School Meals as a Market for Smallholder Agriculture: Experimental Evidence from Ghana

IFPRI Discussion Paper 2045

33 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2021

See all articles by Aulo Gelli

Aulo Gelli

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Edoardo Masset

Centre of Excellence in Development Impact and Learning

Clement Adamba

University of Ghana

Harold Alderman

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Daniel Kojo Arhinful

University of Ghana - Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research

Elisabetta Aurino

Imperial College London

Gloria Folson

University of Ghana

Isaac Osei-Akoto

University of Ghana - Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)

Felix Asante

Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)

Date Written: October 5, 2021

Abstract

Governments and international development partners investing over $40 USD billion a year in school meals have shown interest in linking these programs with agriculture sector development, through what has become known as “Home-Grown” school feeding (HGSF). Nevertheless, evidence on the effectiveness of HGSF and agriculture is limited. This article reports on the findings of a three-year cluster randomized trial implemented in 58 districts of Ghana including a panel of 1,668 households. Communities were randomly assigned to 1) standard school meals; 2) HGSF or 3) control with no intervention. Post-intervention, the caterer-level analysis highlighted major challenges related to delayed program disbursements, resulting in a mismatch between budgeted and actual caterer outlay on food purchases per pupil equivalent to approximately 50% of the budgeted per child per day allocation. For caterers, by far the largest procurement channel was through traders, though there is evidence that HGSF may have increased the share of value purchased directly from smallholders. We find no strong evidence that the school feeding program or HGSF affected smallholders market structure, farm, non-farm and household income. When interpreting these null results, it is important to consider the findings of two parallel studies that showed positive effects of this national program on school children’s learning, cognition, and nutrition outcomes. The national program can still be considered as an effective social protection strategy with multiple objectives, even if the agriculture objectives remain aspirational.

Keywords: GHANA, WEST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, school feeding, markets, smallholders, agriculture, impact assessment, home-grown school feeding

Suggested Citation

Gelli, Aulo and Masset, Edoardo and Adamba, Clement and Alderman, Harold and Arhinful, Daniel Kojo and Aurino, Elisabetta and Folson, Gloria and Osei-Akoto, Isaac and Asante, Felix, School Meals as a Market for Smallholder Agriculture: Experimental Evidence from Ghana (October 5, 2021). IFPRI Discussion Paper 2045, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3936650

Aulo Gelli (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Edoardo Masset

Centre of Excellence in Development Impact and Learning ( email )

London

Clement Adamba

University of Ghana

PO Box 25
Legon, Accra LG
Ghana

Harold Alderman

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Daniel Kojo Arhinful

University of Ghana - Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research ( email )

P. O. Box LG 581
Legon, LG581
Ghana

Elisabetta Aurino

Imperial College London

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Gloria Folson

University of Ghana

PO Box 25
Legon, Accra LG
Ghana

Isaac Osei-Akoto

University of Ghana - Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) ( email )

P.O BOX LG 74
Legon
Ghana

Felix Asante

Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) ( email )

PO Box 25
Legon, Accra LG
Ghana

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