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)
October 3, 2022
Improvements to air quality can have many benefits, ranging from public health to agriculture to water quality. From September 26-30, the Global Methane, Climate, and Clean Air Forum discussed opportunities to protect the climate and improve air quality, specifically focusing on the role and impact of methane. AgResults joined the conversation on September 28, contributing its perspective on using a Pay-for-Results prize competition to scale climate-smart agriculture technologies to mitigate GHG emissions in Vietnam rice farming.
The Forum, sponsored by the Global Methane Initiative and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition, brought together industry leaders, technical experts, researchers, and policymakers to engage in a series of plenary sessions and technical panels. In addition to an in-person gathering just outside of Washington, D.C., the Forum featured a virtual attendance option.
On September 28, Justin Kosoris of AgResults joined a technical panel session titled “Best Practices in Scaling Mitigation from Paddy Rice” that was moderated by Jack Okamuro of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other panelists included: Tran Dai Dghia of Vietnam; Michele Reba of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Bjoern Ole Sander of the International Rice Research Institute; and Shailendra Mishra of Olam.
During his presentation, Mr. Kosoris explored how AgResults’ Pay-for-Results prize competition (2017-2021) in Vietnam encouraged the private sector in Thai Binh Province to develop and scale rice farming technology packages to mitigate GHG emissions, reduce water consumption, and increase productivity. By working with smallholder rice farmers in the Red River Delta, competing businesses were able to adjust their business models and investment strategies to raise awareness of climate-smart agriculture practices.
“While the total GHG emissions were less than originally anticipated, the project showed the potential for this type of funding mechanism to drive greenhouse gas-mitigating behaviors at scale,” said Mr. Kosoris. “Our challenge now is to develop cost-effective means of verifying emissions reductions, particularly as carbon markets begin to emerge for agricultural commodities.”
The project, which used a Pay-for-Results prize competition structure, worked well as a model to incentivize scaling in part because all three main stakeholder groups saw the ‘pull’ mechanism as effective: Private sector companies saw it as sufficient motivation to drive changes to their business model to promote sustainable rice farming technologies. Smallholder farmers saw it as a means to access new farming techniques and innovative fertilizer products that improved yields and value chain relationships. And the Thai Binh Province government viewed the PfR model as having potential to replicate elsewhere in the country.
In terms of what comes next for Vietnam, there are already efforts underway to scale the AgResults approach in the Mekong Delta and develop an alternative to the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP). These activities aim to cover 200-500,000 hectares, driving wide-scale adoption of green farming practices, increasing incomes, and empowering women-led households and enterprises.
Through its five days, the Global Methane, Climate, and Clean Air Forum successfully engaged a diverse set of stakeholders to discuss the importance of air quality and the significance of methane in this discussion. AgResults was glad to join the conversation and share its perspective on the role that a Pay-for-Results approach can play to incentivize adoption and scaling of climate-smart agricultural technologies and practices.
For more information on the Global Methane, Climate, and Clean Air Forum, visit the conference website. For more details on the Vietnam GHG Emissions Reduction Challenge Project, check out the final report and the project page....
September 19, 2022
Of the many threats that Tanzania’s dairy sector faces, disease is one of the biggest. Parasitic, viral, and bacterial diseases not only limit livestock productivity but also increase animal mortality. For example, tick-borne diseases cause about 72% of annual cattle mortality in Tanzania. In theory, these diseases can be controlled by drugs and improved animal health services; in reality, most smallholder dairy farmers have limited knowledge of the necessary practices to manage their animals’ health.
This limited knowledge, combined with an historical struggle to acquire productivity-enhancing inputs on the market to prevent parasites and diseases, has affected animal health, reduced milk production, increased animal mortality, and had economic consequences for smallholder farmers. However, by increasing access to high-quality inputs, including vaccines and parasite control, as well as learning proper practices to use them, smallholder farmers can improve the health of their animals – increasing productivity and incomes.
The AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project is a four-year Pay-for-Results prize competition that encourages private sector input suppliers to sell productivity-increasing inputs to smallholder farmers. By providing a prize for each bundle of inputs delivered by participating input providers (competitors), the competition plans to increase animal health and productivity, boost smallholder farmers’ income, and strengthen value chain relationships between dairy producers and the formal dairy sector. Eligible inputs include parasite control, nutrition, vaccines, and artificial insemination (AI). Importantly, to qualify for a prize, competing input providers must provide embedded advisory services with the bundles.
In Sales Periods 1 and 2, competitors used advisory services to promote smallholders’ use and understanding of these inputs. Competitors have increased the number of farm visits conducted by their extensionists, resulting in more diverse as well as repeat sales and improved relationships among smallholder farmers and competitors. Some competitors have even opened additional retail outlets in remote regions of the country for farmers who previously did not have access to improved inputs or advisory services. These advisory services help farmers to not only understand the importance of adopting these inputs but to see results.
As part of their strategy to proactively provide advisory services to smallholder farmers, competing input suppliers have incorporated a range of other activities, such as establishing good recordkeeping practices to support their business operations, using professional veterinary technicians specifically for AI and vaccination services, and providing extensionists with tools and equipment as they provide services to smallholder farmers. These actions are helping competitors to earn the trust of their farmer clients, strengthening relationships along the value chain and the overall enabling environment.
Like other leading competitors, input provider Damian Agrovet has enthusiastically embraced providing advisory services in Sales Period 1 and 2 to equip farmers with the knowledge and skills that they need. By recruiting professional extensionists in the Gairo District, the company has provided advisory services to individuals and groups through frequent farm and village visits. Through these visits, Damian has seen repeat sales of inputs as well as improved livestock management among participating smallholder farmers.
With these higher sales and stronger relationships built during the more frequent farm visits, tick infestations and mortality rates have dropped while milk production has significantly increased. As a result, Damian has earned farmers’ trust and is further investing to manage these new and improved relationships. The company upgraded their recordkeeping system to better monitor farmer progress and ensure that they are receiving the appropriate inputs at the right time. To expand their services, they have purchased motorbikes, smartphones, and other equipment so that extensionists can provide prompt, exceptional services to the farmers in remote regions that were previously unserved.
As the Damian example shows, using improved advisory services has resulted in significantly higher sales of productivity increasing inputs during the first two sales periods. For example, from Sales Period 1 to Sales Period 2, sales of vaccine and parasite control bundles rose 83.74% and 66.22%, respectively. Equally importantly, smallholder farmers are observing first-hand the changes experienced from using vaccines and parasite control inputs.
They have reported that:
By providing advisory services required by the AgResults competition, competitors are starting to teach smallholder farmers the importance of livestock management and the value of productivity enhancing input bundles. As farmers in Tanzania gain access to these inputs and receive regular advisory services, their knowledge of livestock management is improving as is their use of vaccines and parasite control inputs, resulting in healthier and more productive cows....
June 1, 2022
By Sydney Maanibe
Sydney Maanibe is a Program Manager at Land O’Lakes Venture37 based in Arden Hills, Minnesota, and is part of the Project Manager team for the AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project.
Driven by excess greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions such as methane, carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrous oxide, climate change is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. Transforming weather patterns and threatening food production, the impact is truly devastating. Globally, agriculture, forestry, and land use account for 18.4% of total GHG emissions. In Eastern Africa, agricultural emissions represent 34% of Africa’s overall agricultural emissions; approximately 80% of that comes from livestock.
This year, #WorldMilkDay focuses on efforts to accelerate climate action and help reduce the dairy sector’s impact on the planet. An important climate action indicator for the dairy industry is emissions intensity, which is defined as the amount of GHG emissions required to make one liter of milk. When productivity goes up, emissions intensity goes down. So by increasing productivity, the dairy sector can reduce its overall GHG emissions, helping to limit its effects on climate change.
