AgResults learning takes two forms:
Since 2013, AgResults has developed a variety of knowledge products, which can be found in the Learning Library below.
May 23, 2023
Two years’ after the project’s conclusion, Evaluators found that several companies and many farmers were continuing to use (with some adaptation) rice production systems that had been introduced by companies during the competition. Farmers were more likely to use those systems if they received continuing support from the company and if water management systems were reliable.
This assessment, conducted during project implementation, found significant diversity in the roles men and women play in households’ dairy activities, with female farmers often less well positioned than males to achieve and benefit from dairy intensification. While the project’s design offsets some risk of negative outcomes to women, payment-for-results projects have limited leeway to promote gender equity.
February 16, 2023
The AgResults Tanzania Dairy Challenge Project was established to incentivize private sector input suppliers to raise awareness and educate smallholder farmers on the value of adopting productivity-increasing input bundles to enhance production and strengthen dairy-based livelihoods. This Lessons Learned article explores how the project has already made an impactful shift in the dairy input supplier model and market, strengthening SHF’s demand for improved inputs.
October 14, 2022
From 2014-2018, the AgResults Zambia Biofortified Maize Challenge Project tried to tackle Vitamin A deficiency by increasing the awareness around and consumption of biofortified, pro-Vitamin A (PVA) maize. This Lessons Learned article explores the post-project PVA maize market in Zambia, looking at changes in PVA maize seed production, public and private sector demand, and broader shifts in consumption patterns.
October 6, 2022
This report from External Evaluator IDinsight documents findings from the baseline Process Tracing evaluation of the AgResults Senegal Crop Storage Finance Challenge Project. The purpose of the baseline Process Tracing evaluation was to assess the state of the storage finance market during early stages of the project and assess if the preconditions are in place for the project to have its intended impact.
October 4, 2022
This brief by External Evaluator Abt Associates discusses quantitative methods for conducting impact assessments of smallholder farmer benefits from donor-devised interventions that stimulate private sector engagement in markets for technologies benefiting the farmers. The brief presents three AgResults Pay-for-Results competitions as examples and offers seven lessons for evaluators.
February 14, 2022
This one-pager summarizes results and lessons learned from the Vietnam GHG Emissions Reduction Challenge Project, which used a Pay-for-Results prize competition structure to incentivize private sector competitors to test and scale technology packages among smallholder rice farmers in Thai Binh Province. Over four seasons, four competitors reached 37,596 different smallholder farmers across 507 villages.
January 28, 2022
This evaluation final report by Abt Associates shows that Pay-for-Results spurred private sector development and dissemination of emissions-reducing, yield-enhancing technology packages among smallholder farmers in Vietnam. A 2100-farmer survey showed that AgResults farmers achieved 14 percent higher yields than comparison farmers and used practices associated with lower emissions. However, project measurements of emissions were uncertain, so evaluators could not determine emissions impact. Future projects should pay attention to reliability of field-based emissions measurements.
January 27, 2022
This brief summarizes the final evaluation report of the Vietnam GHG Emissions Reduction Challenge Project, showing that PfR can spur the private sector to develop and disseminate emissions-reducing technology packages for smallholder farmers. AgResults farmers achieved 14 percent higher yields than comparison farmers and were more likely to use practices associated with lower GHG emissions. The project’s main challenge was obtaining reliable measurements of emissions.
November 15, 2021
In Vietnam, rice is a critical crop for income and food security. However, current production practices can lead to high rates of unwanted greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute heavily to climate change. The AgResults Vietnam GHG Emissions Reduction Challenge Project (2016-2021) used a Pay-for-Results (PfR) prize competition to encourage the private sector in Thai Binh to test, develop, and scale improved technology packages among smallholder rice farmers. Over four growing seasons, four competitors engaged more than 25,000 farmers, increasing yields by 4-14% and incomes by 10-15%.
July 21, 2021
This brief, the fifth and final in the series, provides an overview of the fifth phase of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. It explains how program designers can develop a thorough verification plan to evaluate competitors’ results and determine prize payments. It also summarizes the activities involved in project management of a prize competition.
