigeria, particularly female members, by providing financial products and in-kind asset transfers to assist them in moving away from subsistence agriculture and into the market. The key outcomes of interest for this evaluation include: intra-household resource allocation, women’s economic empowerment, food security, diversified income and consumption, nutrition status of children, resilience, assets, social capital, intra-household decision-making, women’s aspirations, and men’s attitudes and behaviors toward gender norms and roles. The study will contribute to knowledge about ways to promote social and economic empowerment for rural and vulnerable women facing severe mobility constraints. 

* Formerly Supporting Vulnerable Households for Accelerate Revenue and Earnings (SHARE)

13.  BRAC and World Bank, Uganda Orange Flesh Sweet Potato Project

This project takes an integrated approach to improving nutrition and food security for children, adolescent girls and women of childbearing age by increasing smallholders’ adoption, production and consumption of a nutrient-rich staple crop. The impact evaluation will examine the relative effectiveness of different interventions addressing market and nonmarket barriers, including agriculture extension and input provision, produce marketing services, health and nutrition fora, growth monitoring and promotion (GMP) for under-5 year olds, and conditional food transfers. The evaluation will also study credit, time inconsistency, and price risk barriers that smallholders face in adopting nutrient-rich crops, by offering credit, input vouchers, and insurance. 

14.  World Bank and IFPRI, Uganda Farm and Family Balance

This project aims to measure impact of contracting with women on labor inputs & productivity, household welfare, women’s empowerment &marital harmony and contract success &corporate welfare. Additionally the project works to measure impact of sensitization alone on productivity, labor and household welfare and women’s empowerment &marital harmony.  The impact evaluation intervention will cross-randomize i) encouraging households to transfer one of multiple sugar contracts into wife’s name ii) providing sensitization workshop to increase gender equity and cooperation in households.