AgResults is a $152 million multilateral initiative that uses Pay-for-Results prize competitions to incentivize, or “pull”, the private sector to overcome agricultural market barriers by investing in innovative research and delivery solutions that improve the lives of smallholder farmers. At our core we are an experiential learning initiative, continuously building evidence on what works, and what does not, in using prize competitions to spur sustainable market change.Read more about our approach
Smallholder Farmers Reached
Current and Past Projects
Prize Funds Awarded (approx)
This is the fifth and final post in a series to provide an overview of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. The first, second, third, and fourth posts provide details on the earlier phases of design. For more information about the entire process, check out the full design toolkit that was published in February 2021.
Are you designing a Pay-for-Results prize competition and trying to figure out how to size the prizes to effectively drive participation without overpaying for results? We are pleased to share our “Verification and Project Management” design brief, the fifth and final in a series that summarizes AgResults’ approach to designing Pay-for-Results prize competitions. In this brief (linked here), we explain how to develop a sound verification plan to evaluate competitors’ reported results and compliance with competition rules to determine prize payments. The brief also summarizes the range of activities involved in project management, including competitor engagement, dispute resolution, communications, and progress reporting.
By taking the time to develop robust plans for verification and project management, designers can create competitions that are more likely to succeed and make an impact....
Access to finance is crucial for businesses to support and expand operations; otherwise, they lack the cash flow needed to make upfront investments and deliver goods and services to their consumers. Sometimes, limited access to finance is enough to stifle an entire market.
AgResults, a $152 million initiative that designs and implements Pay-for-Results prize competitions to motivate the private sector to overcome agricultural market failures, learned the importance of access to finance through its Nigeria competition (2013-2019) that encouraged uptake of AflasafeTM among smallholder maize farmers. Early on, many competing maize aggregators struggled to afford upfront purchases of AflasafeTM. Only those that managed to identify and access finance were able to deliver AflasafeTM and other inputs to smallholder farmers to produce higher-quality maize. In other words, access to finance unlocked their ability to succeed and scale.
Thanks to the lessons from Nigeria and its other projects, AgResults has taken a proactive approach to increase access to finance with its Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project (2019-2023), which awards prizes to private sector input suppliers and dairy processors to deliver input bundles of parasite control, nutrition, vaccines, and/or AI — along with extension services — to smallholder farmers to increase the quality and quantity of milk production.
Understanding that many input businesses in Tanzania historically struggled to get credit, AgResults knew it was important to engage stakeholders along the value chain right away to create a stronger financial enabling environment. Along with government representatives, donor representatives and potential competitors, financial institutions were invited to the project’s launch in November 2019, where they learned about the project’s goal and prize structure. Formally receiving this information reassured the banks that the prize was legitimate and showed that it could be worthwhile to grant loans to those businesses that qualified.
At the event, National Microfinance Bank and CRDB Bank presented on credit facilities available to competing input providers based on their business operations and also talked one-on-one with competitors about the loan process. Empowered with this knowledge, input suppliers assessed their capacity to finance operations during the competition and conducted an inventory of their existing customer base and potential new customers to gauge the investment needed to facilitate the commitments in their loan application. The assessment results forced competitors to think more deeply about how to mobilize funds to support the commitments made when they chose to participate in the competition. The results also showed companies how to provide more targeted solutions to their customer base.
Located in the Morogoro Region of Tanzania, Damian Agrovet has sold agricultural inputs and offered extension services to dairy farmers for 18 years. Prior to the AgResults competition, Damian could not find the right financial resources to make upfront investments in pasture, standard dairy meal, and cold chain for quality artificial insemination (AI) services.
However, thanks to the competition’s proactive approach to connect businesses with banks, Damian had all the necessary pieces to approach NMB and access a loan of TZS 17 million to support their business goals. Through the loan, Damian purchased a 35kg tank for storing liquid Nitrogen, two 3kg tanks for AI service delivery, and a motorbike to ensure that AI services could be delivered on time. This infrastructure enabled Damian to register 81 AI transactions in four months, leading to 37 reported cow pregnancies.
