Project Details

Strengthening impact assessment methods in the CGIAR Consortium

Duration: 11/Dec/2014 - 30/Sep/2016

Project contact: Dr Kizito Mazvimavi (

Donor: CGIAR,CGIAR Consortium

CGIAR Research Program: Policies Institutions and Markets

This project aims to enhance impact assessment capacity of CGIAR Centers through a workshop, and implementing selected case study analyses addressing specific methodological issues using long-term panel data. The activities proposed in this project are expected to: • raise the standards of impact assessment approaches and protocols, and promote their application by social and bio-physical scientists at ICRISAT and other CGIAR Centers. • provide opportunity to pre or post-doctoral fellows to conduct impact assessments through working on selected case studies under joint supervision from ICRISAT and collaborating partners. • establish a community of interest for agricultural scientists to engage in discussion and collaboration on impact assessment activities, and help establish operating procedures and create an environment for consistent, credible impact evaluation at ICRISAT and other CGIAR consortium members. Investments in international agricultural research and resulting productivity improvements have great potential to reduce poverty and food insecurity. To effectively utilize available resources, agricultural research allocation and targeting must be guided by a rigorous analysis of ex post and ex ante impacts, including spillover benefits across regions. The importance of rigorous impact evaluation is widely recognized by scientists, scholars, administrators and donors involved in international agricultural research. Many of the basic principles for evaluating the impact of agricultural research, as articulated in Alston, Norton and Pardey (1995), have been assimilated into the CGIAR community where the need for consistent measurement, the value of the economic surplus model, and the importance of measuring effects in farmers fields are well appreciated. Nonetheless, as noted in de Janvry et al (2011), the practice of measurement remains highly uneven. Basic data required for economic impact evaluation such as baselines, adoption rates and productivity effects are often poorly measured. Identification strategies are inconsistent and often fail to account for selection bias, spillover effects, and various other biases related to endogeneity and unobserved variables. Also, the link between processes involved in both ex post impact and spillover assessments to priority setting is often not well established. This work aims to bridge this gap by advancing methods for linking ex post impact assessments of international research benefits with priority setting to inform international agricultural research resource allocation decisions. The primary focus of these activities is ICRISAT, but the initiatives are open to scientists from across the CGIAR system. ICRISAT will partner with the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign (UIUC); ACIAR; University of Melbourne, Australia and also supported by a team of Australian impact assessment experts in running a multi-center workshop at Addis Ababa, and joint research on use of panel data in impact evaluation. Faculty and scholars at UIUC present experience in conducting economic impact evaluation through use of panel data analysis and field experiments as well as track record in teaching impact evaluation methods to researchers in both the social and biophysical sciences. Team of experts from Australia including ACIAR has a long association with the ICRISAT and its CGIAR sister institutes in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in the development of innovative methods and tools for impact assessment and their application in joint research and capacity building (Brennan and Bantilan, 1999; Bantilan et al., 2013). ICRISAT presents an impressive record of introducing appropriate agricultural technologies to alleviate poverty and hunger. Moreover, ICRISAT has a long history of careful collection of high quality biophysical data and longitudinal household data .Nonetheless, a recent attempt to measure the impacts of ICRISATs showcase technologies revealed serious limits in the availability of consistent data for conducting rigorous impact evaluation (Winter-Nelson and Mazvimavi, 2013). The activities under this work include an initial multi-center workshop at Addis Ababa for CGIAR consortium scientist on impacts assessment methods, and collaborative research projects using panel data sets to address challenges in impact evaluation. This activity is expected to enhance continuous research collaborations in impact assessment among CGIAR scientists, develop a community of practice for impact assessment, and facilitate standard protocols for data collection, harmonization of methods and data management to support consistent impact evaluation.

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