Hope Webber and A. Solomon Adebayo

Under the IITA institutional strategy a study was undertaken to determine the impact and contribution of the Institute’s interventions to address sustainable nutrition and food security among African farming households. Based on the refreshed 2012-2020 strategy, 13 institutional key performance indicators (KPIs) were formulated from the strategic objectives and targets.

As part of its mandate, the M&E Unit implemented a hub-based farm households survey with two objectives: (a) evaluate the progress of the KPIs through the collection of data from farmers in the IITA Hubs—action sites, where IITA’s projects are active on the ground (treatment group) and non-action sites, where its projects are not active on the ground (control group), and (b) assess the impacts of its interventions among African farmers.

The survey results will enable scientists to target farmers better with improved crop technologies and management practices to increase adoption, yield, and income and reduce poverty among African farmers. The learnings from the study will also improve farmers’ farming practices and livelihoods.

The systematic random sampling method was used to sample farmers from villages within districts/Local Government Areas and states/regions in three intervention countries in Africa—Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, and Tanzania.

The beneficiary-farmers from Nigeria were divided into the treatment group located in Umudike (Abia State), Kano State, Onne (Rivers State), Saki, Ibadan (Oyo State), and Abuja (Federal Capital Territory), and the control group in Taraba State. The treatment group farmers from DRC are located in three districts in South-Kivu province— Walungu, Kabare, and Uvira, and the control group in Mwenga. Those from Tanzania are located in Arusha, Dodoma, Morogoro, Mwanza, etc.

A questionnaire designed in ONA/ ODK, deployed on mobile phones and laptops, was used to collect data through face-to-face and mobile phone interviews. M&E Unit staff, Hub M&E officers, and trained enumerators with local knowledge of the states or regions/villages administered the survey instrument to the respondents. Key among the interview questions posed to the farmers was the success/ impact stories of IITA interventions in their farming activities and value chain.

On completion of the data collection, the success stories module of the questionnaire was extracted, cleaned, and a qualitative dataset of farmers per country with credible impact stories was established. Content analysis of the data revealed that the impact stories pointed to six key performance indicators (see graphs below). The indicators of success were used to transform the qualitative impact stories into quantitative data, and percentages of farmers’ responses (genderdisaggregated) per indicator were computed. Subsequent interviews of farmers with fascinating impact stories were conducted to probe further how IITA interventions and technologies resulted in notable changes in their household living conditions. The interviews also determined whether they plan to continue adopting and disseminating the interventions/ technologies to their family, friends, and communities.


Evidence of IITA impacts and success stories in Africa

Below are the testimonies from some farmers and graphical presentations of the impact stories per country.

Interview with a farmer from DR Congo

“Once you give someone one thing, it helps them in many things.”

The testimony of a female farmer from Luvungi, DR Congo

I want to thank IITA for a lot of things it has done in relation to our project, for example, the distribution of improved maize and cassava varieties and crop management practices in 2019. Capacity building was given [sic] to people on the varieties and the management practices. People were happy because it helped to reduce famine. In the past, we worried because we had no good seeds to plant in a timely fashion, but today, we eat and even store seeds for the next planting season.

The change came through IITA because it awakened people, and we began to support the interventions. We have seen great change as a result of IITA’s work. Once you give someone one thing, it helps them in many things. The change is that I was missing [sic] the money to send my kids to school, but as soon as I got the improved seeds, I planted, and it increased my production. I sold some, and the rest we consumed at home. I experienced the change personally and for my family as we have enough food, and our health has improved. I thank IITA as my daughter got a well-deserved award.


Interview with a farmer from Abia State, Nigeria

“I use improved varieties of cassava now. IITA has taught me much and helped me a lot. I now use TME0419 and TMS 98/0505, which I got from my state ADP and the research at Umudike. Those are the two major varieties I use. I also have provitamin varieties from Umudike. Those are the three main varieties, and I will continue to grow these varieties.

I started farming in 2001; I have been on it for 20 years! For the past 15 years, I have been using improved varieties. At the onset, I was mixing the improved varieties with the local best we had. The main variety being grown in our community is TME0419. It has an advantage over others because the moisture content is not that high, unlike the other varieties.

Yes, I have told others. I sell cassava stems every year to other farmers; they have tried it and have come to know that it is better than the local ones they are used to.

