The pilot programme in Mara began in 2008 with 3,000 participants, increasing to 14,000 in 2009 and 23,000 in 2010. In the forthcoming 2011/12 growing season, the programme will be rolled out to the entire WCGA. This qualitative assessment is designed to capture learning from the Mara pilot in order to inform the wider roll-out; given that planning for the 2011-12 season is already fairly advanced, the lessons learned may be most useful to inform ongoing work from the 2012-13 growing season onwards to consolidate the programme and ensure its sustainability.
Due to the lack of baseline data on the economic status and agricultural performance of participants and non-participants, this assessment will necessarily be retrospective in nature. In addition, the Mara pilot has the following features:
· The initial choice of pilot villages was not random. Therefore, there is no scope for mimicking that process when selecting comparison villages for a quantitative survey.
· Recall data imprecise, especially stretching back to year before pilot. Self-reporting acreage and rounding of yields to mafurushi (90kg) rather than kg further increase the level of imprecision. Again, this favours a more qualitative approach.
· No defensible control group exists and, therefore, there is no reliable quantitative means of attributing differences between contract farmers and comparison farmers to programme effects because farmers who choose to enter contract farming are unlikely to represent the average.
Therefore, we recommend that the majority of the resources for quantitative assessment be assigned to the baseline survey and that a mostly qualitative approach be used in Mara. Based upon the learning from the phase one scoping visit and the combined experience and knowledge of our consortium, we present the following approach to this assessment
Principal Research Fellow, Director CPAN project