Learning partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Client: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Location: India and Africa
Sector: Agriculture
Dates of service: 2015 – 2018
IDinsight service: Learning partnership
IDinsight contacts: Dan Stein, Doug Johnson, Patricia Pina

IDinsight and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are working together to identify and generate rigorous evidence to improve farmer adoption of agricultural technologies and practices across Africa and India.

Learning partnerships enable organizations to dynamically generate evidence to make informed decisions. These extended engagements provide access to a large analytical toolkit, with emphasis on using the right tool at the right time. In many cases, IDinsight staff are co-located with the client to optimally tailor activities to client needs. The long-term, embedded nature of learning partnerships streamlines links between evidence generation, decisions, and action to dramatically amplify our clients’ impact.

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Several agro-dealers on a street in Kitale, Kenya, which sell agricultural products to farmers such as seeds, fertilizer, pesticide, and crop storage bags. (Photo: Amy Chen)

 

Background

Many innovative agricultural technologies and practices fail to achieve their potential scale due to low rates of farmer adoption.

 

Learning partnership

IDinsight is partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to work with three of their agriculture grantee partners to conduct rigorous, rapid-cycle impact evaluations on ideas to scale adoption of their technologies and practices.

The partnership will also focus on gathering valuable insights on a novel approach to generating evidence using decision-focused, rapid, and low-cost impact evaluations.

As of October 2016, IDinsight is working with the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) in India and the Purdue Improved Crop Storage Project (PICS) in Kenya.

 

IDinsight’s service

Reducing chicken mortality with thermostable vaccine against Newcastle Disease

Newcastle disease (ND) is a highly contagious livestock disease that kills 80-90% of infected poultry. GALVmed and Hester Biosciences developed an innovative thermostable vaccine to protect poultry from ND and are looking to distribute it to smallholder farmers in India.

To increase farmer demand for and adoption of the thermostable ND vaccine, IDinsight identified and is rigorously evaluating the effectiveness of different media messages urging farmers to vaccinate their poultry. After farmers are randomly given a message, IDinsight will ask them for the highest price they are willing to pay for the vaccine.

 

Promoting low-cost, chemical-free grain storage

The Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) project at Purdue University developed low-cost, hermetic grain-storage bags that protect crops from pest infestations. Since PICS bags have penetrated less than 1% of the total potential market for grain storage in Kenya, Purdue is looking to increase the reach of PICS bags and farmers’ awareness and demand for the bags.

To increase farmer demand for and adoption of PICS bags, IDinsight identified and rigorously evaluated different media messages aimed at generating farmer interest in the PICS bags. Farmers were randomly shown a textual, audio, or video message about the bags, and then asked for the highest price they were willing to pay for the bags using the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak method.

IDinsight found that the different media were equally effective at generating farmer interest and willingness to pay for the bags, and that the price elasticity of the bag was high. Therefore, price reductions could lead to significant increases in sales volumes.