The economic, social, and environmental impacts of GLDC research can be enhanced through inclusive and demand-driven research that responds to smallholder farmer needs, market demand, and local and national priorities. Flagship 1 aims to enhance the relevance and impacts of GLDC research through improved targeting and priority setting, learning from adoption and impact studies, strategic gender research, and supporting scaling efforts.
Building on the ex-ante economic impact evaluation that was carried out to guide priorities across crops, countries, and major technical lines of research, an elaborate ex-ante poverty impact study was conducted to assess GLDC research priorities based on potential impacts on poverty reduction. In West Africa, the research and technology options identified with the greatest potential for poverty reduction (each lifting over 250,000 people out of poverty) are: (1) early-maturing sorghum varieties and hybrids with tolerance to drought; (2) early-maturing and drought-tolerant pearl millet hybrids with resistance to downy mildew and blast; and (3) insect-resistant and drought-tolerant cowpea varieties. In Eastern Africa, the options identified with the greatest potential to each lift over 120,000 people out of poverty are: (1) early-maturing sorghum varieties and hybrids with tolerance to drought and Striga; (2) medium- to late-maturing anthracnose-resistant sorghum cultivars; and (3) sorghum varieties and hybrids with resistance to Striga and stem borer. In Southern Africa, the options identified with the greatest potential to each lift over 60,000 people out of poverty are: (1) rosette-resistant groundnut varieties; (2) early-maturing and drought-tolerant groundnut and sorghum varieties; and (3) drought-tolerant soybean varieties and crop management practices. In South Asia, the options identified with the greatest potential to each lift over 125,000 people out of poverty are: (1) chickpea varieties resistant to Fusarium wilt, root rots, and gray mold; (2) drought-tolerant lentil varieties; and (3) dual-purpose pearl millet hybrids with high and stable yields and resistance to downy mildew and blast.
Accordingly, the GLDC database of the International Model for the Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT) for foresight modeling and ex-ante analysis for priority setting has been updated. The activity involved estimating the coefficients needed to update the production and consumption values for GLDC crops in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia between 2005 and 2015. Results showed that adjustments were needed only for soybean and chickpea in SSA. Adjusting the yield coefficients in IMPACT increased the estimated production values of soybean and chickpea in SSA and successfully brought these values closer to the actual values from FAOSTAT.
Understanding the drivers of adoption and identifying producer and end-user preferences is crucial for ensuring alignment between end-user demand and breeding targets and facilitate scaling of GLDC innovations. Understanding farming households’ technology choices remains one of the most critical aspects of agricultural research in rural areas, but many technologies that are known to be effective and potentially highly beneficial have not been adopted widely. Flagship 1 conducts research aimed at enhancing and deepening our understanding of all aspects of end-user demand including consumer demand for GLDC food crops, technology demand by rural farming households, and an analysis of wider potential to change consumer behavior. A study on rural aspirations showed that human aspirations have a much greater influence on technology choices, and a better understanding of aspirations can improve the targeting of technology development by researchers (Mausch et al. 2018).
Another study conducted in Kenya showed that rural households have different aspirations and income portfolio strategies, including agricultural intensification and income diversification (Verkaart et al. 2018). Although few households specialized in farming, many households self-identified as farmers and aspired to increase their agricultural income. Despite the prevalence of agricultural aspirations, few aspired for their children to have a future in farming. Combining aspirations with potential to invest, the study provides recommendations for targeting agricultural interventions with emphasis on the need to start listening better to “farmers” to develop and offer innovations that meet their realities.
Another study revealed that rural households in Kenya have different aspirations and income portfolio strategies that include agricultural intensification and income diversification (Mausch et al. 2018). Although few households specialized in farming, many self-identified as farmers and aspired to increase their agricultural income. Despite the prevalence of agricultural aspirations, few aspired for their children to have a future in farming. Combining aspirations with potential to invest, the study recommends targeting agricultural interventions with an emphasis on listening better to “farmers” in order to develop and offer innovations that meet their realities.
Gender research teams identified the roles of gender norms and social change in adoption and benefitting from improved varieties and the means to strengthen the adoption and benefits from new varieties by men and women. A study conducted in rural communities in India examined how the adoption of pro-poor innovations like improved barley varieties and Marwari goats and their benefits are affected by gender, class, and age (Najjar and Baruah 2018). Given the finding that women who adopted Marwari goats with higher milk yield and fertility sold milk from their homes and earned higher incomes, the study revealed the potential for improved technologies to empower women even in communities where there is female seclusion.
The effects of migration on ‘feminization of agriculture’ in dryland areas, where women do more agricultural work but at lower wages and under more precarious working conditions than men, was also assessed. The findings showed that women perform more farm labor in agrarian societies due to the increasing outmigration by men. The study also showed that generational, socioeconomic and sociocultural factors, as well as economic and social remittances affect migration-related agricultural feminization. This calls for increased technological and policy interventions to improve agricultural productivity for women who take over farm tasks in the absence of men.
To support technology development and adoption, Flagship 1 analyzes the policy and institutional environment and identifies the enabling conditions for successful scaling and impact of GLDC technologies. A review and synthesis of 18 past GLDC impact studies is on track to be finalized by the end of March 2019. Similarly, a final report on the main scaling approaches used in four large GLDC scaling projects will be completed in March 2019. The projects include Malawi Improved Seed Systems and Technologies (MISST), Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement of Sorghum and Millets – Phase 2 (HOPE 2), Tropical Legumes – Phase III (TL III), and Feed the Future Kenya (FtF-Kenya). Researchers reviewed the scaling literature and scaling approaches used in these four projects, which included field visits to sites in both Kenya and Malawi. A draft ‘idealized’ scaling framework has been developed to structure the review of GLDC scaling projects.
To assess the adoption and farm level impacts of improved cowpea varieties on yields and net crop incomes in Nigeria, a nationally representative survey data was collected from a sample of over 1,500 cowpea-growing households cultivating over 1,000 plots. The study used the control function approach as well as endogenous switching regression and marginal treatment effects models. Here, 29% of the cowpea area was planted to improved varieties and 38% of the sample households adopted these varieties. The most widely adopted cowpea varieties were IT89KD-288 (Sampea 11) and IT99K-216-24-2 (Kwankwaso) followed by UAM09-1055-6 (Fuampea 1) and IT90K-277-2 (Sampea 9), and their adoption increased cowpea yields by 29–40% and incomes by 26–28% (Manda et al. 2018).
Najjar, D. and Baruah, B. (2018). How do gender norms influence adoption of and benefits from agricultural innovations in rural agricultural communities? Findings from research about barley and livestock in rural Rajasthan, India. ICARDA Working Paper. https://mel.cgiar.org/reporting/downloadfile/file_id/30148.
Verkaart, S., Mausch, K. and Harris, D. (2018). Who are those people we call farmers? Aspirations and realities in Kenya. Development in Practice 28(4): 468-479. https://doi.org/10.1080/
Mausch, K., Harris, D., Heather, E., Jones, E., Yim, J. and Hauser, M. (2018). Households’ aspirations for rural development through agriculture. Outlook on Agriculture 47(2):108-115. https://doi.org/10.1177/.
Manda, J., Alene, A.D., Tufa, A.H., Abdoulaye, T., Olufajo, O., Kamara, A.Y., Boukar, O. and Manyong V. (2018). Adoption and ex-post impacts of improved cowpea varieties on productivity, net returns and costs in Nigeria. IITA Working Paper. http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11766/9476.