In Tanzania, the importance of reducing emissions intensity is especially critical. Tanzania has the second largest cattle herd in Eastern Africa but is the least efficient milk producer, producing approximately 2.2 billion liters of milk per year by a herd of 28.8 million cattle and emitting a current average emissions intensity of approximately 7-9 kilograms of CO2 eq per kg. In comparison, current emissions intensity in North America is around 1-2 kg of CO2 eq per kg.
Emissions intensity is clearly a problem in Tanzania, but the country’s dairy farmers face several challenges that limit their ability to improve their animals’ productivity. These include limited access to high-quality affordable nutrition products and other inputs that can prevent diseases such as parasite control and vaccines, insufficient advisory services, and poor animal genetics.
Recognizing these challenges and their contributions to emissions intensity, the AgResults Tanzania Dairy Challenge Productivity Project is using a Pay-for-Results prize competition to encourage private sector input suppliers to deliver high-quality inputs — nutrition products, vaccines, parasite control products and artificial insemination services — and advisory services to smallholder farmers. By providing a cash prize for each bundle of high-quality inputs delivered, the competition aims to increase animal productivity, boost smallholder farmers’ income, and strengthen value chain relationships between dairy producers and the formal dairy sector.
After two years, AgResults competitors have sold more than 50,000 productivity-enhancing input bundles, supporting the provision of nutrition supplements, enhancing animal genetics, and using vaccinations as well as parasite control products to improve animal health. Smallholder farmers have noted a direct improvement in animal productivity and overall health due to the enhanced inputs and services they have received. Some have indicated that they have seen a doubling or even tripling of milk volumes from their animals.
It’s still too early to tell how these input bundles will impact emissions intensity and much harder to attribute any shifts directly to the AgResults competition. But it is efforts like this that will help to move the needle in a positive direction on dairy productivity, emissions intensity, and eventually on GHG emissions....
May 20, 2022
On May 19, the AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project held an award ceremony to recognize the achievements of input suppliers over the competition’s second sales period to deliver productivity-increasing inputs, along with advisory services, 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 2 Award Ceremony brought together government representatives, development partners, and private sector stakeholders to recognize the project’s growing momentum in its second 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 Minister of Livestock and Fisheries – culminating in the announcement of prizes.
The event began with welcoming remarks from Land O’Lakes Venture37 Team Vice President John Ellenberger.
“The project is engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders, including the Government of Tanzania, to ensure the availability of inputs and enhanced service delivery,” he said. “This strong collaboration has led to the achievements we see today. Congratulations to the competitors for their innovation and resilience.”
Then Honorable Mashimba Mashauri Ndaki, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries of Tanzania, spoke as the Guest of Honor, recognizing the significance of the prize competition to shape Tanzania’s market growth and benefit its farmers.
“The government has recognized the AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project’s contributions to the implementation of the Tanzania Livestock Master Plan,” said the Minister. “This gives us confidence that through public-private partnerships, we can solve many challenges facing the livestock sector in Tanzania.”
Rodrigo Ortiz from the AgResults Secretariat then spoke about how the Tanzania project fits into the broader goals and approach of the initiative, namely using monetary incentives to drive private sector innovation that benefits the entire value chain.
“This second year built on the experimentation and innovation of Sales Period 1,” said Mr. Ortiz. “We are very pleased with the competitors’ achievements as they continued to invest time and resources to develop new methods of reaching farmers and packaging critical inputs with important accompanying technical assistance.”
Following this, Project Manager Lead Neema Mrema provided an overview of the project and its results, remarking on the competitors’ efforts during the sales period.
“AgResults has organized this event to recognize each and every competitor’s efforts and to present them with their prizes, which required a great deal of innovation, learning, and adaptation along the way,” said Ms. Mrema. “You have set a very admirable benchmark for future competitors of this project.”
