Impact Assessment

Program evaluation of the agribusiness support fund: Estimating the effects of treatment on farmer groups,agribusinesses and BDS market in Pakistan, A. Burki, Lahore University of Management Sciences, 2010

    Description
    The Agribusiness Support Fund (ASF) was set up by Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL) with financial support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the context of Agribusiness Development and Diversification Project (ADDP). A cornerstone of the ASF matching grant program support was to enable agribusiness enterprises and farmer groups to benefit from business development services, which in turn was expected to raise efficiency and productivity of the participating enterprises.

    Since 2007, ASF has provided financial support to set up 927 micro agribusiness enterprises termed as farmer enterprise groups (FEGs), each consisting of around 10 farmers; more than 16000 acres of land belonging to 324 farmers was brought under Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) by linking them with 35 processors / exporters registered under ASF’s Global GAP projects in citrus and mango; and capacity building support to many BDS providers was also provided under various training programs.

    This study seeks to investigate the impact of ASF’s demand-side and supply-side interventions on FEGs, agribusinesses and BDS providers. This program evaluation study has three objectives: (1) to evaluate the impact of program support to FEGs; (2) to evaluate the impact of program support to agribusinesses; and (3) to evaluate the impact of support on BDS market development.

    Summary of results
    1.ASF program support has led to a substantial increase in real profit of FEG
    farms as compared with control farms. However, increase in real profit of FEG
    Group Leaders has been 62% more than FEG Members, who appear to be risk-neutral. It remains to be seen how program activities stimulate a change in
    farming practices of other group members and the community at large in
    the long-term.

    2. Program support significantly increased technical efficiency on the farms of FEG Group Leaders who promptly reacted and adopted innovative technologies by practicing learning-by-doing.

    3. While total factor productivity substantially increased on treated farms,
    the gains in productivity were much more on the farms of Group Leaders relative to other Group Members.

    4. Increase in employment generation on treated farms ranged from 123% to
    139%, compared with control farms. Without program support employment
    generation may have remained below 13%.

    5. It appears to be too early for the interventions to have had impacts on
    household expenditure or asset ownership of treated farms.

    6. Taken as a whole the study finds that when interventions lead to sharing of the benefits with concerned parties, they succeed in correcting market failures.