When the yield improves, my income will also increase, and I have been able to cope with my family challenges to some extent anyway. I intercrop cassava with maize and egusi. Cassava is the main crop from which most of my income comes. I am also an egg dealer. I have a shop where I sell table eggs, and I get supplies from the poultry people…”

Interview with a farmer, Codes Mwitea, from Tanzania

“I am a farmer from Kiloasa, Morogoro of Tanzania. Researchers from IITA/MEDA project exposed me to new good agricultural practices (GAP), which are different from the normal practice I am used to. After attending the training, I tried to practice all the procedures on how to grow cassava, and finally, I realized that if you follow all the procedures well, you will produce more. I started implementing these good agricultural practices in 2019, and I have witnessed increased production resulting in increased income. This has continued from 2019 till now.

By using good agricultural practices, I have nearly doubled my income, which helps me spend the additional money to bring about other developments and feed my family. Personally, I got more yield in a way that surprised my neighbors. I am now able to visit other farmers who were not part of the demonstration plots and teach them for them also to realize changes in their farm practices.”

KPIs from DR Congo impact stories

The graph below shows that about 57% of the sampled farmers in DRC indicated that IITA interventions/technologies improved their livelihood and economic conditions. Household food security was mentioned as the second indicator, followed by increased yield, increased income, increased agricultural training and knowledge, and education for children. It is noteworthy that, in DRC female farmers scored high in all six indicators of success compared to men. Therefore, IITA/CGIAR research and development should focus more on promoting women-led agricultural initiatives to improve livelihoods, economic conditions, and household food security in DRC.

Impacts of IITA Interventions in DR Congo.


Here are other testimonies from DRC farmers:

  1. A good development, especially with the help of the IITA and other NGOs. We want their support to continue to be successful,
  2. I was able to buy my plot and my house, thanks to the IITA agribusiness training.
  3. I started farming with only one field, but today I have three fields.




KPIs from Nigeria impact stories

The graph below shows that about 39% of the sampled farmers in Nigeria indicated that IITA interventions/technologies improved their household food security. They mentioned improved livelihood and economic condition as second, followed by increased income, education for children, increased yield, and increased agricultural training and knowledge. Men farmers scored high in all six indicators in Nigeria.

Impacts of IITA Interventions in Nigeria.


Here are other testimonies from Nigerian farmers:

  1. Value addition in cassava has earned me more income which helps me to support my family.
  2. The vitamin A cassava I adopted gave me better yield, and it is a point of reference because I introduced it to many people.
  3. The extension officers of OYSADEP have been very instrumental to my progress, and IITA and GIZ contributed significantly to my wealth creation.
  4. The little knowledge I gained and applied from just one IITA training improved my yields and income. I am taking care of my family in terms of food, health, and education.



KPIs from Tanzania impact stories

The graph below shows that about 44% of the sampled farmers in Tanzania indicated that IITA interventions/ technologies improved their household food security. Improved livelihood and economic condition were sighted as second, followed by increased income, increased agricultural training and knowledge, increased yield and education for children. Men farmers scored high in all six indicators in Tanzania.

Impacts of IITA Interventions in Tanzania

Here are other testimonies from Tanzanian farmers:

  • My life has changed since the day I started using the knowledge I got from IITA, and I have been trying to provide this same knowledge to our people.
  •  After using the knowledge I got from IITA, my life has changed because I got more yield as a result, and my income has increased as well as food security in my household.




Implications on future research or development

Based on the content analysis of the sampled farmers and the testimonies of individual farmers per country, we can deduce that two KPIs (Household food security and improved livelihoods and economic condition) scored high as indicators of success from IITA interventions among African farmers.

Female farmers compared to men in DRC scored high in all six indicators of success, focusing more on improved livelihoods and economic conditions. Men farmers scored high in Nigeria and Tanzania, focusing more on household food security as an indicator of success. Consequently, future IITA/CGIAR research and development should focus on promoting women-led agricultural initiatives in DRC and other African countries to improve livelihoods and economic conditions, and household food security.


DRC: Sergie Amato and team, Rachel Zazo, and enumerators.

Nigeria: M&E Unit Staff, IITA Station Managers from Abuja, Kano, Onne and Umudike, enumerators, IITA scientists who provided the lists of farmers and crop varieties.

Tanzania: Hub Director Dr Victor Manyong, Daniel Mgalla and enumerators.

IITA M&E Unit: Joy Chiagoziem, Elizabeth Babalola, and Ramota Bankole.

IITA ME&L-CoP members.