July 9, 2021
This brief, the fourth in a series of five, provides an overview of the fourth phase of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. It explains how program designers can determine the size of the prize purse to effectively drive participation and innovation without overpaying for results.
June 25, 2021
This brief, the third in a series of five, provides an overview of the third phase of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. It explains how program designers can create the set of parameters and rules that determines who competes, how to win the prize(s), and the implementation timeline.
June 16, 2021
This brief, the second in a series of five, provides an overview of the second phase of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. It explains how program designers conduct deeper research on relevant market systems to articulate a Theory of Change for the competition and to reasonably estimate the project’s impacts.
May 24, 2021
The first in a series of five, this brief provides an overview of concept sourcing, the first phase of AgResults’ Pay-for-Results prize competition design process. It shows how program designers begin the process by brainstorming and assessing potential development challenges to see if a prize competition is best suited to address the identified problem.
May 17, 2021
The evaluation design for the Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project by Abt Associates lays out a mixed-methods approach. To assess impact on dairy producers, the evaluator will use a quasi-experimental design to gauge technology adoption and subsequent impacts on income and consumption. The approach will use a structure, conduct, performance framework to assess market impact.
May 11, 2021
This report by External Evaluator Abt Associates summarizes independent evaluation findings from competitions in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia and offers guidance for future prize sponsors. It provides evidence that Pay-for-Results (PfR) competitions can spur development of markets for technologies benefitting smallholder farmers. It also offers guidance on how to determine whether PfR is an appropriate design option and how to maximize farmer benefits.
May 7, 2021
This sustainability assessment by External Evaluator Abt Associates looking at the Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project affirms that Pay-for-Results projects can catalyze development of a smallholder- and gender-inclusive, sustainable market for beneficial agricultural technologies. Since the project ended, there have been new entrants to the market, ongoing product innovation, and a 250% increase in sales of on-farm storage products attributable to AgResults.
February 19, 2021
This toolkit is a practical guide for agricultural development practitioners who are interested in using Pay-for-Results prize competitions to stimulate new markets for agricultural technologies and engage the private sector for scale-up. It draws upon the experience of AgResults, which has designed and implemented prize competitions around the world since 2013.
January 19, 2021
The evaluation design for the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Vaccine Challenge Project, by IDinsight, lays out a mixed-methods approach relying primarily on qualitative process-tracing techniques. The document highlights the role of data collected from potential vaccine manufacturers, buyers, policymakers, and others to explore how the project impacts the development and uptake of FMD vaccines in Eastern Africa.
January 4, 2021
This brief summarizes the close-out assessment of the Zambia Biofortified Maize Challenge Project. External Evaluator Abt Associates found that the competition helped develop a niche market for Pro-Vitamin A maize, although Vitamin A-deficient populations were a small portion of those who consumed the maize. The brief underscores the importance of directly targeting intended beneficiaries in project design.
This assessment by External Evaluator Abt Associates, updated in December 2020, found that the AgResults project played a role in creating a niche market for PVA maize, although with limited development impact because the market involved mostly better-off smallholder farmers and urban consumers. Findings suggested that the market would likely be sustained in the short to medium term.
November 21, 2020
Evaluator Abt Associates revisited the Nigeria Aflasafe Challenge Project at its conclusion, two years after the comprehensive mixed-methods assessment. They found that private sector involvement in the Aflasafe-treated maize market had increased despite reduction in the AgResults incentive, but that the Aflasafe-treated maize market’s sustainability was uncertain given general maize market instability and delayed implementation of aflatoxin-related policies.
November 18, 2020
The Nigeria Aflasafe Challenge Project evaluation (published in February 2019, end-of-project update added November 2020) found that the project succeeded in creating a niche market for Aflasafe-treated maize. Aflasafe adoption increased by 56 percentage points, and average net income from maize increased by 16 percent. The sustainability of the market is uncertain.
November 11, 2020
The evaluation design for the Vietnam GHG Emissions Reduction Challenge Project, by Abt Associates, lays out a mixed methods approach, including a randomized control design. The document highlights the role of interviews, surveys, and farmer diaries to explore the effect of the Vietnam project on the market for emissions-reducing technologies and to estimate impacts on farmers’ knowledge, attitude, practices, and incomes.
