Performance Evaluation: Improving Market Systems for Agriculture in Rwanda (IMSAR)

Clients: Department for International Development

The DFID-funded Improving Market Systems for Agriculture in Rwanda (IMSAR) aims to address the “inefficiency of market systems that prevent poor people from benefitting from agricultural opportunities”.

The ultimate aim of the programme (its expected impact) is to increase the incomes of poor households in targeted agricultural market systems.  The programme’s theory of change (ToC) is based on two main assumptions: (i) that private sector investment (by public actors) is a driver of growth; and (ii) that growth of the agricultural market can benefit the poor in Rwanda. Within IMSAR, DFID Rwanda is funding four activities or (‘components’) that it considers will address barriers to growth, specifically: market failures, lack of capacity and lack of finance. The IMSAR components are:

  • Component 1. Market development services: market and agricultural experts will be hired to identify market failures and design and establish interventions to overcome them.
  • Component 2. A capacity-building technical assistance (TA) function: to strengthen the capacity of the private sector, private sector associations and Government of Rwanda (GoR) agencies to respond to the opportunities created.
  • Component 3. Short and medium term agricultural investments: to enable farmers and Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) to add value to their produce (e.g. by investing in riskier, but higher-yield crops) and access a wider range of markets.
  • Component 4. Long-term debt and/or equity investment, provided over a medium to long-term payback period (5-10 years) to enable companies to invest in early stage agriculture. This component responds to the fact that such investments are often costly, risky, and can take a long-time to be realised, preventing companies from investing in agriculture. This component will include a business support function that will provide much needed business advice to businesses that have received investments.

The direct beneficiaries of these activities will be the farmers, MSMEs and the (other) private and public sector actors receiving the TA and financial support. Amongst these beneficiaries it is expected that several outcomes will be achieved including improved sales for the farmers and agro-enterprises supported, increased share in non-traditional exports (tea and coffee), job creation and increased income for directly benefitting farmers. However, the aim of the programme is to deliver benefits ‘at scale’ to farmers and businesses, including those not directly participating in it, by transforming the market (removing barriers) to make it more attractive to private sector (company) investment and poor farmer participation in it (equalling growth overall).

LTS is the contracted to provide Performance Evaluation of the program. The aims of the independent performance evaluation contract, as summarised in the ToR are:

  • Evaluate the adaptiveness and “application of flexibility” of the TSP and AgDevCo in implementing the programme (this entails process evaluation, including ongoing reviews of the ToC);
  • Evaluate the programme performance through an ‘impact-oriented’ assessment of the programme’s effects on inter alia the poor, cross cutting issues (nutrition, climate change and gender) and agricultural markets as part of the EPE; and
  • Evaluate the programme coherence (internal and external) by assessing and demonstrating synergies realised across and between IMSAR components, as well as with other ongoing programmes and activities of other actors (where relevant).

By the end of the ESP contract we will be in a position to advise whether the activities of IMSAR have stimulated changes in the businesses operating in the agricultural sector in Rwanda and whether this increase has benefited poor smallholders. In this way, the ESP will be able to comment on the hypothesis outlined in the DFID Business Case that ‘IMSAR has helped commercialise agriculture by improving the way agricultural market systems function, making them more effective, participatory (by including poor farmers and other disadvantaged groups), and more competitive. In doing so, IMSAR has ultimately contributed to increasing the income of poor households in targeted agricultural market systems’.

Key Staff