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alternate wetting and drying CGIAR NRM health AEA agricultural extension agricultural research activity update AWD micro-dosing impact assessments SIAC adoption nutrition 3ie agroforestry impacts SPIA agriculture RCTs
  • Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) varieties have important nutritional differences and there is strong interest to identify nutritionally superior varieties for dissemination. In agricultural household surveys, this information is often collected based on the farmer's self-report. However, recent evidence has demonstrated the inherent difficulties in correctly identifying varieties from self-report information. This study examines the accuracy of self-report information on varietal identification from a data capture experiment on sweet potato varieties in southern Ethiopia. Three household-based methods of identifying varietal adoption are tested against the benchmark of DNA fingerprinting: (A) elicitation from farmers with basic questions for the most widely planted variety; (B) farmer elicitation on five sweet potato phenotypic attributes by showing a visual-aid protocol; and (C) enumerator recording observations on five sweet potato phenotypic attributes using a visual-aid protocol and visiting the field. The reference being the DNA fingerprinting, about 30 percent of improved varieties were identified as local or non-improved, and 20 percent of farmers identified a variety as local when it was in fact improved. The variety names given by farmers delivered inconsistent and fuzzy varietal identities. The visual-aid protocols employed in methods B and C were better than method A, but still way below the adoption estimates given by the DNA fingerprinting method.

    Nov 2016
  • An oft-discussed issue when it comes to NRM practices (generated from CGIAR research) is what constitutes 'adoption'. While this is a result of the fact that practices are often a combination of recommended management techniques that farmers deploy differently – like in the case of conservation agriculture where a farmer may use zero tillage + residue retention in one season, but only practice residue retention in another – one can also start to see the deviation away from ‘blanket recommendations’ in agricultural extension over the decades, leaving more room for interpretation (and innovation) by farmers. Blanket recommendations for fertilizer application do have several issues in that they do not take diversity of farming environments into account, and hence are not always profitable for farmers. But this deviation from blanket recommendations brings up other issues.

    Mar 2016
  • Following a competitive call for expressions of interest in November 2015, SPIA conducted an expert workshop on how best to approach documentation of adoption of selected Natural Resource Management (NRM) practices linked to CGIAR research outputs (16-17 December, 2015). The NRM practices and countries of interest had been identified as high priority in a previous SPIA exercise of reviewing and rating claims made in annual reports and other relevant literature regarding the scale of uptake of CGIAR-derived NRM research outcomes.

    Traditionally, SPIA would have reviewed EOIs and requested full proposals from a sub-set of proponents. However, considering (1) the unique challenges in defining what constitutes adoption of a specific NRM practice, (2) that existing surveys may already have relevant/useful data or upcoming survey rounds (planned) may offer opportunities to collect additional data, and (3) the typology of proponents anticipated to express interest (academic researchers, private sector entities, CGIAR Centers, remote sensing experts etc.) – SPIA took an innovative approach: all EOI proponents were invited to a workshop wherein collaborations were fostered through a combination of presentation-led discussions and group work.

    Mar 2016
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    Dec 2015

    A significant proportion of CGIAR research investment has been spent on policy and natural resource management (NRM). However, compared with other areas of research e.g., crop germplasm improvement (CGI), there appear to be relatively few impact assessments (IAs) in this domain. To fill this gap, one of the activities of the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA)-coordinated Strengthening Impact Assessment in the CGIAR (SIAC) program targets assessments of these presumably ‘under-evaluated areas’ of CGIAR research, including irrigation and water management, agroforestry and policy and social sciences. This brief summarizes the findings and recommendations of a critical review of IAs of CGIAR irrigation and water management research (full report).
    May 2015
  • This Impact Brief (No 46) is based on the study that documents the impacts of improved common bean varieties on field-level yields, costs of production, and household farm incomes among smallholders in Rwanda and Uganda. Effects are also examined so that the number of people escaping poverty due to the diffusion of improved varieties can be calculated. The full report will be published shortly on this site along with the SPIA foreword.

