Burkina Faso: Evaluation of the Agriculture Development Project

Prepared for
Millennium Challenge Corporation

Woman with onions

In response to the challenges facing Burkina Faso’s agriculture sector, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) partnered with the government of Burkina Faso to implement the Agriculture Development Project (ADP) from 2009 to 2014. The project’s objectives were to improve agricultural productivity and incomes among farmers, livestock holders, and other actors in the agriculture and livestock value chain.

The project included (1) the construction of an irrigated perimeter, known as the Di perimeter; (2) support for water management through technical assistance for integrated water resource management institutions and support for local water user associations to improve management of irrigation perimeters; (3) training of farmers, livestock holders, and other actors in the agriculture and livestock value chains; and (4) the rehabilitation of markets and the development of a market information system to collect and disseminate agricultural prices via mobile phones. These activities together make up the water management and irrigation (WMI) and diversified agriculture (DA) activities and were designed to complement each other to increase agricultural productivity and income for beneficiaries. The WMI activity would guarantee reliable access to irrigation, and the DA activity would help farmers leverage this access into year-round farming, thus diversifying into higher-value crops and obtaining higher sales and profits.

Mathematica conducted an evaluability assessment of the project and is carrying out an impact evaluation and five performance evaluations of several project activities. Given that the Di perimeter constituted the majority of MCC’s investment in the ADP, three of the evaluations investigate different aspects of the construction and sustainability of the Di perimeter. The Di Lottery evaluation leverages the land allocation lottery process to conduct an impact analysis of winning the Di Lottery using a randomized controlled trial (RCT). This evaluation also features a methodological study that compares the impacts of the RCT with those of a second rigorous design, a regression discontinuity design. The Di perimeter evaluation studies the consequence of providing irrigated land on the perimeter as compensation for persons displaced by the project and recalculates the economic rate of return of the perimeter. The Sourou Operations and Maintenance (O&M) evaluation assesses technical assistance for O&M on the Di perimeter and existing perimeters close to Niassan.

The remaining three performance evaluations investigate the degree of integration of project activities, the effects of integrated water resource management project activities on water management and water conflicts, and the effects of the farmer training on agricultural practices and outcomes.

The evaluation will contribute to an understanding of (1) the effects of large-scale irrigation infrastructure investments on agricultural output and household incomes in Africa; (2) the effects of strengthening operations and management for the functioning of irrigated perimeters; and (3) the causal impact of receiving access to irrigated land on agricultural production, agricultural incomes, and household incomes. To our knowledge, the Di perimeter is one of the highest-stakes RCTs and the only RCT in which a subset of applicants received irrigated land. Since the lottery provided irrigated land to both men and women, we will be able to estimate the effects of providing land to females versus males.