Impact Assessment

Promoting Food Security in South East Liberia through Commercial Rice Value-Chain Development, Impact Assessment, Oxfam, 2014

    Under Oxfam Great Britain’s (OGB) Global Performance Framework (GPF), sufficiently mature projects are being randomly selected each year and their effectiveness rigorously assessed. Liberia’s ‘Promoting Food Security in South East Liberia through Commercial Rice Value-Chain Development’ (LIBA72) was randomly selected for an Effectiveness Review under the livelihoods thematic area. This project was implemented from 2008 to 2011, and the activities have since been expanded under a subsequent project (LIBA82). In 2010 and 2011, the project’s focus was to support 2,000 members of the Amenu Farmers’ Cooperative to develop paddy fields and provide them with training, inputs and technical support to bolster rice production. An additional aim of the project was to develop the capacity of the Amenu Farmers’ Cooperative to process and market the produced rice on behalf of its members.

    The project targeted Amenu cooperative members in 15 villages located in Grand Gedeh County, in the south east of Liberia. The Effectiveness Review used a quasi-experimental evaluation design to assess the impact of the activities on those who participated in the project activities in 2010 and 2011. The outcome measures assessed include those related to the adoption of preferred agricultural practices, and agricultural production and profits, as well as household consumption, wealth status, and food security. A sample of participants who enrolled in the subsequent project in 2012 were also interviewed, to function as a comparison group. For this reason, the outcome measures relating to agricultural production and sales refer to the harvest of 2011, before these newer participants were enrolled.

    Surveys were carried out with a total 756 of the project participants, 387 of whom participated in the project in 2010 and 2011, and 343 of whom have participated in the newer project from 2012 onwards. The statistical tools of propensity-score matching and multivariate regression were used to control for baseline and demographic differences when making comparisons in outcome measures between the older and newer project participants.

    The results provide evidence that the project was successful in encouraging the adoption of some improved agricultural techniques, including irrigation, seed testing and multicropping. However, there was no indication that the project had led to a reduction in the use of slash-and-burn farming.

    Those who had participated in the project during 2010 and 2011 harvested significantly larger quantities of rice in 2011 than those who were not participating in the project at that time. However, this increase in rice production seems to have been accompanied by lower production of other crops, particularly corn and vegetables. Overall, it is not clear that the total value of crops harvested by the project participants in 2011 was any greater than that harvested by the non-participants. It should also be noted that only a small proportion of the rice harvested by project participants was brought to market, and that overall crop sales were no higher among participants than non-participants. As a result, there is no indication that households that participated in the project were any better off than the non-participants in terms of food security, household income, or other indicators of material wellbeing.

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    »Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods for Women & Vulnerable Groups in Chiradzulu District Project Effectiveness Review, Impact Assessment, Oxfam, 2014