March 20, 2019
By Abt Associates
Has an AgResults prize competition in Nigeria created a market for AflasafeTM-treated maize? Have smallholder farmers in the country learned about the biocontrol agent’s application and economic benefits?
Since 2014, the AgResults Nigeria AflasafeTM Challenge Project has been testing whether smartly-structured cash prizes can incentivize the private sector to encourage smallholder maize farmers to adopt AflasafeTM, a biocontrol agent that limits cancer-causing aflatoxins that contaminate maize. The competition has aimed to create a market for AflasafeTM-treated maize by incentivizing maize aggregators to connect with smallholder farmers, illustrating the benefits of applying AflasafeTM and creating a supply base of AflasafeTM-treated maize. Specifically, the project provided a premium of $18.75 per metric ton of AflasafeTM-treated maize aggregated by private sector “competitors.” The goal is that such efforts would set the stage for future efforts to regulate the maize sector while raising broader consumer awareness in Nigeria.
Because the application of AflasafeTM imposes a cost on smallholders, the project hoped that competitors could either connect smallholders to markets that provided premiums for aflatoxin-free maize or provide improved inputs to increase smallholder yields. Development impacts were expected to result from smallholders’ consumption of the AflasafeTM-treated or aflatoxin-free maize that they grew. Further, the aim was that competitors would continue to engage in the market for AflasafeTM-treated maize and source the higher-quality maize from smallholders, thus creating a new niche market.
After three years of project operation, External Evaluator Abt Associates conducted an impact evaluation to assess the Nigeria AflasafeTM Challenge Project’s impact. The final evaluation report presents the framework followed by Abt to apply qualitative and quantitative methods to answer seven key questions. The evaluation examines findings related to market impact, smallholder impact, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability — taking a deep analytical look at how well the project created a smallholder-inclusive market for high-quality maize free of aflatoxins.
Learn more about Abt Associates’ approach and role as the independent External Evaluator for the AgResults Initiative here.