    Jan 2015
  • This Impact Brief (No 45) is based on the study that documents the impacts of improved maize varities on household well-being and on overall rural poverty using primary data. In Ethiopia, the last four decades have seen more than 40 improved varieties of maize - including hybrids and OPVs – developed and released by the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) in collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). The full report will be published shortly on this site along with the SPIA foreword. The journal paper (Agricultural Economics) is available on Wiley Online Library.

    Dec 2014
  • The SPIA experimental impact evaluations call announced in April 2014 is close to announcing grantees. We received 21 excellent expressions of interest (EOIs), and 8 were invited to submit full proposals, external reviews for which have been completed. The first stage (EOIs) for the other SPIA call issued in September 2014 is now over - post reviews a subset of EOI proponents will be contacted soon and asked to submit full proposals.

    Nov 2014
  • This Impact Brief (No 44) is based on the Legumes Synthesis Report that documents the most important cases of farmers adopting new varieties, and the economic, social and environmental impacts of legume technologies developed by CGIAR in collaboration with national agricultural research system (NARS) partners (see SPIA Project details here). It reviews research results from over 30 adoption surveys conducted in more than 20 developing countries (primarily the Diffusion and Impact of Improved Varieties in Africa i.e DIIVA study data), which provide evidence that farmers are growing improved legume varieties in many regions. This was one in a series of ex post impact assessments of CGIAR research that examined thematic areas which, up to 2010, had not been properly evaluated but for which anecdotal evidence suggested considerable impact.

    Sep 2014
  • A synthesis report on the results of a CGIAR project: Diffusion and Impact of Improved Varieties in Africa (DIIVA) Project – the first major study to focus on the diffusion of improved crop varieties in SSA. Supported by the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), seven CGIAR Centers and their partners carried out adoption research and impact assessments as part of DIIVA, which was directed and coordinated by CGIAR Independent Science & Partnership Council’s (ISPC) Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) and administrated through Bioversity International.This work has been driven by thre e complementary activities that respond to three project objectives: (1) documenting the key performance indicators of crop genetic improvement; (2) collecting nationally representative survey data on varietal adoption; and (3) assessing the impact of varietal change. This synthesis paper reports on progress in the first two areas: documenting the performance of crop improvement in SSA and validating estimates from expert panels with results from nationally representative surveys on the diffusion of MVs. For more information on DIIVA: please refer the project page

    Sep 2014
  • In the late 1990s, a global initiative on the impact assessment of crop varietal change estimated that modern varieties (MVs) accounted for about 22% of the growing area of primary food crops across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (Evenson and Gollin, 2003). This baseline has recently been updated, widened, and deepened in the CGIAR’s project Diffusion and Impact of Improved Crop Varieties in Sub-Saharan Africa (DIIVA), supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Seven CGIAR Centers and more than 200 individuals – mainly crop improvement scientists in national programs – participated in the DIIVA project, which was directed and coordinated by the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) of the CGIAR and administrated through Bioversity International.

    Aug 2014
  • In the semiarid region of West and Central Africa, farmers traditionally cultivate different cowpea varieties for grain and fodder. However, the grain yield potential and the availability of good quality fodder is limited by several factors: insects, ests and diseases, low and erratic rainfall, and the long dry season. In the early 1990s, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), initiated a breeding program to develop improved cowpea varieties that produce both grain for human consumption and fodder for livestock in the dry season. This paper examines the patterns, levels, rate of adoption, and the impact of one of the most promising varieties (IT89KD-288) introduced to farmers in Kano State, Nigeria. The diffusion and uptake of this variety had been very impressive as it reached over 1500 farmers in 1997, only 4 years after its accidental release to one farmer. The results show that farmers derived substantial benefits from adopting dry-season dual-purpose cowpea. These include food security during a critical period of the year, cash income, crop diversification, fodder, and in situ grazing after harvesting, in periods when the prices of cowpea grain peak, and when good quality fodder is scarce. Dryseason dual-purpose cowpea is thus a profitable technology that will find economic and ecological niches in the mixed crop/livestock farming systems of the semiarid

    Jan 2012
  • 14
    Dec 2011