Uganda Legume Seeds Challenge Project

Completed

SUMMARY

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. Lutheran World Relief served as the Project Manager.

legumes
The Challenge Project aimed to drive up the production of high-quality legume seed.

THE LEARNING JOURNEY


THE PROBLEM

Seed Companies Ignore Legume Seed

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.


CONTEST DESIGN

Theory of Change

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.

Prize Structure

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.

chart for project prize

EXPECTED IMPACT

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.

Planned Impact:

  • A stronger, more competitive local seed industry
  • Cumulative sales of 6,628 MT of legume seed
  • Up to a 60% increase in legume yields
  • Participating seed companies and farmers may reach cumulative benefits of US $2.5M and US $30.4M, respectively.

ACTUAL RESULTS

The project closed early. However, the closure has led to a wealth of learning on what works and what does not.

7

# of Competitors

$207,100

Competitor Investment

2,762MT

Amount of Seed Sold


EVALUATION

Evaluation Design

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.

Evaluation Stage

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.


LEARNING

What We’ve Learned through Implementation

This section shares our learning from the Uganda Legume Seeds Challenge Project design and implementation. Further details can be found in the Learning Library.

learning table for Uganda

Relevant Learning

Final Report: Uganda Legume Seed Challenge Project

January 2, 2020

Despite the nutritional and environmental benefits of legumes, Ugandan seed companies have not prioritized legume seed production due to fluctuations in demand, low profitability, and limited access to working capital. The AgResults Uganda Legume Seed Challenge Project, which ran from 2017-2018, used a Pay-for-Results prize competition to encourage Ugandan seed companies to increase the production and adoption of improved higher-quality legume varieties. Despite the project’s early closure due to ongoing seed counterfeiting, low participation in the competition, and challenges of seed quality verification, it still revealed valuable learning around what works and what does not work when designing and implementing a prize competition focused on increasing sales of quality seed.

Uganda Legumes

Design Brief #1: Concept Sourcing

May 24, 2021

The first in a series of five, this brief provides an overview of concept sourcing, the first phase of AgResults’ Pay-for-Results prize competition design process. It shows how program designers begin the process by brainstorming and assessing potential development challenges to see if a prize competition is best suited to address the identified problem.

Brucellosis (Global)FMD VaccineIndonesia AquacultureKenya StorageNigeria AflasafeTanzania DairyUganda LegumesVietnam EmissionsZambia PVA Maize

Design Brief #2: Analyzing Feasibility

June 16, 2021

This brief, the second in a series of five, provides an overview of the second phase of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. It explains how program designers conduct deeper research on relevant market systems to articulate a Theory of Change for the competition and to reasonably estimate the project’s impacts.

Brucellosis (Global)FMD VaccineIndonesia AquacultureKenya StorageNigeria AflasafeTanzania DairyUganda LegumesVietnam EmissionsZambia PVA Maize

Design Brief #3: Structuring Prizes

June 25, 2021

This brief, the third in a series of five, provides an overview of the third phase of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. It explains how program designers can create the set of parameters and rules that determines who competes, how to win the prize(s), and the implementation timeline.

Brucellosis (Global)FMD VaccineIndonesia AquacultureKenya StorageNigeria AflasafeTanzania DairyUganda LegumesVietnam EmissionsZambia PVA Maize

Design Brief #4: Right-Sizing Prizes

July 9, 2021

This brief, the fourth in a series of five, provides an overview of the fourth phase of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. It explains how program designers can determine the size of the prize purse to effectively drive participation and innovation without overpaying for results.

Brucellosis (Global)FMD VaccineIndonesia AquacultureKenya StorageNigeria AflasafeTanzania DairyUganda LegumesVietnam EmissionsZambia PVA Maize

Design Brief #5: Verification and Project Management

July 21, 2021

This brief, the fifth and final in the series, provides an overview of the fifth phase of AgResults’ approach to Pay-for-Results prize competition design. It explains how program designers can develop a thorough verification plan to evaluate competitors’ results and determine prize payments. It also summarizes the activities involved in project management of a prize competition.

Brucellosis (Global)FMD VaccineIndonesia AquacultureKenya StorageNigeria AflasafeTanzania DairyUganda LegumesVietnam EmissionsZambia PVA Maize

Summary of Evaluator Findings and Lessons from AgResults Prize Competitions: 2013-2020

May 11, 2021

This report by External Evaluator Abt Associates summarizes independent evaluation findings from competitions in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia and offers guidance for future prize sponsors. It provides evidence that Pay-for-Results (PfR) competitions can spur development of markets for technologies benefitting smallholder farmers. It also offers guidance on how to determine whether PfR is an appropriate design option and how to maximize farmer benefits.

EvaluatorKenya StorageNigeria AflasafeUganda LegumesZambia PVA Maize

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Impactful Design: AgResults’ Pay-for-Results Prize Competition Toolkit

February 19, 2021

This toolkit is a practical guide for agricultural development practitioners who are interested in using Pay-for-Results prize competitions to stimulate new markets for agricultural technologies and engage the private sector for scale-up. It draws upon the experience of AgResults, which has designed and implemented prize competitions around the world since 2013.

Brucellosis (Global)FMD VaccineIndonesia AquacultureKenya StorageNigeria AflasafePrize DesignTanzania DairyUganda LegumesVietnam EmissionsZambia PVA Maize

Takeaways from Seven Years of Using Prize Competitions to Transform Markets

September 14, 2020

Since 2013, AgResults has been designing and implementing agricultural prize competitions to encourage the private sector to "solve" a market failure and work toward a defined goal to receive a monetary award. In this cross-cutting learning document, AgResults presents 12 key takeaways based on its experience with prize concept design and sourcing; launch and marketing; and running a prize competition.

Brucellosis (Global)FMD VaccineKenya StorageNigeria AflasafeTanzania DairyUganda LegumesVietnam EmissionsZambia PVA Maize

Can Pull Mechanisms Achieve Agriculture Development Objectives? Evidence from AgResults External Evaluation

June 5, 2020

This DFID Chief Economist Seminar Series presentation from February 2020 summarizes External Evaluator Abt Associates' findings about the use of “pull mechanisms” or “prize competitions” to develop markets that provide innovative agricultural technologies to smallholder farmers. Findings suggest that pull mechanisms can create markets as long as the binding constraints inhibiting market development are within the manageable interest of the companies competing for the prize.

EvaluatorKenya StorageNigeria AflasafeUganda LegumesZambia PVA Maize


Project Team

head shot photo of Boniface Mugisa

Boniface Mugisa

Lutheran World Relief – Project Manager

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.