The DFID-funded Improving Market Systems for Agriculture in Rwanda (IMSAR) aims to address the “inefficiency of market systems that prevent poor people from benefitting from agricultural opportunities”. The ultimate aim of the programme (its expected impact) is to increase the incomes of poor households in targeted agricultural market systems. The programme’s theory of change (ToC) is based on two main assumptions: (i) that private sector investment (by public actors) is a driver of growth; and (ii) that growth of the agricultural market can benefit the poor in Rwanda. Within IMSAR, DFID Rwanda is funding four activities or (‘components’) that it considers will address barriers to growth, specifically: market failures, lack of capacity and lack of finance. The IMSAR components are:
The direct beneficiaries of these activities will be the farmers, MSMEs and the (other) private and public sector actors receiving the TA and financial support. Amongst these beneficiaries it is expected that several outcomes will be achieved including improved sales for the farmers and agro-enterprises supported, increased share in non-traditional exports (tea and coffee), job creation and increased income for directly benefitting farmers. However, the aim of the programme is to deliver benefits ‘at scale’ to farmers and businesses, including those not directly participating in it, by transforming the market (removing barriers) to make it more attractive to private sector (company) investment and poor farmer participation in it (equalling growth overall).
LTS is the contracted to provide Performance Evaluation of the program. The aims of the independent performance evaluation contract, as summarised in the ToR are:
By the end of the ESP contract we will be in a position to advise whether the activities of IMSAR have stimulated changes in the businesses operating in the agricultural sector in Rwanda and whether this increase has benefited poor smallholders. In this way, the ESP will be able to comment on the hypothesis outlined in the DFID Business Case that ‘IMSAR has helped commercialise agriculture by improving the way agricultural market systems function, making them more effective, participatory (by including poor farmers and other disadvantaged groups), and more competitive. In doing so, IMSAR has ultimately contributed to increasing the income of poor households in targeted agricultural market systems’.