In 2014, a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system for SARD-SC’s wheat project came into operation. M&E teams carried out, or prepared for, internal missions visiting ‘innovation platforms’ (IPs) in each of the three hub countries of SARD-SC: Sudan, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. IPs bring together individuals from different stages of an agricultural value chain to boost understanding and increase uptake of technological solutions.
In Sudan, an M&E team of ICARDA staff visited six innovation platforms. During meetings with the M&E team, stakeholders including policy makers, farmers, seed company representatives, and extension workers confirmed the usefulness of SARD-SC’s IP approach.
The stakeholders reported that SARD-SC’s wheat project was successfully testing and promoting wheat varieties and technologies: farmers recognized that, at 3–6 t/ha, yields from the 2013–14 field trials were significantly higher than those previously obtained by farmers (1.2–2 t/ha). The stakeholders also reported positive impact from SARD-SC’s training of agricultural extension workers and farmers.
The M&E team observed that, by bringing together more than 3,000 stakeholders, SARD-SC’s IP project increased social capital in Sudan. And the team concluded that the wheat project had been instrumental in persuading Sudan’s policy makers to increase the area of land allocated to this high-yielding crop.
In Ethiopia, an M&E team comprising staff from ICARDA and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture visited three IP sites. The mission made three main conclusions. Firstly, through increased consultation, SARD-SC’s wheat project has improved the relationship between farmers, finance institutes, seed enterprises, and input suppliers.
Secondly, the project has increased the amount of seed exchanged between farmers. More than half of Ethiopia’s wheat beneficiaries have exchanged at least 100 kg of the seed they produce, facilitating the spread of high-quality seed and reducing seed shortages in future years.
Thirdly, SARD-SC’s wheat project has significantly increased capacity among stakeholders for using improved wheat technologies. Farmers in particular expressed sincere appreciation of the ‘farmers’ field schools’ provided by the project.
In Nigeria, 50 stakeholders attended a meeting to prepare for an M&E mission later in 2014. Results from this mission will be reported later this year.