SPIA activities that assess the full range of impacts of CGIAR research. Some of these activities are an attempt to fulfil Objective 3 of SIAC.
These set of studies under SIAC Objective 3 seek to measure the impacts of widely-adopted CGIAR research related innovations. Such innovations are distinct from those still in the pre- or early-adoption scale like those under field testing or in pilot studies and hence not validated by significant diffusion. This research in a sense targets ‘research successes’ that, due to their already widespread diffusion, lend empirical support to the global (or regional) public goods argument for CGIAR research.
SPIA recognizes that such studies are likely to depend on primary data gathered in the past and as such, the primary data may be from various sources and of somewhat uneven quality. Hence the proposed studies will likely depend to some extent on availability of existing data and may build on the approach of earlier researchers. We recognize the formidable challenge therein, for all the reasons associated with ex post counterfactual identification. As such, different strategies and approaches will be employed, targeting different indicators of impact as the case warrants, with the objective of bringing different types (and degrees of strength) of evidence to bear on the challenge.
The development of new technologies by the various CGIAR Centers/CRPs and their NARs partners seems to hold great promise in addressing the challenge of low agricultural productivity. Yet evidence on whether and how new technologies contribute to increased productivity, income, and ultimately household welfare is limited. The pathway from technological innovation to household welfare is long and complex, and a better understanding of direct and indirect linkages along steps in this chain is needed to fully understand whether and how new technologies can fulfill their promise. SPIA will support experimental studies (randomized or natural) that will provide rigorous casual evidence on these linkages, and where the situation warrants, the potential bottlenecks along the impact pathway.
Many studies over the years have sought to document the impacts of agricultural research although the vast majority of these have focused on crop germplasm improvement, i.e., adoption and impact of improved crop varieties. As such there remain serious gaps in the extent to which impact assessment of other components of the CGIAR portfolio have been conducted. To fill this gap, one of the major activities of SPIA’s new program on Strengthening Impact Assessment in the CGIAR (SIAC) targets what we consider to be under-evaluated areas of CGIAR research, such as livestock management, irrigation management, agroforestry, policy and social sciences, biodiversity and natural research management.
Objective 3 of the Diffusion and Impacts of Improved Varieties in Africa (DIIVA) project aims to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of crop improvement on poverty, nutrition and food security. This builds on the varietal release and adoption data on 152 priority crop-by-country combinations (CCCs), and resulted in three impact assessment studies on how adoption of improved varieties has affected productivity in a sub-set of countries.
The final report for this study features a literature review of evidence assembled to date, a conceptual framework for measuring environmental impacts in the CGIAR, guidance to the CGIAR Centers on the use of non-market valuation approaches, details of four new case studies carried out by scientists at CGIAR Centers, and a new study by SPIA on the impact of crop improvement on agricultural expansion and land-use change.
ASSESSING THE IMPACTS OF INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH ON NUTRITION AND HEALTH IN SSA AND SA, 2014-2016
Improved nutrition is a key CGIAR system level objective (SLO) but the agriculture-health-nutrition nexus is multi-faceted. There is an on-going effort through the CRP on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) to examine effective ways to exploit and enhance the synergies between agriculture, health and nutrition. SPIA recognizes the need to broaden and deepen the evidence base regarding the potential for agriculture research and development to leverage health and nutrition benefits, and complement the on-going work by giving priority to areas that are relatively “under-evaluated”. SPIA will support rigorous studies (using a range of methodologies) that examine the impact of international agricultural research on health and nutrition via on-farm production modalities or via changes in the marketing channels and the governance thereof.
This study documented (measure and value) to the extent possible impacts related to the germplasm collection, conservation, characterization and evaluation (GCCCE) activities by the CGIAR. As past efforts in this sort of assessment had been limited in scope, scale, data and methods, one of the key objectives of this study was to propose a conceptual framework and set of methods that might be applied in future efforts to estimate these types of impacts. The perspective taken with respect to valuation was derived from the concept of total economic value, which embraces multiple sources of value.
In response to many requests from donors to the CGIAR, SPIA initiated this study to document the impact of growing investment by the CGIAR System in policy-oriented research (POR). The reference to ‘policy’ in this study does not define the sector or discipline of research; rather, this classification is based on the intended primary pathway to impact. The research involved can be in the social, biological, or physical sciences, as long as it was undertaken primarily to influence policy as a means of generating ultimate impact.
The goal of this study was to assess how technical change in agriculture may have differential effects on indicators of well being, including poverty levels, hunger and food security, and nutrition. Impact assessments in the CGIAR has largely been focused on the economic impacts of productivity improvements, and relied to a great extent on economic surplus simulation methods and variants thereof. Studies that have looked at impacts on poverty and undernutrition in the past green revolution era have generally been at the local level. It is important to extend the impact analysis and simulation methods to go beyond productivity effects and measure impacts on non-economic indicators of welfare.
Besides an IFPRI study documenting CGIAR-wide impacts in Ethiopia, CIMMYT, IRRI and WorldFish were commissioned to assess impacts of some of their key outputs in specific geographical contexts. In line with SPIA’s objective to improve the quality and rigour of impact studies, study authors, reviewers and experts were brought together to reflect on methodological and data challenges and lessons for the future in July 2014.