Damian Agrovet also used a portion of the finances to purchase hay and fodder so that its farmers could access a ‘complete’ nutrition bundle per the prize competition criteria. To help more distant farmers access hay at competitive prices, Damian diversified the loan to develop a cost-effective dairy meal that met standard requirements with support from TanFeeds International, a feed manufacturing company. With these linkages in place, Damian could promote the use of standard dairy meal to improve milk production and nutrition for cows, preparing them for AI services.
During Sales Period 1 (July 17, 2020 – April 16, 2021), Damian delivered 77,133.5 kg of standard dairy meal through 552 sales transactions. Selling more standard dairy meal also drove up how many AI services they offered: Damian sold 6,600 kg of standard dairy meal in December 2020 and 24,500 kg in January 2021, which then led to sales of 98 conventional semen straws in January and February. This trend continued through the end of the sales period.
The long-term impact of access to finance goes beyond higher input sales. By proactively addressing the challenge of access to finance early in the competition, AgResults has empowered Damian Agrovet and other input suppliers to build sustainable relationships with banks and use prizes to pay loans and further scale their operations. This same capital is helping businesses expand access to inputs among smallholder farmers, increasing productivity and strengthening the entire dairy sector in Tanzania....
This is the fourth in a series to provide an overview of the five phases of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. The first post, second post, and third post provide details on earlier phases of design. For more information about the entire process, check out the full design toolkit that was published in February 2021.
Are you designing a Pay-for-Results prize competition and trying to figure out how to size the prizes to effectively drive participation without overpaying for results?
We are pleased to share our “Right-Sizing Prizes” design brief, the fourth in a series of five briefs that summarizes AgResults’ approach to designing Pay-for-Results prize competitions. In this brief (linked here), we explain how program designers can use different approaches to size and validate a prize purse so that it is appropriate for the target competitor and the complexity of the target problem.
By considering the project’s goals and actions it intends to motivate, as well as the investments that competitors may make along the way, designers can ensure that a prize doesn’t end up overpaying and distorting the market or underpaying and failing to incentivize competitor action.
Keep an eye out for the fifth design brief on “Verification and Project Management” that will be published soon!...
June 30, 2021
On June 30, the AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project held a prize event to recognize the achievements of input suppliers over the competition’s first sales period to deliver productivity-increasing inputs to smallholder farmers. Since 2020, the project has tackled issues of low dairy productivity and limited access to inputs, providing monetary prizes for businesses that deliver a variety of input ‘bundles’ and advisory services to farmers.
Held in Dar es Salaam, the Sales Period 1 Prize Ceremony brought together government representatives, development partners, and private sector stakeholders to recognize the project’s accomplishments over the first year and reflect on its potential to strengthen the dairy sector. The event featured a range of perspectives, from donors to Project Manager Land O’Lakes Venture37 to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries – culminating in the announcement of prizes.
The event began with welcoming remarks from Land O’Lakes Venture37 Team Leader Neema Mrema, who provided an overview of the project and its significance in Tanzania.
“On behalf of the AgResults initiative and the Project Manager Land O’Lakes Venture37, it gives me immense pleasure to host this event and to recognize the achievements of the six input businesses,” said Ms. Mrema. “It is important to showcase the commitment that these competitors have demonstrated over the last nine months to ensure smallholder farmers are well-served with quality dairy inputs and, just as importantly, with advisory services.”
Following this, Rodrigo Ortiz from the AgResults Secretariat spoke to how the Tanzania project fits into the broader goals and approach of the initiative.
“AgResults incentivizes the private sector to overcome market barriers and develop innovative solutions to food security, nutrition, health, and livestock productivity challenges,” Mr. Ortiz said. “We are very pleased with the competitors’ participation and achievements as they invested time and resources to try out new methods of reaching farmers and packaging critical inputs together, along with important technical assistance.”
