“Anyone interested in Ugandan agriculture knows that inputs sold across the country are often substandard. But conventional wisdom is intangible; policy needs a more concrete basis. New research presented at this event went beyond the anecdotes. It provided concrete evidence of the nature, scale, and implications of the quality problem in agricultural inputs. The first objective of this event was to disseminate the findings of completed studies, and also emerging results from ongoing work. For the IGC, the key study – and also the event’s headline presentation – is the paper ‘Low quality, low returns, low adoption’ by Jakob Svensson, Tessa Bold et al.
From a policy perspective, research is only as useful as the action it can inform. Evidence-based policymaking requires clear insights, but there still is much we don’t know. The second objective of this event was to discuss what we can learn from the studies, and to identify areas in which more evidence is needed. The forum thus helped chart a way forward for both researchers and policymakers.
Discussions of business issues are incomplete without private sector representation. In the absence of an effective regulatory framework and lacking an effective market mechanism, agricultural firms have had to find their own solutions. The third objective of this event was to learn from the way businesses get by in this challenging environment. Finally, participants explored innovative models that have the potential to change the Ugandan agricultural input markets’ dysfunctional dynamics.”