AgResults’ Uganda Legume Seed 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 across Uganda. The project closed early due to factors described below.
Legumes are highly nutritious crops, and have the added benefit of improving soil health through nitrogen fixation. However, due to demand uncertainty, barriers to working capital, and opportunity costs, seed companies operating in Uganda do not focus on the legume seed market.
The project hoped that the prize incentive would spur Ugandan seed companies to increase investment in the production and marketing of improved legume seed, leading to increased adoption of improved seed by Ugandan smallholder farmers, particularly women who traditionally farm legumes. Increased use of improved seed would lead to better yields, meaning more income and increased household food security and nutrition.
The Uganda Project employed a two-part prize: 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 are higher yielding, offering smallholders several potential benefits over local seed. First, legumes are a relatively inexpensive, high-protein food, so higher yields could mean higher consumption of this nutritious food category by smallholder farming households. Second, surplus production can be sold into the market, potentially increasing smallholder 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.
Smallholder Farmers Participants
Private Investment Leveraged (approx)
Prize Funds Awarded
This table illustrates how our learning has evolved in Uganda from project design through implementation. Further details can be found in the Learning Library below.
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The Uganda project has a nation-wide reach, so since a comparison or control group could not be set aside, the Evaluator is using a non-experimental performance evaluation (rather than an experimental or quasi-experimental impact evaluation) design to assess changes in key outcomes at the smallholder level. The Evaluator is also performing extensive qualitative research to better understand the mechanisms behind observed changes. To assess impact of the project on the market for quality legume seed, we are employing primarily qualitative research guided by the structure conduct and performance analytical framework.
The Evaluator completed baseline data collection in 2017. The project was cancelled in 2018 and there are no plans for an endline because of limited activities under the project to influence the market or the legume seed value chain.
Boniface Mugisa is an agribusiness management specialist with over twenty years of seed systems experience with public and private sector as well as donor-funded projects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Makerere University, a Master’s degree in Business Administration (Entrepreneurship and New Venture Management) from Stirling University UK and postgraduate diplomas in Seed Technology, Agricultural Marketing, and Product Management. He has worked with European Union, USAID, UNDP, IFAD, FAO and ADB funded projects in Uganda.