In order to draw lessons and measure the impact of the five year pilot, P4P continues to monitor and evaluate the project. Recently, P4P initiated seven new key studies to assess and document some of the most critical components of the pilot. One is a study about P4P’s effect on the farmers’ marketing choices.
Through interviews with more than 130 farmers in Burkina Faso and Rwanda, P4P aims to document how smallholder farmers decide where and how to sell their surplus produce. More specifically, the study aims to identify the key factors that affect how smallholders use farmers’ organisations as an advantageous marketing channel. In this way, the study provides key information on P4P’s fundamental assumption that collective action is an effective way to build a sustainable access to markets for smallholders.
"This study is crucial to understanding how P4P has expanded marketing options available to smallholder producers" said Sharon Amani, research consultant at Management Systems International (MSI), the development firm that has been contracted by P4P to conduct these critical studies.
The topics of the studies were selected because of their key relevance to the P4P pilot. Based on a combination of desk reviews and case studies with primary data collection, MSI will examine and document the P4P experience of:
- linking smallholder farmers with government procurement;
- selecting farmers’ organizations and building their capacity in collective marketing;
- buying from small and medium traders; and
- utilizing structured trading systems such as warehouse receipt systems and commodity exchanges.
By comparing P4P-supported farmers’ organizations with other control groups, one of the studies will specifically examine the impact that P4P has had on market access and livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Moreover, a number of assumptions identified during the P4P mid-term evaluation will be assessed. For example, the anticipated value for women to participate in farmers’ organizations and the assumption that a market for higher quality commodities does exist in the pilot countries.
These studies are primarily funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The studies are expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
BACKGROUND: P4P's learning agenda
As a pilot, P4P has emphasized learning and an honest and transparent examination both of what works and of what does not. In the context of its learning and sharing, P4P pilot countries are actively documenting the key lessons learned after four years of implementation. This exercise will continue through 2014 when the final evaluation of the pilot is taking place.
To facilitate the documentation of the experiences, lessons and best practices from pilot countries, P4P has developed a Global Learning Agenda (GLA). Through a wide consultative process, P4P has organized the emerging learning around 17 thematic areas. (you can read a summary on P4P’s GLA here)
Based on practical experiences in 20 countries, P4P will contribute to the improvement of the design and management of pro-smallholder agriculture and market development programmes. WFP will draw lessons from P4P on how to enhance the developmental benefits of its local food procurement activities. Furthermore, WFP will share its lessons and best practices with:
- National governments seeking to use their public procurement programmes to enhance the agricultural production and market opportunities for smallholder farmers.
- Other stakeholders in the broader development community involved in rural and market development efforts.
- Academic institutions and researchers who want to access and analyse P4P data as well as to build on the P4P lessons in their continued research.