Christopher Duguid, First Secretary for Development – Economic Growth, from Global Affairs Canada 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.
“As we mark the halfway point of the competition, we can already see its potential to increase access among vulnerable populations and improve the lives of smallholder dairy farmers,” said Mr. Duguid, representing not only Global Affairs Canada but also the broader donor community. “The donor community is very excited to see what the competition achieves in the next two years.”
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 June 2021 – February 2022. The ten winners — Agricare Enterprises, ATOZ Universal Ltd, Damian Agrovet, IDD Agrovet, Kile Agrovet, Kilosa Veterinary Centre, MiL Animal Nutrition Innovation Centre Ltd, Oiso Agrovet, Twins Agrovet and General Supplies, and Vetfarm — engaged 8,041 smallholder farmers and delivered 37,391 input bundles, winning a total of $348,293.
Ms. Mrema reflected on the significance of the award ceremony and efforts to date by participating businesses.
“It is important to showcase the commitment that these competitors have demonstrated over the last nine months in ensuring smallholder farmers are well-served with access to high quality dairy inputs and, just as importantly, advisory services,” 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 competitions 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....
March 8, 2022
By Katie Hauser
Katie Hauser is a Private Enterprise Officer at the USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security and currently sits on the AgResults Steering Committee.
Women comprise 43% of the global agricultural labor force, playing critical roles in agri-food systems as farmers, service providers, and entrepreneurs.1 Focused efforts to empower women could dramatically benefit entire communities. For example, if women had the same access to land and other productive resources as men, they could increase farm yields by 20-30 percent.2 Such activities could drastically increase productivity and reduce poverty: Closing the gender gap in Tanzania agricultural productivity could lead to 2.1% increase in that agricultural productivity and would lift more than 80,000 people there out of poverty annually over ten years.3
Yet for all this potential, gender gaps in access to resources and opportunities across food systems persist. As much as we need policy change, overcoming these disparities demands that we break down biases that linger in our views, behaviors, and practices. This year, International Women’s Day (March 8) asks us to imagine a world that is free of stereotypes and discrimination. By working collectively, we can #BreaktheBias and create a gender-equal world.
It can be tough to know what this looks like in practice, but the new U.S. government’s Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS), which guides the Feed the Future initiative, provides a starting point. Covering Feed the Future’s plans for 2022-2026, this document elevates equity and inclusion as key to addressing the biggest global challenges. The GFSS highlights several approaches to integrating gender considerations into programming. I’d like to focus on one in particular: Increasing opportunities for women to access, adopt, and benefit from innovative technologies.
AgResults, a $152 million initiative that includes USAID on its donor committee, uses Pay-for-Results prize competitions to incentivize the private sector to invest in high-impact innovations that will benefit smallholder farmers. The AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project provides one possible solution to #BreaktheBias. The competition uses monetary prizes to incentivize private sector actors to sell input bundles accompanied by advisory services to smallholder dairy farmers to increase their adoption of productivity-enhancing inputs. As a prize competition, the project is deliberately solution-agnostic – in other words, it doesn’t require that competitors solve the problem in a specific way.
This means that AgResults does not mandate that competitors do certain things to address gender resource gaps. Instead, the project incorporates nudges, explaining the benefits of working with women along the dairy value chain as smallholder farmers, veterinary professionals, or extension agents. To join the competition, firms submit a gender outreach and action plan. The project’s orientation included gender sensitization training for participating companies. These actions are teaching input businesses the roles that women can and should play to build trust and drive change. With this awareness, they recognize the benefits of women being able to access, adopt, and benefit from innovative technologies that increase dairy productivity. Such efforts may also create more gender-inclusive environments like the GFSS pushes for – and breaking down stereotypes along the way.
This year, International Women’s Day does more than remind us about the importance of gender equity; it demands that we #BreaktheBias and push for a gender-equal world. I am optimistic that plans like the GFSS and innovative approaches like AgResults can point us in the right direction.
