Promoting food security in rural Sub-Saharan Africa: The role of private sector investments and results-oriented approaches

To achieve SDG 2, public and private investments in the agricultural sector have to increase and become more effective. Against this background, this projects deals with two different topics. Work package 1 analyses the role of privat investments in agriculture whereas a focus is laid on the opportunities and risks of large-scale (foreign) agricultural investments. The second work package analyses how to increase the results orientation of agricultural and food security interventions. The project is financed by the BMZ special initiative "One World, No Hunger".

Project Lead:
Michael Brüntrup

Project Team:
Tekalign Gutu Sakketa

Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)

Time frame:
2018 - 2021 / completed

Co-operation Partner:

The University of Zambia (UNZA)

Project description

Work package 1: Private investment in agriculture

This work package aims to contribute to a better understanding of the impacts of private sector investments in agriculture, in particular large-scale agricultural investments. Increasing global demand for agricultural resources has contributed to a sharp increase in foreign and domestic private sector investments. There have been controversial debates about the consequences of such investments. On the one hand, they could provide potentials for rural-based growth, income and poverty reduction. On the other hand, there are significant risks for food security and poverty reduction, for example, through negative effects on small farmers' access to land and water. Empirical findings on developing investments, different institutional arrangements between investors and communities as well as drivers of the effects are of high relevance.

The research project analyses large-scale agricultural investments and different institutional arrangements using quantitative and qualitative empirical methods. The research allows statements about effects and how different institutional arrangements influence them (e.g. integration of small farmers into the supply chain versus labour markets). The project contributes to the question of whether and how more inclusive private sector investments can arise.

Work package 2: results-based management of agricultural, rural development and food security projects

It is getting increasingly important in development cooperation to provide evidence that Official Development Assisstance (ODA) has been spent effectively and efficiently. Against this background, work package 2 deals with the opportunities, challenges and risks of increasing the results orientation of agricultural, rural development and food security projects. At agency level, an increasing number of bi- and multilateral donor organizations, including the BMZ, introduce results frameworks and standard indicators to aggregate results across countries and projects. While standard indicators are an important instrument to report on results, their use is also associated with several risks, such as a focus on quantity instead of quality. At intervention level, monitoring of progress is a challenge. Results of agricultural, rural development and food security projects are influenced by a variety of external factors which makes it difficult to attribute observed changes to a project. Moreover, capacity and resources for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are often limited, leading to challenges when selecting and defining indicators as well as to low data quality and availability. This work package aims to address two research gaps. To contribute to the debate on how standard indicators should be defined to make use of their advantages while minimizing risks, it will compare and assess the use of standard indicators among several bi- and multilateral donor agencies. In addition, it analyses the logframes and indicators used in projects and programmes of German technical and financial cooperation. Evidence about which indicators and data collection methods are used to monitor results of development cooperation projects is limited to date. Besides adding to the academic debate, this work package aims to provide policy advice to BMZ and to influence the discussion on results at international donor level (e.g. within the OECD results community).


Project Coordination

Anette Koehler-Rahm