A Dynamic Discussion on Prize Competitions and Market Systems with the BEAM Exchange

March 13, 2019

headshots of speakers at grab the mic event

On March 11, AgResults led a webinar looking at the prize competition model and its applicability to achieve market systems development (MSD) goals. The hour-long “AgResults: Building Inclusive Market Systems through Private Sector Prize Competitions” event, which was hosted by the BEAM Exchange, explored prizes as a method to drive long-term market systems change.

During the webinar, three experts unpacked the AgResults Pay-for-Results (PfR) prize competition model and how it is strengthening market systems to sustainably improve the lives of smallholder farmers.

Aviva Kutnick, Private Sector Engagement Division Chief in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security and AgResults Steering Committee Chair, discussed the prize competition model and how it can achieve MSD goals. Following that, Parasto Hamed from the AgResults Secretariat presented two AgResults project examples in Nigeria and Uganda, showing how each was or was not successful in driving systemic market change. Rachel Lambert, Senior Livelihoods Advisor for DFID and AgResults Steering Committee member, rounded out the discussion by sharing the value of rigorous evaluation to measure both results and impact. Mike Albu from the BEAM Exchange moderated the hour-long session.

“Prizes can strengthen relationships between market actors,” explained Ms. Kutnick. “All of these commercial actors have the opportunity to compete to earn the incentive, but more important than achieving the incentive are those relationships with smallholder consumers. In this way, the prize is a tool to strategically partner with commercial actors already in the system and facilitate that strengthening of relationships.”

Following the presentation, audiences tuning in had a chance to submit questions for discussion. During this portion, the experts unpacked a variety of topics, including the time and resources that go into market analysis and project design. They also debated how best to define and then measure systemic change as well as how to think about prizes as a tool to facilitate private sector engagement.

“AgResults offers some advantages over traditional conventional grant funding and we think has the potential to drive market systems development in agriculture, at least when the competitions are designed carefully and implemented correctly,” shared Ms. Lambert. “It is a novel approach. It is different from the way in which we’ve done business previously.”

Missed the real-time event on March 11? Watch the full webinar, including the Q&A portion, here.

Funded by USAID (US), DFID (UK), DFAT (Australia), GAC (Canada) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AgResults has designed and implemented six prize competitions focusing on spurring fundamental change in market relationships between the private sector and smallholder farmers.

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