High-quality inputs can dramatically improve dairy productivity in Tanzania, but only if smallholder farmers can access them. Historically, input businesses have struggled to deliver high-quality inputs to farmers: High service delivery costs, poor distribution networks, and lack of familiarity with their customers in remote areas have hindered relationship building with farmers.
The impact has been felt across the sector. Because smallholder farmers have limited access to quality inputs, many do not understand their application or benefits. This has led to poor animal health, affecting productivity and livelihoods.
To spark more comprehensive and effective delivery and use delivery of inputs, AgResults developed the Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project, a four-year Pay-for-Results (PfR) prize competition that uses monetary prizes to incentivize private sector actors (“competitors”) to sell input bundles with advisory services to smallholder dairy farmers to increase their adoption of productivity-enhancing inputs. The project is being implemented in Tanzania’s coastal area, targeting Tanga, Pwani, Morogoro, and Dar es Salaam. Now in its second year, the competition uses an open-ended approach that encourages competitors to innovate to find different ways – including business-to-business collaboration (B2B) – to address market demand.
Using B2B collaboration to meet farmer demand first emerged during the Induction Meeting in May 2021, where businesses competitors accepted into the competition received information about the upcoming sales period. While networking, some realized there were opportunities to pool efforts and resources for mutual benefit. By combining their specific areas of expertise and operations, they could better meet demand, especially among rural consumers. Several competitors used this information to develop action plans that complemented their capabilities.
Most farmers in the Morogoro district are pastoralists, struggling to access inputs and advisory services. They often depend on government support, which can be unreliable due to budget limitations. Seeing a chance to combine their expertise in service delivery and input procurement, Twins Agrovet and Kile Agrovet decided to collaborate.
The competitors distributed roles: Twins would seek permits for mass vaccination campaigns, awareness creation, and record keeping of services delivered, while Kile would source inputs and arrange for extensionists. However, due to the nature of the individual companies’ operations, they later decided to provide services together, with each company coordinating their own extensionists and keeping sales receipts to avoid double counting.
Through this collaboration, the businesses reached 1,055 smallholder farmers (741 of which were pastoralists), increasing demand for parasite control and vaccinations. Kile is capitalizing on this growth and is setting up a satellite shop in Morogoro to provide additional inputs and advisory services to smallholder farmers in the area.
Rather than using hay and silage, most smallholder farmers in Dar es Salaam and Pwani rely on cut and carry practices to get forage for their animals. To switch to formally produced hay and silage, which is cheaper and can improve animal productivity, farmers must see their value – requiring tactical marketing. Although MiL-Animal Nutrition had researched silage’s effectiveness in improving animal productivity, they were new to the area and unsure how to engage farmers. They needed help from businesses with established farmer relationships. On the other hand, Vetfarm had no access to silage and could not meet the current demand of smallholder farmers in their existing customer base.
After learning about the needs and demands of farmers in the region, the competitors realized they could work together to enhance their business operations. MiL-Animal Nutrition connected Vetfarm with suppliers of silage from Arusha and Kilimanjaro to serve farmers in Dar es Salaam. Likewise, Vetfarm provided MiL-Animal Nutrition with their deep local experience of the Pwani Region to help them deliver products and services to smallholder farmers. Through this collaboration, MiL-Animal Nutrition added three outlets to deliver high-quality nutrition products to more rural communities. And Vetfarm filled gaps in MiL-Animal Nutrition's services, offering vaccines, parasite control, and artificial insemination to smallholder farmers.
These examples show how the contest has promoted B2B collaboration among input businesses in Tanzania to solve the collective problem of reaching rural farmers. As more businesses see the economic benefits of partnerships, they may continue teaming up in the future. In turn, these relationships help smallholder farmers by increasing their access to reliable services and higher-quality inputs, strengthening the sector and increasing productivity....