A researcher and a field technician conduct an experiment to improve the resistance of rice to weeds. Photo by I. Serrano/IRRI.

Monitoring, evaluation, learning and impact assessment

Monitoring, evaluation, learning and impact assessment

In 2020, 183 monitoring, evaluation, learning and impact assessment (MELIA) activities were reported by the 12 CGIAR Research Programs and four Platforms. MELIA studies are principally used to inform learning and adaptive management, meet accountability requirements, and inform the design of new initiatives.

MELIA examples from 2020

Assessing the economic benefits of germplasm provided by the International Potato Center genebank
CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas and the International Potato Center Genebank

The International Potato Center (CIP) genebank conserves and facilitates access to highly diverse germplasm of potato, sweetpotato, and Andean roots and tubers as a global public good for food security.

While it is generally understood that material from the CIP genebank has played an important role in the release of many CIP-related varieties grown by smallholder farmers in lower-income countries, the contribution had not, until 2020, been evaluated in quantitative terms.

By applying the relative contribution of provenance based on pedigree data, scientists within the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) apportioned the CIP genebank contribution of two released potato varieties: Pallay Poncho and Victoria.

The estimated contribution of the CIP genebank to Pallay Poncho and Victoria is 35% and 72%, respectively. RTB scientists then used an economic surplus approach to measure Victoria’s benefits in Uganda by attributing and valuing productivity gains.

The gross benefit of Victoria in Uganda is estimated at US$1.04 billion (2016 value), which exceeds the annual operating cost of the entire genebank over its lifetime. Seventy-two percent of the economic benefits corresponding to germplasm of Victoria are due to the CIP genebank contribution.

The findings demonstrate the magnitude of economic benefits generated by using conserved germplasm provided by the CIP genebank in crop improvement, which is only one of the several components of its total economic value. The results show that the availability of diverse germplasm is perhaps one of the most important elements in varietal development.

Evaluating the welfare impacts of climate services for agriculture
CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security

Climate services are important in helping smallholder farmers manage climate-related risks and adapt to climate change, especially for rainfed agricultural production systems. To increase the resilience of farmers to the changing climate in Rwanda, the U.S. Agency for International Development funded a four-year project: Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture, from 2016 to 2019.

Through the project, climate services were disseminated directly to more than 111,000 farmers in four provinces across Rwanda through Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA), Radio Listeners Clubs (LCs) and cell phones, as well as broadcast by a radio network accessible to about 70% of the population.

In 2020, an evaluation using a project end-line survey of 1525 households, sampled across 15 of Rwanda’s 30 districts assessed the influence of PICSA training and LCs on awareness, access, and uptake of climate services by smallholder farmers and their impact on household welfare (for example, crop productivity, income, and food security).

Analyses showed that farmers used climate services to make decisions on the types of crops to grow (75%), the types of crop varieties to plant (58%), the timing of planting and land preparation (75%), and when and how to prepare land (65%).

Participation in PICSA and LCs, alone and in combination, was found to be associated with a substantial increase in the proportion of farmers that report changing crop, livestock, and livelihood management practices in response to weather and climate information.

Relative to the control (the evaluation used a quasi-experimental sampling design with a non-participant control sample), PICSA participation increased the value of crop production by 24%, and income from crops by 30%. The combination of PICSA and LCs was associated with a 47% increase in the value of crop production, and a 56% increase in income from crops.

Ongoing reviews of the CGIAR genebanks
CGIAR Genebank Platform

Genebanks play a vital role in the long-term conservation of crop diversity. To fulfill that role effectively, they must have adequate facilities, capacity, and operating mechanisms to reach and maintain scientific and technical standards.

Since 2012, the Crop Trust, with support of the Genebank Platform, has coordinated external reviews of the CGIAR genebanks.

In 2020, four technical reviews of CGIAR genebanks were completed by AfricaRice, Bioversity International, World Agroforestry, and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, concluding the latest phase of technical review. The results fed into the System Level Review of Genebank Costs and Operations.


MELIA overview

Explore our MELIA activities for 2020.

Working together:
Use of pooled funding
Working together:
Intellectual assets