Evaluation of IFAD’s support to innovation and productivity growth for inclusive and sustainable smallholder agriculture

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Corporate level evaluation (CLE) of IFAD's support to innovation and productivity growth for inclusive and sustainable smallholder agriculture. The CLE assessed policies, tools and approaches adopted by IFAD (for its supported interventions, including loans and grants) in order to promote innovations with the aim of improving the productivity of rural production activities / units and their outcomes and impacts. It considered: (i) the outreach to poor and very poor groups; (ii) the types of innovations (both technical and non-technical) that have been promoted and their suitability to the context; (iii) the results achieved in terms of rural poverty reduction and rural development and the progress made in scaling up; and (iv) the economic, social, environmental sustainability of these approaches and their resilience to climate change.

Overall, the CLE covered the continuum of processes (from upstream to downstream) established /applied over the past decade by IFAD to promote innovations and productivity growth for inclusive and sustainable smallholder agriculture.

Background. As approved by IFAD's Executive Board in December 2019, the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) undertook the corporate-level evaluation on: 'IFAD's support to innovation and productivity growth for inclusive and sustainable smallholder agriculture'. The evaluation began in early 2019 and was completed by mid-2020. The report was presented to the Executive Board in September 2020. The evaluation was conducted in line with the 2011 IFAD Evaluation Policy and followed the 2015 Evaluation Manual.

According to the IOE Evaluation Manual, the main purpose of CLEs is to strengthen the organization's accountability framework and learning loops for enhanced rural transformation and better livelihoods. Thus, the CLE assessed policies, tools and approaches adopted by IFAD (for its supported interventions, including loans and grants) in order to promote innovations with the aim of improving the productivity of rural production activities / units and their outcomes and impacts. It considered: (i) the outreach to poor and very poor groups; (ii) the types of innovations (both technical and non-technical) that have been promoted and their suitability to the context; (iii) the results achieved in terms of rural poverty reduction and rural development and the progress made in scaling up; and (iv) the economic, social, environmental sustainability of these approaches and their resilience to climate change.

Overall, the CLE covered the continuum of processes (from upstream to downstream) established /applied over the past decade by IFAD to promote innovations and productivity growth for inclusive and sustainable smallholder agriculture.

Aligned with the above, a core team of multidisciplinary experts carried out the CLE. The rural sociologist expert contributed to the overall evaluation process, andspecifically, provided in-depth expertise on issues related to: relevance, effectiveness, social impact (institutions, policy and gender) and sustainability of innovation and productivity enhancement processes implemented by IFAD, over the past ten years.

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