Using Outcome Harvesting to Detect and Describe Systemic Change in Bangladesh


The recently completed USAID-funded Rice and Diversified Crops (RDC) Activity, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, contracted with The Canopy Lab to carry out an outcome harvest (OH) assessment to investigate the impact RDC had on systems level changes within the Bangladesh agricultural market system. Bangladesh RDC worked from July 2016 through December 2021 to increase incomes and improve food security and nutrition in the 22 southern Bangladeshi districts in the FTF zone. The Activity sought to facilitate systemic market changes that would promote a diversified farming system based on intensified rice production and the introduction of higher-value, nutrient-rich crops. Cuan Opperman, Regional MSD Advisor (and former COP for RDC) at ACDI/VOCA, and Tim Sparkman, Managing Partner at Canopy Lab will present the findings from the OH assessment and share some of the learning and potential use cases for outcome harvesting as a methodology for detecting systems change.

Key Findings

The OH detected, analyzed, and substantiated 12 systemic outcomes influenced by RDC activities. It examined changes related to RDC’s support for six business model innovations related to agro-input distribution, advisory services, agri-machinery, digitalization of agri-businesses, integrated services (bundling inputs, services, and output purchases) and financial inclusion. The study found that RDC played a significant role (and in some instances is solely responsible) for the emergence of many consequential changes in the performance of agricultural market systems in Southwest Bangladesh. No effort at systemic change is completely free of negative consequences. The study team found that at least two negative outcomes (supply constraints hampering the marketing of new products and digital illiteracy threatening to exclude some marginalized groups) pertained to its work. However, aside from those two outcomes, the 10 positive outcomes identified through this OH tell a larger story of significant boosts in the dynamism, information flow, and growth rates of firms serving farmers in the Activity’s target market systems.

Access the full report here (published January 2022).

Canopy Lab-RDC MSD report cover