The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has published a report on the Department for International Development’s Support to Agricultural Research. The overall rating for the programmes ICAI examined is Green-Amber. (Green-Amber: The programme performs relatively well overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Improvements should be made).
DFID has committed £350 million to agricultural research in the period 2010-15 to improve food security and tackle hunger in developing countries. Activities range from advanced science research in UK universities to projects developing and testing innovative ways to get research products (such as new seeds or animal vaccines) into use by farmers.
ICAI examined a sample of seven projects supported by DFID, including funding of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global network of 15 international agricultural research centres. We assessed what results these programmes are achieving and how well they are designed and delivered. We focussed on whether they will improve food and nutrition security for poor people.
Lead Commissioner for the report, John Githongo, said: “DFID is supporting important work with the potential to impact positively millions of lives. The programme would have a greater impact on DFID’s overall objectives if it focussed more on the needs of poorer farmers, especially women farmers, and poor people in urban areas, who need access to cheap food.”
A DfID spokesman said: “Icai’s limited review of just seven projects meant it did not fully document our achievements in turning research into real, tangible benefits for farmers. More than 100,000 farmers in India are planting flood-tolerant rice, over half a million families in Africa are consuming vitamin A-enriched sweet potato, and the world is now free of rinderpest, one of the worst cattle diseases in the tropics. All this is due to research supported by DfID.”
25 October 2013. The Guardian. UK agricultural research aid should do more for poor farmers, says watchdog. Efforts to improve food security and tackle hunger deemed effective, but prioritising farmers would yield greater impact.