Evaluation of the "Flying Food" Project in Kenya: Can a Cricket Value Chain Fly?
Flying Food’ was a very innovative project with various positive achievements and useful lessons learned. However, it did not (yet) meet its key objective of establishing a sustainable cricket value chain in Kenya. This was due to various factors, including an unexpected cricket disease outbreak. This disease was still not under control by the end of the project, and affected the Ugandan part of the project as well.
The relevance of the project to the local context appeared high ‘ex ante’, but was limited ‘ex post’. On the one hand, its focus on income generation and food security was clearly relevant for Base of the Pyramid (BoP) producers and consumers in Western Kenya, given their relative poverty and malnutrition, in particular protein deficits. On the other hand, the choice to work with small and inexperienced famers was possibly one of the reasons for the relatively low effectiveness of the project, given economies of scale and the importance of following e.g. strict hygiene protocols.
The additionality of the project was also high ‘ex ante’, but lower ‘ex post’. On the one hand, input additionality was high because Flying Food project activities would almost certainly not have materialised without public support. Also, development additionality was high because the ‘development focus’ on BoP producers and consumers would almost certainly not have occurred without public funding. On the other hand, the development outcomes that were targeted in this way were not achieved ex post.
The effectiveness of the project was reasonable in terms of outputs, but low in terms of outcomes. On the supply side, more than 300 farmers were trained, but only a small share of them started producing sustainably. On the demand side, the project was successful in conducting consumer research, raising awareness, and developing a number of innovative cricket products. On the private sector development side, the project made good steps in the direction of building a cricket value chain by identifying and and developing various value chain segments. However, due to the setbacks on the supply side, the project did not succeed in developing an active and sustainable local market for cricket products.
The sustainability of the project is potentially high, but fragile. While the project was not yet sustainable when it formally ended, project partners made remarkable progress with improving the prospects for a financially sustainable cricket value chain in Kenya. In particular, they deserve credit for having attracted an MFI as a key value chain player, which was not originally part of the project plan. By the time this report was concluded, the project was still in search of additional financing.
This report evaluates the Kenya part of the project ‘Flying Food’, which aimed at developing a value chain for cricket products in both Kenya and Uganda. The project received a subsidy from the Dutch government under the Facility for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Food Security (FDOV), implemented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl). FDOV supports public-private partnerships aimed at improving private sector development and food security in developing countries. This evaluation is the first out of five FDOV project evaluations that are being carried out for RVO.nl by SEO, PwC and AIGHD. This project evaluation was carried out by SEO.
This is a mixed-method evaluation. Qualitative evaluation methods included the development of a Theory of Change, semi-structured interviews with project partners, farmers, and other key stakeholders (both during the field visit to Kenya and in the Netherlands), as well as the analysis of project documents and other relevant literature. Quantitative evaluation methods included descriptive statistical analysis of project monitoring data, including farm-level data collected by ICCO via Akvo Flow.
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