The Role of Impact Evaluation of Agricultural Development Projects

Bonan, Jacopo and Pareglio, Stefano and Rotondi, Valentina (2015) The Role of Impact Evaluation of Agricultural Development Projects. Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, 131 (4). pp. 369-380.

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Agricultural development is central in the debate on the post-2015 development agenda, food security and poverty eradication being directly linked to agricultural production. Development actors are working to translate identified priorities into implementable policies aimed at increasing small farmers' productivity, which is one of the most important barriers to agricultural development. Agricultural extension is deemed as a way to transfer innovation to farmers. Despite the development of extension programs, few studies investigate their impacts through rigorous evaluation methods. Impact evaluation exercises, by incorporating the methodology of the counterfactual, play a pivotal role in identifying the effects of agricultural programs in a causal manner, allowing the selection of the most cost-effective interventions and providing information for evidence-based policy making. The paper underlines the role of impact evaluation methods applied to agricultural development programs. It focuses on agricultural extension projects and briefly presents the results of a case study in rural Ethiopia.

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