Exploring transformational outcomes from donor investments in agroforestry research for development

Bartlett, Anthony G.
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Springer Nature
While many agroforestry research projects contribute to improving food security, livelihoods and management of natural resources, few have had a significant role in achieving transformational development outcomes. Evaluating the achievements and impacts of multiple research for development (R4D) projects improves understanding of how and why different development interventions work or don’t work. This paper evaluates the relative success of 15 completed agroforestry R4D projects, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, and analyses key success factors and other aspects that have contributed to differential project success. The evaluation found that six projects had achieved both high achievement of planned activities and had high impacts. The two key success factors considered by project scientists to have the greatest influence on project success were “good leadership and project management” and “collaborative scoping and design”, but the factor “links to impact pathways and user benefits” was also found to be a determinant of high achievement-high impact projects. The paper examines aspects of three most successful agroforestry projects, implemented in Eastern Africa, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea, that have enabled these projects to contribute to transformational development outcomes. These aspects included the development of simple farmer-friendly, locally-appropriate agroforestry technologies, the existence of supportive government policies and programs including effective mechanisms for dissemination of germplasm and tree-growing knowledge to farmers, the engagement of non-government organisations and private sector entities, and the willingness of the donor to invest in value-added product development, effective value-chains and market research.
© The Author(s) 2020. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ . The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agroforestry Systems, 2021, available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10457-020-00516-3 . Keywords: evaluation; transformational development; key success factors; research for development; impact pathways.
Bartlett, A.G. (2021). Exploring transformational outcomes from donor investments in agroforestry research for development. Agroforestry Systems, 95, 1383–1394. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-020-00516-3