Quasi-experimental Impact Evaluation of IFAD’s AD2M Project in Madagascar

Erin Kavanagh
Kevin Kamto

Farmers in western Madagascar live in an arid region that makes it difficult to survive on their own production. As in many other regions in less developed countries, there is a big initiative to improve agricultural production. In such a dry region, it is important to understand whether large-scale investments in irrigation infrastructure can improve outcomes for smallholder farmers.

Appui au Développement du Menabe et du Melaky (AD2M) farmers had the opportunity to change the way they grow crops. The program created new irrigation infrastructure in areas that had not been irrigated, and rehabilitated existing irrigation infrastructure when possible. The irrigation allowed farmers to use better agricultural techniques.

AIR's evaluation of the project found meaningful improvements in the beneficiaries’ agricultural productivity. Annualized rice yields were estimated to be about 25% greater for treated versus control households, and annualised total value of crop production per hectare was estimated to be about 16% higher for treated versus control households. Focus group discussions with farmers revealed that they attribute the increased rice production to improved irrigation and adoption of the row-cropping method.

Evidence also suggested that most of the gains in the treated communities came from the ability to crop in the second season; treated households were much more likely to crop more than one season. AD2M also improved access to extension services and trainings, as well as the use of purchased inputs. Finally, treated households also worried less about finding food than did untreated households.