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Thus, irrespective of whether RIPAT has changed income or poverty levels among the participating households, the shift towards less seasonal agricultural technologies has lessened the need for the smoothing of food consumption. This could be sufficient to generate a positive impact on food security in the lean season. This effect on food security may have been strengthened by the increased membership of savings and loans associations towards the end of the RIPAT 1 project period. Such membership increases the ability to smooth consumption by providing both the means for more secure cash savings for lean periods and the possibility of borrowing during those periods.

The impaCT oF ripaT on Food seCuriTy and poverTy A note should be included here on what the impact evaluation captures. The fact that training in the establishment of savings groups became an integral part of the RIPAT projects only in 2009, i.e. in the last year of the RIPAT 1 project period and in the early phase of the RIPAT 3 project period, makes it impossible to separate the shorter-term effect of savings group participation from the longer-term effect of agricultural technology transfers. Although we are not able to detect any statistically significant difference in the probability of RIPAT 1 and RIPAT 3 farmers reporting membership of a savings group, it is possible that the levels of the savings made by members of the two groups were different at the time of the survey. We therefore cannot identify whether the impacts found on the various food security outcome measures among RIPAT 1 farmers are attributable to improved agricultural production, to a more intensive use of savings groups by RIPAT 1 farmers than RIPAT 3 farmers, or to a mixture of the two.

5.6 Conclusion Although RIPAT is known locally by many as ‘the banana project’ (see Chapter 7), the considerable variation between households in which technologies they adopt suggests that the choice built into the basket of options has indeed been used by the individual farmers to select technologies according to their needs and resources.

We have found that RIPAT has had substantial impacts on the food security of farmers participating in RIPAT 1. We have found positive impacts on access to food and on the nutritional quality of the diet, which also seems to have caused a considerable reduction in the degree of stunting among some children under five years old. Stunting is typically caused by malnutrition at an early age.

Despite these positive impacts on our food security measures, we found no impact on any of our poverty indicators, be they the composite PPI or the partial indicators focusing on specific improvements in housing standards, schooling, or ownership of ‘luxury’ goods. There may be several reasons for this. It should be kept in mind that RIPAT targets households in an area where three households in five experienced hunger in the past year, and where two in five households with children have at least one stunted child. In an area where food insecurity is so widespread, it seems plausible that this is the first thing households will attempt to address.

Furthermore, the RIPAT project has provided the means to address the seasonal variation in the household’s agricultural production, and thus their food production. By adopting perennial crops and improved livestock breeds, the participating households have almost automatically achieved better food consumption smoothing over the year.

This may have been strengthened further through the increased membership of savings and loans associations.

In addition, there are indications that RIPAT households have changed their use of labour; they are more likely to invest in their own farm activities rather than supplying casual labour to others, despite this being a rather remunerative source of income. This suggests that any additional resources that RIPAT may have generated have primarily been used by the participating households to improve their food security and to invest in their farms.

Finally, it should be mentioned that, although at present we cannot detect any impact of RIPAT on poverty, we cannot rule out the possibility that over a longer timeframe RIPAT may have positive impacts on poverty levels among the households that have 62 Farmers’ ChoiCe participated. Thanks to the impacts on food security, we would expect that, solely as a consequence of improved nutrition among children and adults, there should be an impact on poverty in the longer term. This is, however, pure speculation, and only time will tell whether it is the case.


1. This poverty line is calculated by defining a food poverty line at TZS 359 per adult equivalent per day, equivalent to the cost of 2,200 calories using food items consumed among the poorer half of the population. The national poverty line of TZS 492 per adult equivalent per day is based on the food poverty line, which is then adjusted for the fact that households also have necessary expenditures on non-food items. For more information see Schreiner et al. (2011).

2. Households where information was missing, households owning more than 8 acres or less than 1 acre of land in 2006, and new residents in the village have all been disregarded from the impact analysis. Results are robust to their inclusion.

3. The height-for-age (stunting) index provides an indicator of linear growth retardation and cumulative growth deficits in children. Children whose height-forage Z-score is below minus two standard deviations (–2 SD) from the median of the World Health Organization (WHO) reference population are considered short for their age (stunted), or chronically malnourished. Children who are below minus three standard deviations (–3 SD) are considered severely stunted. Stunting reflects a failure to receive adequate nutrition over a long period of time and is affected by recurrent and chronic illness. The height-for-age measure, therefore, represents the long-term effects of malnutrition in a population and is not sensitive to recent, short-term changes in dietary intake.

References Banerjee, A. and Duflo, E. (2011) Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, PublicAffairs, New York.

Deitchler, M., Ballard, T., Swindale, A. and Coates, J. (2010) Validation of a Measure of Household Hunger for Cross-cultural Use, Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance II

Project (FANTA-2), Washington, D.C. Available from:

www.fantaproject.org/downloads/pdfs/HHS_Validation_Report_May2010.pdf [accessed 18 July 2012].

Deitchler, M., Ballard, T., Swindale, A. and Coates, J. (2011) ‘Introducing a simple measure of household hunger for cross-cultural use’, Technical Note No. 12, FANTA-2, Washington, D.C. Available from: www.fantaproject.org/downloads/pdfs/TN12_HHS.pdf [accessed 18 July 2012].

EDI-RF APFS data (2011) EDI-RF Assessment of Poverty and Food Security, Rockwool Foundation Research Unit, Copenhagen.

Schreiner, M. (2011) A Simple Poverty Scorecard for Tanzania, Progress out of Poverty, Washington, D.C. Available from: http://progressoutofpoverty.org/tanzania (enrolment and login required) [accessed 4 June 2012].

