AgResults’ Uganda Legume Seed Challenge Project was designed as a six-year project using Pay-for-Results prizes to incentivize seed companies to produce and sell quality verified bean and soybean seed varieties to smallholder farmers. The project was terminated early due to enabling environment challenges, lack of competitor participation, and the inability to verify the quality of seeds sold under the project.
Legumes are highly nutritious crops; they also improve soil health through nitrogen fixation. However, due to a variety of contextual factors including uncertain demand, barriers to working capital, and opportunity costs, seed companies in Uganda do not focus on the legume seed market.
AgResults aimed that the prize incentive would spur Ugandan seed companies to increase investment in the production and marketing of improved legume seed. As they became more familiar with the benefits of improved legume seed, Ugandan smallholder farmers, particularly women who traditionally grow legumes, would increase their adoption. Increased use of high quality seed would lead to better yields, more income, and improved household food security and nutrition.
The prize in Uganda included two parts: 1) access to cold storage to mitigate against overproduction of seed, and 2) an annualized prize based on seed sales above a baseline.
Quality legume seeds lead to higher yields and offer smallholder farmers several potential benefits over local seed. First, legumes are a relatively inexpensive, high-protein food, so higher yields could mean higher consumption among farming households of this nutritious food category. Second, farmers can sell surplus legumes at market, providing another source of revenue to increase their incomes. This is especially true of soybeans, which are often grown as a cash crop.
The project closed early. However, the closure has led to a wealth of learning on what works and what does not.
# of Competitors
Amount of Seed Sold
This table illustrates how our learning has evolved in Uganda from project design through implementation. Further details can be found in the Learning Library.
December 11, 2017 AgVerify, AgResults’ seed quali...
September 8, 2017 As the Uganda Improved Legume S...
February 10, 2017 The AgResults Uganda Pilot aims...
The nation-wide reach of the Uganda project prevented a control group from being set aside, so the Evaluator planned to use a non-experimental performance evaluation (rather than an experimental or quasi-experimental impact evaluation) design to assess changes in key outcomes at the smallholder farmer level. The Evaluation approach involved conducting extensive qualitative research to better understand the mechanisms behind observed changes. To assess the project’s impact on the market for quality legume seed, the Evaluator employed primarily qualitative research guided by the structure conduct and performance analytical framework.
The Evaluator completed baseline data collection in 2017. The baseline report is available here. When the project was cancelled in 2018, the endline evaluation was accordingly canceled, given the project’s limited impact on influencing the market or the legume seed value chain.