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Africa Gender Innovation Lab - Impact Evaluations: Agriculture

June 1, 2015

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 40 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. Cote d’Ivoire Agricultural Support Project
  2. Democratic Republic of Congo Agricultural Rehabilitation and Recovery Support Project
  3. Ethiopia Women’s Agricultural Leaders Network
  4. Ethiopia Rural Capacity Building Project and Farmer’s Innovation Fund
  5. Ethiopia Food Security Program
  6. Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project
  7. Ghana Out- Grower Contracts for Small Holder Rice Farmers
  8. Niger Texting for Change: Mobiles, Messages and Savings
  9. Niger Export and Agro-Pastoral Market Development Project
  10. Nigeria Supporting Vulnerable Households for Accelerated Revenue and Earnings
  11. Tanzania USAID Project
  12. Uganda Orange Flesh Sweet Potato Project




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

Working with the Ministry of Agriculture in Core d’Ivoire, the World Bank will evaluate the impacts of providing training and childcare in areas where new medium-sized cashew processing factories will be opened. The current cashew processing workforce is made up of low skilled workers. Women are largely represented in shelling and peeling tasks, for which productivity increases steeply with tenure and experience on the job. The study will examine the effects of randomly induced variation in female and male formal employment in cashew processing on household dynamics and outcomes, as well as the impact of childcare on women’s employment, hours worked, productivity and job tenure, and firm output. Evaluations of two other PSAC components - rural roads rehabilitation and cocoa certification - have been requested. 

2. Democratic Republic of Congo Agricultural Rehabilitation and Recovery Support Project (PARRSA)

Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, World Bank and Paris School of Economics 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. 

3. Ethiopia Women’s Agricultural Leaders Network (WALN), USAID and ACDI/VOCA 

This 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. 

4. Ethiopia Rural Capacity Building Project (RCBP) and Farmer’s Innovation Fund (FIF), Government of Ethiopia and World Bank 

The RCBP 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. The 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 the FIF on technology adoption and productivity. The RCBP also has a gender-focused sub-component, which was designed in response to the low turnout of female participants in other RCBP components. This project is intended 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.

5. Ethiopia Food Security Program (FSP), World Bank

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.

6. Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP), Government of Ghana and World Bank

This private-public partnership (PPP) project seeks to increase agricultural productivity and improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers via demand-driven investments in a collection of interventions, for example agricultural extension, access to land, warehouses, private sector finance, weather-based insurance policies, input and output markets, and commercial agriculture. Project beneficiaries are both Ghanaian and international investors, and households who avail themselves of new income-generating activities. Several gender-informed impact evaluations will capture the impact of specific investments.

7. Ghana Out-Grower Contracts for Small Holder Rice Farmers, GADCO

GADCO, one of the major rice producers in Ghana, has set up the Copa Connect Smallholder Program (CCSP) 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 and in exchange give GADCO 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 CCSP with roughly 1,400 farmers of which 30% are female. Key research questions include (i) What is the economic and social impact of participation in the outgrower scheme on these smallholder farmers? (ii) Specifically, what are 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? (iii) How are these impacts different for male vs. female farmers? 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. Niger Texting for Change: Mobiles, Messages and Savings, World Bank and Tufts University

This research project seeks to understand how mobile phone technology and other tools 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 and the provision of lockboxes can increase women's and men's ability to save, thereby minimizing the need to sell other assets.

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

PRODEX seeks to increase the value of targeted agro-pastoral export products, with a broader goal of boosting incomes and stimulating agricultural growth. The impact evaluation analyzes the effects of matching grants to farming and livestock groups for productive activities. 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.

10. Nigeria Supporting Vulnerable Households for Accelerated Revenue and Earnings (SHARE), USAID and Catholic Relief Services

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.

11. Tanzania USAID Project

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

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