Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Assessing the Impacts of Policy Change on Agricultural Transformation in Feed the Future Countries

This blog, and the associated "Ask the Experts" session (June 7 10:00-10:30AM EDT), previews the June 12 session of the same name at The International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research Conference in Washington, D.C. It brings together four inter-related papers on the impacts of policy change on agricultural and rural transformation in selected Feed the Future countries. The papers cover a broad set of issues with the goal of understanding how aspects of transformation have been influenced by specific policies. They include a study on whether market reforms have resulted in the adoption of improved maize varieties in maize growing regions of Africa (Nagarajan, Naseem and Pray), the role of improved market access on nutritional outcomes in Rwanda (Weatherspoon et al), policy as a catalyst for transformation in the Senegal River Delta (Mbaye et al) and the (lack of) political will for climate-smart agricultural policy in Senegal (Raile et al). Paper abstracts follow, and papers and/or presentations will be available prior to June 7. We will have at least one author from each of the papers available to answer your questions via chat on June 7.

Paper Abstracts:

Evaluating the Impacts of Policy Change on Maize Varietal Development and Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Latha Nagarajan (International Fertilizer Development Center), Anwar Naseem (Rutgers University), Carl Pray (Rutgers University). This paper examines the impacts of policy changes related to the maize seed market such as privatization, improved regulations, property rights and research and development investments. We use data on 23 sub-Saharan African countries that have undertaken numerous reforms over the past decades and relate them to the adoption of improved seeds and technologies. A better policy and enabling environment would result in incentives to adopt more varieties and increase productivity. Empirical estimation tests the hypothesis that maize yields are jointly determined by adoption of improved cultivars and better policy.

Stunting, Food Security, Markets and Food Policy in Rwanda. Dave Weatherspoon (Michigan State University), Steve Miller (Michigan State University), Jean-Chrysostome Ngabitsinze (University of Rwanda), Lorrain Weatherspoon (Michigan State University) and James F Oehmke (Michigan State University). Over the past two decades, Rwanda has experienced impressive economic growth, resulting in considerable improvements in living standards and poverty reduction. Despite these gains, progress on reducing the level of stunting in rural children, particularly boys, continues to be a serious concern. This paper analyzes food security, dietary diversity and socio-economic factors that influence stunting in rural Rwandan children. Stunting for the rural poor was largely influenced by the child’s sex, age and weight; the head of household’s education level; whether the household reduced meals during the month; and if they had a garden, as well as environmental factors such as the soil fertility level and the distance to a main road. Multipronged policy and programs focused on food security, enhanced markets and nutrition education in the first 1,000 days in rural areas are required to improve rural household health outcomes.

Difference in Difference Analysis of Senegal River Basin Development Project, 2014 and 2017. Samba Mbaye (University Gaston-Berger), Charles B Moss (University of Florida), Anwar Naseem (Rutgers University) and James F Oehmke (USAID). Senegal is a low-income country with almost half of its population living below the poverty line. This has motivated development partners, particularly USAID, to intervene in Senegalese rural areas to improve the well-being of the population. The Economic Growth Programs (EGP) were set up to improve the resilience of farmers and also improve their living conditions. The purpose of this study is to measure how the lives of the beneficiary population have evolved with the actions of the EGP. To measure this impact, we sampled 40 villages  20 target villages of the program and 20 control villages  and 20 households randomly selected within each village. The main results are that the process of agricultural transformation has really begun in the program area: there is evidence of an increase in agricultural productivity, a widespread commercial orientation to agriculture, the creation of new living spaces, agricultural diversification and the development of new non-agricultural activities.

Political Will and Public Will for Climate-Smart Agriculture in Senegal. Eric Raile (Montana State University), Linda Young (Center for Ecological Monitoring), Samba Mbaye (Gaston Berger Universite), Amber Raile (Montana State University), lena Wooldridge (Montana State University), Diaminatou Sanogo (National Centre for Forestry Research) and Lori A Post (Northwestern University). This case study examines climate-smart agriculture (CSA) policies and programs as they relate to major stakeholder-identified problems in Senegal. The paper uses the political and public will (PPW) framework for analysis, an innovative approach for examining public policies and other social change initiatives. The data are from semi-structured interviews with various stakeholders in Senegal and examination of formal documents. The analysis provides information about opportunities and obstacles for building the political and public will necessary for successfully adopting CSA innovations in Senegal. The paper describes potential roles for policy and agribusiness entrepreneurs in this agricultural transformation. This examination of crucial elements for scaling up CSA constitutes the most extensive application of the PPW approach to date, thereby providing an example of this generalizable approach.