USAID/Tanzania Mission Director Andrew Karas spoke next, reflecting on the benefits of testing Pay-for-Results prize competitions as a development approach to drive market systems development and strengthen relationships among value chain actors.
“The first Sales Period has already shown the potential of this competition to improve the lives of smallholder dairy farmers,” said Mr. Karas. “The donor community is very excited to see what the competition achieves over its four years as it continues to use Pay-for-Results prizes to encourage growth and collaboration along the dairy value chain.”
Professor Elisante Ole Gabriel, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, spoke as the Guest of Honor, recognizing the significance of the prize competition to shape Tanzania’s market growth and benefit its farmers.
“There is no doubt that during its initial year of implementation, this project has shown remarkable results,” said Professor Gabriel. “It is our ultimate hope that it will be scaled to other geographies in Tanzania. These results give us confidence that through private public partnerships, we can solve related issues such as extension service delivery and the supply of high-quality inputs for smallholder farmers.”
After these speeches, it was time to present the prizes, during which four competitors out of the six participants were recognized for their sales of input bundles to smallholder farmers from July 2020 – April 2021. The four winners — Kile Agrovet, Damian Agrovet, Vetfarm, and Agricare — engaged 2,776 smallholder farmers and delivered 4,858 input bundles, winning a total of $27,000.
"Thanks to the competitors for trusting the project and delivering inputs and advisory services to smallholder farmers in both urban and rural areas," said Dr. Sophia Mlote, who represented the AgResults Technical Advisory Committee.
The competitors also reflected enthusiasm for the project's first year and the impact it was already having on their approach to input delivery and advisory services.
"We are appreciative of the donor community to incentivize us," said Dr. Emmanuel Swai from Vetfarm. "The award received will be used to increase investment and increase market share with a focus on those in remote areas."
Ms. Mrema accurately captured the excitement and energy that was felt during the entire event.
“Your participation gives us an incredibly positive sign that we are collectively working together towards transformation of the dairy sector,” she said.
The Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project is part of AgResults, a $152 million collaborative initiative between the governments of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Bank Group that uses prize competition to incentivize the private sector to overcome market barriers and create lasting change. Under AgResults’ Pay-for-Results model, these competitions encourage actors to achieve predetermined results thresholds and quality for monetary prizes....
June 28, 2021
This is the third in a series to provide an overview of the five phases of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. You can find the first blog post here and the second blog post here. For more information about the entire process, check out the full design toolkit that was published in February 2021.
Are you starting to design a Pay-for-Results prize competition and want to know how to structure the prize so that it is effective and motivating?
We are pleased to share our “Structuring Prizes” design brief, the third in a series of five briefs that summarize AgResults’ approach to designing Pay-for-Results prize competitions. In this brief (linked here), we explain 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.
By strategically identifying competitors and developing payment indicators, structures, and triggers, designers can craft a prize structure with high potential to drive sustainable market systems change that benefits program beneficiaries. When structured strategically, a prize competition can mitigate competitor risks and encourage private sector actors to develop new business models and reach previously untapped markets.
Keep an eye out for the fourth design brief on “Right-sizing Prizes” that will be published soon!...
June 16, 2021
This is the second in a series to provide an overview of the five phases of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. You can find the first blog post here. For more information about the entire process, check out the full design toolkit that was published in February 2021.
Have an idea for a Pay-for-Results prize competition but looking for a proven way to gauge its feasibility?
We are pleased to share our “Analyzing Feasibility” design brief, the second in a series of five briefs that summarize AgResults’ approach to designing Pay-for-Results prize competitions. In this brief (linked here), we explain how program designers can analyze a prize concept’s viability to assess if it has merit to proceed to a prize structuring phase.
By researching relevant market systems, designers can articulate a Theory of Change to project how a prize competition can achieve systemic change. Focusing on target beneficiaries, government and donor activities, and key private sector actors can also help designers reasonably estimate impacts for the proposed competition to decide whether to proceed with its implementation.
Keep an eye out for the third design brief on “Structuring Prizes” that will be published soon!...