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Monitoring and Evaluation of agricultural inputs distribution and key figures on farming and food security in Greater Ikwoto

Subject/Objective: 

This report is intended to provide account for the provision of farming inputs, notably seeds and agricultural instruments, conducted by AVSI Foundation in Ikwoto county, in Eastern Equatoria State, during the planting season of 2018. Given the unprecedented scale of the distribution accomplished (approximately 100 Tons of seeds, with funding coming from several projects), AVSI Foundation decided to conduct an in-depth Post-Monitoring Distribution (PMD) to: i) verify farmers’ preferences with regard to agricultural inputs; ii) assess additional needs related to farming production; iii) provide some evidence regarding the targeting of the intervention; iv) give account of the beneficiaries’ perception about the organization of the distribution. Additionally, with data gathered through AVSI’s second multi-sector survey of former Ikwoto county, key figures regarding the overall farming production in the county and the level of food security is reported as a means to put into context the interventions implemented so far, and to shed some lights on ways forward for scaling up and intensifying the promotion of crop production (along the entire value chain) and for fostering livelihood diversification.

Methodology: 

Both surveys, the PDM and the second multi-sector survey were conducted on May 2018. The sampling strategy for the PDM followed a basic methodology, whereby in a random fashion the beneficiary of the distribution of agricultural inputs were invited to take a survey. Although the number of surveys conducted in each one of the 8 payam comprising the county was not chosen to reflect the share of the population of such areas, the 150 surveys conducted were weighted to adjust for it, thus obtaining easy to interpret average figures for the county level. In total, 150 beneficiaries of the distribution were surveyed. This sample size of the PDM allows to provide moderately accurate estimates at the county level (with a confidence level of 80% and a margin error of 5% -- that is to say that 4 out of 5 people are represented by either the estimates provided in this report, or anything included between 5% less or 5% more than such figures). On the other hand, the estimates at the subcounty level should be regarded merely as references, so that any difference across communities should be regarded as significant only when strongly marked (around 20 to 30 percentage point of differences), for they have a confidence level of 80% and a margin error of 10% to 12%. The sampling strategy of AVSI’s second multi-sector survey followed the same methodology employed for the AVSI’s 2017 multi-sector survey, which description can be found in the document referred below

Key findings: 

SEEDS and FARMING INSTRUMENTS
 CROP SEEDS: Groundnut is the most wanted crop seed, employed for both consumption and sale. In certain communities, maize seeds are also much valued. Conversely, across Ikwoto, cowpeas seeds were considered of little use by one-third of the respondents. These evidences suggest that Ikwoto farmers are attempting to diversify their production and increasingly serve the market.
 VEGETABLE SEEDS: farmers’ preferences with regard to vegetable seeds vary a great deal across communities, showing the need for customizing interventions related to vegetable farming on a sub-county level. The only common feature with regard to vegetable seeds seems to be the limited appreciation for amaranth seeds, reported by one-third of respondents.
 FARMING INSTRUMENTS: Among the instruments distributed, howes and rakes are considered by far the most helpful tools for farming.
DISTRIBUTION ORGANIZATION and REQUEST FOR FURTHER SUPPORT.
 Every indicator describing the organization of the distribution provides evidence of its wide range and scope, for it reached virtually each one of the 60 bomas comprising the former county of Ikwoto; two-third of the beneficiaries were notified two days in advance, had to travel less than 30 minutes to reach the distribution site, and queued for less than 30 minutes.
 Instruments and training for adopting and employing ox ploughs were requested by most farmers, in each and every community of Ikwoto.
IMPACT OF THE DISTRIBUTION
 Preliminary evidences suggest that farmers equipped with agricultural tools, or employing improved seeds, or applying agronomic practices, sell a share of their production that is twice as much as the share sold by the farmers lacking such features. Therefore, provided its appropriate targeting, the distribution may have contributed to doubling the produce sold to the market by the farmers supported, markedly from 5% to 10% of their production.
 Preliminary evidences suggest that the total support provided by AVSI during the sowing season of 2018 reached up to one-quarter of the farmers of Ikwoto county, for an equivalent of 11,000 Ha of cultivated land, that is 30% of the land cultivated in former Ikwoto county.
TARGETING OF THE DISTRIBUTION
 Compared to the overall population of farmers, the beneficiaries of the distribution were more likely to be organized in farmer groups, to hold plots of lands greater than 1 Ha., to cultivate additional land in common with other farmers, to sell a greater quantity of their production in the market, and to employ good agricultural practices. Not surprisingly, such a targeting has translated into giving a greater support to the population enjoying a better level of food security.

KEY FIGURES ON AGRICULTURE AND LIVESTOCK FARMING
 A preliminary approximation puts the figure of land cultivated in former Ikwoto county at around 38,000 Ha, for an average of 1 Ha of land cultivated per household (similar to what found by FAO/WFP in 2010, and subsequent years, which estimated it at 0.95 Ha.). Although data quality issues do not allow to provide a precise estimation of the land cultivated by different categories of households, it is safe to regard the cultivation of at least 4 plots of land and/or the partecipation in the cultivation of common land as the features distinguishing surplus producing farmers from subsistance smallholders.
 Based on the reported share of produce sold or given out for free by farmers, the aprixmate size of land cultivated for the market is 3,220 Ha., whereas the total size of land cultivated for exchange (whether for sale or in the form of gift) is 5,230, representing respectively 8.5% and 13.7% of the total land cultivated.
 The features of the most market-oriented farmers are the following (in parenthesis the share of produce sold): cultivating land in common with other community memebers (20%); cultivating 4 or more plots of land (20%); employing more than 6 family members (19%); employing seeds of better quality (21%); and employing casual labour (23%).
 Only one out of three HH engages in animal husbandry. Most of these families live in the highlands, Chahari payam and southern Ikwoto county. Cattle husbandry is conducted as a means to integrating income during the lean season. Cattle sale is quite often the result of a need of income rather than the orientation to the market of the farmer.

RECOMMENDATIONS
 Decrease of around one-third the supply of cowpeas and amaranth seeds meant to be distributed in Ikwoto county and increase significantly (possibly double) the distribution of groundnut seeds.
 Customize the distribution of vegetable seeds at the sub-county level to reflect local-specific preferences.
 Extend the scope of the interventions promoting agricultural best practices
 Provide training and inputs needed to adopt and operate ox ploughs.
 Target interventions fostering market-oriented farming at farmers cultivating common land or with four of more plots of land.
 Take into consideration the significant role played by the exchange of produce in the form of gifts and do not overlook the relief that it may provide to the most dispossessed households.
 Complement projects aimed at boosting crop production with the promotion of vegetable farming during lean season, especially in dry communities, as well as relief interventions (for instance in the form of food for work) targeted to vulnerable food-insecure smallholders.
 Bridge the gap between relief and development. For instance, improve, facilitate and subsidize food trade to food insecure villages and/or ensure direct purchases from local farmers to serve schools or other institutions providing support to vulnerable groups.

Sample size: 
150 HHs
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Publicly Available
Contact(s): 
Bruno Nazim Baroni
bruno.baroni@avsi.org
+211 923 809 070 (Mobile)
Operations(s)/Webspace(s): 
Assessment Date(s): 
08 May 2018 to 26 May 2018
Status: 
Report completed
Unit(s) of Measurement: 
Households
Collection Method(s): 
Structured Interview
Population Type(s): 
All affected population
Cluster(s)/Sector(s): 
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
AVSI Foundation
Location(s): 
Ikotos
Theme(s): 
Livelihood
Resilience