November 1, 2020
This brief, updated in November 2020, summarizes evaluation findings for the Nigeria project. External Evaluator Abt Associates found that AgResults helped create a niche market for Aflasafe-treated maize and an increase in farmers’ uptake of Aflasafe and net maize income. Market sustainability is uncertain due to unstable market conditions and delays in implementation of aflatoxin-related policies.
October 7, 2020
Abt Associates’ evaluation design of the Vietnam GHG Emissions Reduction Challenge Project envisions a randomized control design. This report assesses the success of the initial randomization and confirms that competitors adhered to rules respecting communes set aside for control; it also confirms similarities between control and treatment groups at baseline.
This brief by External Evaluator Abt Associates explores how Pay-for-Results (PfR) projects could potentially perpetuate disadvantages that women face in agricultural market systems and suggests project design approaches to improve gender outcomes. It also presents results from AgResults’ Kenya PfR project that led to unique benefits for women.
September 14, 2020
Since 2013, AgResults has been designing and implementing agricultural prize competitions to encourage the private sector to "solve" a market failure and work toward a defined goal to receive a monetary award. In this cross-cutting learning document, AgResults presents 12 key takeaways based on its experience with prize concept design and sourcing; launch and marketing; and running a prize competition.
August 26, 2020
More than 4.5 billion people in developing countries are exposed to aflatoxins, one of the world’s most carcinogenic substances, through their diets. Yet a biocontrol solution exists: AflasafeTM. The AgResults Nigeria AflasafeTM Challenge Project (2013-2019) used a Pay-for-Results (PfR) prize competition to motivate the private sector to overcome critical barriers preventing widespread adoption of AflasafeTM among Nigerian smallholder farmers working in the maize sector. Over six years, the competition engaged 41 competitors to reach 75,788 farmers, producing more than 315,000MT of AflasafeTM-treated maize.
August 14, 2020
This baseline report by External Evaluator Abt Associates describes the Brucellosis vaccine landscape at baseline. Evaluators found that the vaccine market is weak and no new vaccines to control Brucellosis have been developed in recent years. Evaluators also found that the Milestone 1 prize seemed to incentivize some new entities to initiate Brucellosis vaccine R&D.
July 10, 2020
This brief by External Evaluator Abt Associates summarizes the evaluation of the AgResults Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project. Abt Associates found that the competition created an emerging market for improved on-farm storage devices and increased adoption of on-farm storage technologies. However, impacts on farmer income were small. The brief underscores the challenge of constructing an accurate theory of change.
June 5, 2020
This DFID Chief Economist Seminar Series presentation from February 2020 summarizes External Evaluator Abt Associates' findings about the use of “pull mechanisms” or “prize competitions” to develop markets that provide innovative agricultural technologies to smallholder farmers. Findings suggest that pull mechanisms can create markets as long as the binding constraints inhibiting market development are within the manageable interest of the companies competing for the prize.
May 15, 2020
This assessment by External Evaluator Abt Associates reflects the experience of competitors in the Brucellosis Vaccine Challenge Project from mid-2018 to mid-2019. Most competitors reported that the competition had helped advance their B. melitensis vaccine R&D. However, many of them anticipated challenges completing the safety and efficacy trials due to resource constraints.
April 30, 2020
The external evaluation of the Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project found that the project created an emerging market for improved on-farm storage products in Kenya. Impacts on farmer income and food security were small, and the main reported benefit of adoption was reduced use of pesticide dust in maize stored for home consumption.
January 2, 2020
Despite the nutritional and environmental benefits of legumes, Ugandan seed companies have not prioritized legume seed production due to fluctuations in demand, low profitability, and limited access to working capital. The AgResults Uganda Legume Seed Challenge Project, which ran from 2017-2018, used a Pay-for-Results prize competition to encourage Ugandan seed companies to increase the production and adoption of improved higher-quality legume varieties. Despite the project’s early closure due to ongoing seed counterfeiting, low participation in the competition, and challenges of seed quality verification, it still revealed valuable learning around what works and what does not work when designing and implementing a prize competition focused on increasing sales of quality seed.