Schreiner, M., Chen, S. and Woller, G. (2011) PPITM Design Documentation for Tanzania, Progress out of Poverty, Washington, D.C. Available from: http://progressoutofpoverty.

org/tanzania CHAPTER 6 Evaluation of the RIPAT concept Charles Aben, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS, Uganda), Deborah Duveskog, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and Esbern Friis-Hansen, Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) 64 Farmers’ ChoiCe In this chapter, the actual implementation of the RIPAT interventions is assessed, following the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) principles. The authors conclude that RIPAT has been a relevant project in terms of both the technologies offered and the way in which they were offered, through the use of a basket of options as a pragmatic mix of different extension approaches. There are indications that RIPAT has succeeded in closing the technology gap experienced by small-scale farmers, as the risk of agricultural failure during drought has been reduced. The writers draw special attention to the use of built-in spreading mechanisms and of biologically based inputs (which can be produced locally) as effective and efficient ways of ensuring sustainability and further diffusion of the technologies introduced. However, a potential weakness of RIPAT may be a lower level of sustainability in the farmer groups compared with the classic Farmer Field School (FFS) set-up.

6.1 Introduction In this chapter, we provide an overall analysis and evaluation of the RIPAT concept, its implementation strategy, and its organizational structure. Specifically, our evaluation examines the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of the RIPAT project design. The evaluation described here was carried out by a team of researchers from the DIIS and the FAO. Our analysis and evaluation are based on a thorough reading of all the documents related to the project, and on observations and interviews carried out in Tanzania in June 2011 for the implementation study (see Chapter 3, Section 3.5).

As outlined in Chapter 2, the stated overall objective of RIPAT 1 was to reduce poverty and increase household food security by introducing new technologies and practices to poor farmers – i.e. by closing the agricultural technology gap. However, we note that the objectives of the RIPAT projects have evolved over time. RIPAT 1 focused on improving agriculture for the individual farmers, and forming groups was simply a means of reaching farmers in an efficient way. In the process of implementing RIPAT 1, RECODA and the Rockwool Foundation realized that groups were very important in themselves for spreading the various elements of the project and for project continuation, and also that groups could be a vehicle for development in general. Therefore, when the objectives for RIPAT 2, 3 and 4 were formulated, support for groups was included in the objectives.

Activities in the RIPAT projects fall into two categories: those aimed at supporting food security and agricultural business opportunities for the targeted groups of farmers;

and those aimed at building up the organizational capacity of farmer groups. Support is provided to groups of farmers; they are offered a combination of advice and training in agricultural techniques and the tangible inputs associated with the basket of technology options. Technologies spread from members of RIPAT groups to the wider community.

RIPAT participants are proclaimed by the village government to be village ‘development ambassadors’ and they are required by the village government and RECODA to teach fellow villagers what they have learned in the RIPAT project in order to promote the spread of knowledge and technologies. Technologies also spread through the sale of inputs on a market basis. The overall finding of our evaluation is that RECODA’s ‘help to self-help’ support for RIPAT groups has been highly successful in bridging the technology gap, and relatively successful in terms of capacity development of the groups. Members of the RIPAT groups have acquired relevant agricultural knowledge and have also gained evaluation oF the riPat ConCePt in individual and collective empowerment, enabling them to improve their well-being and livelihoods through increased household agricultural production.

The chapter is organized as follows. First, the key components and implementation strategy of RIPAT are presented in Section 6.2. This is followed by four sections examining the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of the RIPAT intervention.

Finally, conclusions and recommendations are discussed in Section 6.7.

6.2 Key components and implementation strategies In our assessment of the four RIPAT projects begun to date, we have identified three

components that we believe characterize the intervention:

• support for smallholders in developing their agricultural techniques through the offer of a basket of agricultural technology options;

• capacity development for groups of farmers;

• provision of a mechanism for spreading agricultural technologies within the groups and to the wider community.

As shown in Table 2.1 in Chapter 2, RIPAT has been implemented in the form of projects planned for three years. RIPAT 2 and 3 were extended by one year because of drought. Implementation of each successive project is guided by the lessons learned from the previous one. In general, what has characterized the intervention is the adoption of a development approach that is flexible and open to continuous adjustments during project implementation, i.e. action and reflection (see Figure 1.1 in Chapter 1 for a timeline for the RIPAT projects).

• RIPAT 1 started in 2006 and was extended by six months to provide additional support for group leadership, management of group accounts, and post-harvesting and marketing, etc. (including processing and drying of bananas).

• RIPAT 2 has been the most challenging, as the area where it is being implemented was hit by spells of drought in 2009 and 2010; consequently, RIPAT 2 has been extended to last for four years. Although some RIPAT 2 groups have managed to cultivate bananas, the majority of farmers in RIPAT 2 rejected improved banana cultivation, which was the main technology option in RIPAT 1, and have instead opted for improved breeds of sheep, goats, and poultry, as well as for conservation agriculture. These technologies are better suited to the extremely dry conditions, and are also more culturally acceptable to the members of the RIPAT 2 groups.

The RIPAT 2 farmers are pastoralists; their farming system is under considerable pressure and in a state of transition.

• The technological innovation in RIPAT 3 was to add an improved breed of pig to the basket of options; this project also started in 2008, but in the mountainous Karatu District. RIPAT 3 was extended to last four years because of the 2009 drought.

• RIPAT 4 started in January 2010 in the lowland part of Korogwe District and is expected to finish as planned in December 2012. Groups in RIPAT 4 seem to have adopted a greater variety of the elements from the basket of options than did the other groups.

66 Farmers’ ChoiCe

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