Monitoring Evaluation and Impact study in farmers’ participatory action research: Role and relevance
Monitoring, evaluation and learning in
dynamic farmer participatory research:
the essential role
Institute of Development Studies, U.K.
SRI Regional Project Inception Workshop,
Bangkok, 9 April 2013
Monitoring and evaluation
in times of rapid change
• Agriculture impacted from many directions
– Shifting nature of the farming population –
part-time, diversified livelihoods, aging
– Increased frequency of extreme weather events
– Market price volatility: inputs and outputs
• Impacts experienced differently in different areas
• Diversified options needed that can be tested and
• Crucial to recognize: innovation springs from multiple
Farmer creativity and innovation: the
key agricultural resource
• Remains the source of much agricultural
– Provides the adapted cultivars that breeding
– Develops adapted cropping/farming systems
• Continues to modify and adapt packages
developed by research and promoted by
• Programs ignore farmer innovation at their
Philippines, early 1980s
100 km from IRRI
• Farmers employed Green Revolution elements
but used them very differently than directed
– Insecticides applied at 1/3 recommended dose
– N-fertilizer never applied basally: weeks later
• Perceived by research as “inefficiency”
• Eventually, field research showed farmers’
practices rational under their conditions
• Much time, resources wasted thru failure to
appreciate, engage with farmer innovation
Who should monitoring and
• Partners, stakeholders involved in innovation at
– Communities, producers (landed and landless)
– People working up/downstream on value chains
– Research, advisory, program implementation
– Policy, planning, oversight
• Beyond “accountability”, after-the-fact concerns
– Was money well-spent? What was the impact?
• Feed learning to support innovation
– Doing better, ensure benefits equitably shared
What should responsive monitoring
and evaluation look like?
• Clear, accurate pictures: what is happening?
• Information on questions of local concern
• Responsive to emerging concerns: impacts and
responses to e.g.
– Climate change and variability
– Volatility of prices
• Early intelligence on unintended consequences
– Social and environmental
• Information in a form that is meaningful and
available in a timely fashion
• Evaluators “involved” rather than external
What will responsive monitoring and
evaluation look like in our initiative?
• Objectives and procedures to be refined over
the next few days
• What are farmers doing with what they learn
about SRI in their fields and what do they
– What directions does innovation take?
– Among which farmers is innovation proceeding?
– Where is it stagnating?
– What are the exceptional innovations?
• How do the new cropping practices respond to
extreme weather events?