October 24, 2019
Eastern Africa grows nearly 20% of the grain produced in sub-Saharan Africa, yet the region suffers from post-harvest grain losses that cost about US$1.6 billion per year. The AgResults Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project (2014-2018) used a Pay-for-Results prize competition to motivate private competitors to develop, market, and sell on-farm storage devices to smallholder farmers in the country's Rift Valley and Eastern Regions. Overall, participating competitors sold a total of 1,390,777 improved storage devices, creating 413,265 MT of improved storage capacity.
September 15, 2019
This presentation from the 2019 Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL) Multi-Stakeholder Partnership (MSP) meeting introduces AgResults' framework, which uses prize competitions to encourage the private sector to overcome market challenges. The World Bank and AgResults Secretariat share lessons from designing and implementing competitions to strengthen livestock health and productivity: a global Brucellosis vaccine competition, a vaccine competition to address Foot and Mouth Disease in Eastern Africa, and a Tanzania-based competition to boost dairy productivity.
August 18, 2019
In Zambia, approximately 31% of children and 21% of women are affected by Vitamin A deficiency. The Zambia Biofortified Maize Challenge Project (2014-2018) used a Pay-for-Results (PfR) prize structure to incentivize commercial millers to source, produce, and market Pro-Vitamin A (PVA) maize meal and boost consumer demand to increase PVA maize consumption. Although the project closed early due to the lack of market response and ongoing enabling environment challenges, it still resulted in rich learning around what works and does not work when designign and implementing PfR prize competitions.
August 1, 2019
The evaluationdesign for the Brucellosis Vaccine Challenge Project lays out the approach to assessing the project's influence in stimulating the development of an improved Brucella melitensis vaccine. Evaluators used a qualitative assessment and counterfactual disease study to examine technology development and used cost-effectiveness simulations as well.
July 11, 2019
The AgResults Prize Concept Review Framework assesses concepts for validity as a prize competition. The framework comprises four key questions on the (a) market failure, (b) missions impact, (c) prize design, and (d) enabling environment.
March 28, 2019
Which factors empowered private sector companies to develop, market, and sell on-farm storage devices to smallholders in Kenya? Which factors hindered others' success? This Lessons Learned article explores the perspectives of those competitors who participated in the Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project.
December 13, 2018
What were some of the challenges and opportunities that arose among the private sector companies that participated in the Nigeria Aflasafe Challenge Project? This Lessons Learned article shares insights that emerged from discussing competitors' experiences and perspectives.
December 11, 2018
This presentation for COP24 highlights the AgResults Vietnam Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Challenge Project, specifically efforts of private sector participants to scale up improved technologies to help farmers increase rice yields while decreasing GHG emissions. The project aims to reach 20,000 smallholder farmer households across the Thai Binh province in the Red River Delta.
December 3, 2018
Written by Tanager, the Project Manager for the Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project, this report summarizes the objectives, approach, and achievements of the project, which aimed to encourage sales of on-farm grain storage devices to smallholder farmers.
November 22, 2018
This presentation includes an overview of AgResults pull mechanisms, the evaluation framework for the external evaluation and initial lessons learned. The authors are Tulika Narayan and Denise Mainville of Abt Associates and Denise Mainville Consulting.
October 15, 2018
In this presentation for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Congress 2018, Dr. Tran Thu Ha illustrates key features of the most effective technology packages developed by competitors in the Vietnam Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Challenge Project.
In this presentation for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Congress 2018, Dr. William Salas explores the role that remote sensing and modeling technologies have played to gather critical data on the efficacy of different rice growing practices.
September 26, 2018
This presentation from the Scaling Up Conference at Purdue University in September 2018 explores how private sector companies participating in the Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project employed different tactics to increase smallholder farmers' access to and use of on-farm storage devices.
August 1, 2018
This report presents baseline evaluation results for the Uganda Legume Seed Challenge Project, which was terminated early. It includes findings from a survey of 1,800 smallholders, in-depth interviews with a subset of farmers, and seed quality assessment results using seed from 300 farmers who reported using quality seed.
March 1, 2018
How do you design an effective approach to project verification in a Pay-for-Results project? This Lessons Learned article explains how the Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project ran into challenges with its original verification structure and course-corrected using survey data.
