Innovating Agriculture Business Models

We’re testing and promoting innovative business models that help the delivery of climate smart agriculture.

Vuna Impact Monitoring Projects

Project Ref Number: 6924-A024

Active period and status: Project procurement ongoing – June 2017 to March 2018

The objective of this action research is to apply methodologies for collecting data on the impact of CSA projects on women’s economic empowerment and on the different innovation models implemented by Vuna. Following an analysis of available data collection approaches and tools, Vuna seeks to identify an integrated participatory research methodology, which has good potential to deliver the above objective. The approach should target household power dynamics, and also serve as a participatory data collection and mapping tool which will form the primary research model of the gender economic empowerment theme.

Vuna seeks the following objectives:

Gender Economic Empowerment

  • Establish an approach for implementing a gender framework to a select number of Vuna pilot projects (5-6).
  • Confirm a selection from the Vuna pilot project portfolio of projects on which the gender framework should be applied to achieve the best understanding of:
  • Impacts of CSA projects on women’s economic empowerment (and productivity gap)
  • Impacts of the application of the gender methodology on women’s economic empowerment (and productivity gap)
  • Elements of CSA delivery mechanisms which drive improvements in women’s economic empowerment.
  • Build on previous experience in the development and implementation of gender analysis to implement gender framework on the select Vuna projects.
  • Deliver an analysis report on the findings of gender methodology on each pilot project
  • Deliver an analysis report on the broader findings relating to CSA projects and women’s economic empowerment and gender productivity gap.
  • Develop a programme of robust data collection to measure women economic empowerment alongside the application of the gender framework to allow for qualitative research findings to be drawn.

Innovation Models Impact
1. Confirmation of the selection criteria, and the selection of the Vuna portfolio of projects that will be subjected to assessment to provide the best understanding of:

  • the success of the different business innovation models of delivery of the support and services which farmers need to become climate resilient;
  • the changes needed to systems within which farmers operate and services are provided in order to maximise adoption of CSA;
  • the role of technical support, capacity development and specialist system design in enabling the implementation of CSA interventions
  • impacts of supporting the development and roll out of innovative financial, information and technology services, which are part of farmers’ needs for achieving climate resilience, by means which do not distort markets but which speed up systemic availability of those services.
  • On how these business models compare regionally / across thematic areas – and provide recommendations for scale ups within a proposed Regional Catalytic Facility

2. Establish an approach to conducting in-depth impact studies as well as innovation models assessments
3. Deliver technical impact papers that demonstrate regional and thematic interventions that can be scaled up along specific value chains to improve farmer resilience
4. Deliver technical papers that provide an assessment of the efficacy of the innovation business models piloted under the ADF

  • Develop a methodology for undertaking the in-depth impact assessments and efficacy of innovation models respectively


Target Problem:
There is a wide range of research on climate smart agriculture in East and Southern Africa. There is also a broad range of experimentation with the promotion of climate smart agriculture techniques and approaches. However, much of this work is either not written up, or only found in project reports that are difficult to obtain. Vuna’s overarching goal is to identify and test innovative interventions that aim to improve the adoption of, and benefits from, climate-smart agriculture, and, where possible, to scale approaches that are shown to have positive impact(s). Underpinning this is the need to have robust mechanisms and systems in place that generate reliable evidence on the impact of interventions on individuals, households, markets and the environment, particularly under conditions of climate vulnerability and adverse climate shocks.

While there has been a broad range of research and experimentation with technologies and institutional arrangements for improving climate-smart agriculture in recent years, there is little evidence of what works and under what circumstances.

Firstly, there is limited evidence of widespread and sustained adoption of CSA practices and their socio-economic impact on smallholder farmers. Secondly, there are no proven private-sector delivery models that can effectively scale or catalyse systemic change. Moreover, pre-existing gender disparities in resource access, productivity gaps and returns from agriculture are little understood and innovation models run the risk of further exacerbating gender disparities compounded by climate change.

The lack of established approaches for measuring the impact of the implementation of CSA programmes on the gender productivity gap and women’s economic empowerment provides an opportunity to pilot methodologies to collect data and address women’s economic empowerment which allow this impact analysis to be undertaken and the impact of CSA projects on the gender productivity gap more broadly to be further explored.