AADAPT: AGRICULTURAL ADAPTATIONS AND NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Urgent Need for Evidence in Agriculture
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) note that agriculture is the single largest employer in the world. Globally, 40 percent of the population earns its income from agriculture. The SDGs urge the international community to make the investments needed to double agricultural incomes of small-scale food producers. Astonishingly, little evidence exists to rigorously inform the investments needed to meet this urgent goal. For example, a 2015 systematic review on the effects of training, innovation, and technology on smallholder productivity in Africa identified only 19 studies that met the scientific standard to be included in the review, making it impossible to assess which interventions yield the highest returns. The gap between urgent need for action and the evidence available to inform such action is therefore greater in agriculture than in many other sectors in development.
Agricultural development is crucial, not only for poverty reduction but for many other SDGs as well. Ending hunger and improving nutrition for the 13 percent of people in the developing world, who are hungry, requires restructuring the agricultural value-chain; from farmers who grow food to retailers who sell it to consumers. As a sector contributing both carbon emissions and capture and uniquely susceptible to climate and extreme weather, agricultural innovations can offer solutions to climate change through both mitigation and adaptation. DIME builds evidence on the innovations that best address all of these challenges through its agriculture portfolio.
Policy-Driven Evaluation Design
Many of DIME’s impact evaluations in agriculture were launched following a workshop on Agriculture Innovations held in June, 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. Ahead of this event, the Africa Region of the World Bank organized a high-level meeting of decision-makers from ministries of finance and agriculture, researchers, and other policymakers to set priorities for research. The June event then took the resulting recommendations to a gathered set of policymakers, project staff, and researchers to embed research questions and designs into the project. This model of involving policymakers from the earliest stages of designing evaluations and building the evaluation directly into projects ensures buy-in from projects and immediate policy relevance of research findings.
In November, 2016, DIME convened a conference on Evidence for Agriculture to share findings from ongoing and completed evaluation in the agriculture portfolio and identify emerging priorities for evaluations in the sector. This event engaged participants from fifteen institutions, including university researchers, policymakers from governments and multinationals, and donor agencies.
Active Impact Evaluations
The AADAPT portfolio includes more than 20 impact evaluations in 12 countries across Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The evaluations are distributed across five knowledge gaps identified as constraints to the design of effective agriculture policy. These topical areas of focus are highlighted in the table below.