February 1, 2018
This Lessons Learned article explores the experience of AgResults during the Brucellosis Challenge design, launch, and Year 1 implementation phases.
January 19, 2018
This Lessons Learned Brief provides an overview of the verification process followed to gauge rice crop growth and GHG emission data among farms participating in the Vietnam Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Challenge Project.
January 15, 2018
This report from January 2018 presents the findings from a Randomized Rural Household Survey (RRHS) conducted in 14 counties of Kenya as part of the AgResults Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project. The RRHS aimed to understand the proportion of smallholder farmers living in those 14 counties where the project worked and to estimate the number of on-farm storage devices purchased by those farmers.
January 2, 2018
The Nigeria Aflasafe Challenge Project was the first AgResults Pay-for-Results prize contest. This Lessons Learned article outlines the project's development objectives and reflects on the role and value of the PfR structure.
November 1, 2017
Pull mechanisms require a solid understanding of the market and the motivations of the private sector. This November 2017 brief, with examples from AgResults’ work in Kenya, provides guidance for development practitioners interested in incorporating pull mechanisms in their own work.
September 1, 2017
Shifting policies and political objectives prompted AgResults to adjust the original design of the Uganda Improved Legume Seed Challenge Project. This Lessons Learned article explores the reasoning behind these design changes and the insights that emerged.
This Learning Brief discusses the challenges in creating a verification baseline for the Vietnam Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Challenge Project, which aims to develop, test, and scale up innovations to reduce GHG emissions while increase rice yields in the Red River Delta. The brief reviews the approach to set this baseline, involving household surveys, analysis, and stakeholder buy-in.
This Lessons Learned article analyzes initial project design decisions and the adaptation that followed as part of the AgResults Zambia Biofortified Maize Challenge Project. As challenges emerged - including a disconnect between supply and demand, variations in government policy, and an unrealistic incentive structure - the project had to adjust to get into a better position to achieve its objectives and sales goals.
March 1, 2017
Governments and philanthropists are increasingly considering prize contests to spark creative solutions to thorny social problems. But only a few contests have been systematically evaluated. This March 2017 evaluation framework — based on AgResults’ work to evaluate Brucellosis vaccine development — can be applied to any innovation challenge.
February 7, 2017
The Uganda Legume Seed Challenge Project’s evaluation design envisions a performance evaluation using a pre-post design to assess project success in creating a smallholder-inclusive market for quality legume seed. It uses a structure-conduct-performance framework to assess market impact and a baseline-endline comparison of smallholder farmer survey data to understand smallholder benefits.
April 4, 2016
The baseline report for the Zambia Biofortified Maize Challenge Project evaluation uses data from 212 interviews of maize market actors (including smallholders, rural non-farming residents, retailers, and millers), as well as 1,013 interviews with urban shoppers. It presents findings about market actors’ and consumers’ awareness, production, purchase, and consumption of pro-Vitamin A maize.
July 13, 2015
The evaluation design for the Zambia Biofortified Maize Challenge Project presents how evaluators will assess whether the project motivates industrial maize millers to invest in and drive expansion of the pro-Vitamin A maize market. The report presents the structure-conduct-performance framework, pre-post comparison design, and data collection methods (qualitative interviews; quantitative survey of low-income urban consumers).
April 20, 2015
This report presents baseline findings for the Kenya On Farm Storage Challenge Project based on survey data from 4,765 farming households and extensive qualitative data. It describes low uptake of improved on-farm storage at baseline but identifies latent demand in the market. The report also describes farmers’ maize revenue and food security.
December 30, 2014
The evaluation design for the Nigeria Aflasafe Challenge Project lays out the approach to assess the project’s influence in stimulating a smallholder-inclusive market for Aflasafe-treated maize. Evaluators assess market impact using a structure-conduct-performance framework. To evaluate smallholder benefits, the design proposes a randomized control trial (later adapted to a quasi-experimental design).
June 27, 2014
The Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project’s evaluation design report lays out the approach to assess whether the project stimulates a smallholder-inclusive market for improved on-farm storage devices. Evaluators assess impact on the market using a structure-conduct-performance framework. To evaluate resulting smallholder benefits, the report describes a short interrupted time series design.