Case study

Scaling impact: Extending input delivery to smallholder farmers at scale

Ben Fowler Dan White

Evidence

for market systems approaches

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Published by
ACDI/VOCA
Project implementer
ACDI/VOCA
Donor
USAID
Programme
Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO)
Results level
Systemic change
Method
Observational / Qualitative
Data source
Interviews
Intervention type
Improved input supply

The review of case studies as part of the Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) USAID funded project seeks to identify constraints to large scale access and adoption of commercial inputs by small holder farmers. The review considers different input supply models and focuses in-depth on 9 case studies which have reached significant scale. Their performance is assessed on four measures: outreach, output, sustainability and equity.

Main findings

  • The need to standardize and use consistent definitions and methods for calculating outreach and outcomes across projects.
  • Important lessons for input supply policy and project design are highlighted, while noting multiple approaches to input delivery. Input application knowledge needs to be complemented with input access / supply; agricultural inputs market systems are context specific and hence flexibility is important.
  • The managerial and strategic capacity of larger firms makes them more capable of expanding outreach post-project yet small-holder farmers may not be prioritised by large firms.
  • Evaluation of sustainability (post project continued capacity of input market systems) and equity needs to be further assessed.

Intervention description

The case studies analysed include components on improving input supply, building market linkages and providing services to small holder farmers. The drivers and mechanisms for input supply varied in the cases with the main goal being increasing farmer incomes and improving livelihoods.

Evidence methodology

  • The analysis of case studies included review of project documentation such as progress reports and external evaluation reports in addition to key informant interviews.
  • Performance is reviewed against the pre-identified measures of outreach, output, sustainability and equity.
  • Using a theory of change approach the key assumptions are identified and the various cases are categorised based on the drivers of input supply including input suppliers (e.g. wholesalers, manufacturers), village-based micro entrepreneurs, lenders, farmer collectives, and buyers.

Useful for:

Interventions focusing on the commercial input industry.