In June 2018, a SWFF field evaluator visited Mozambique to assess the impact of World Hope’s low-cost greenhouse innovation.
World Hope set up 44 innovative low-cost greenhouses for individual farmers or farmer associations in two provinces in Mozambique between 2015 and 2017. At the time of study, World Hope was no longer active in the provinces and 11 greenhouses had been destroyed due to hard weather conditions. Thus, only 33 greenhouses were operational in June 2018.
The field evaluator conducted interviews with 47 users to assess the innovation’s impact on water usage, crop yields, poverty alleviation, income and expenses. Since women have a strong presence in agricultural activities in Mozambique, it was not surprising that the majority of interviewees were female farmers. The findings are largely based on farmers’ perception and opinions as the possibilities to gather quantitative research material were limited.
In most cases, each greenhouse served more than one farmer, who either benefitted from the greenhouse by using it for growing crops or by buying seedlings from greenhouse owners. Different farming methods were used in different greenhouses depending on the equipment provided by World Hope. In some, seedlings were grown in trays, while in others farmers planted seeds directly in the greenhouse soil. Two greenhouses were equipped with hydroponic systems.
Although the report presents limitations to the study that made it difficult to evaluate the innovation, there is no doubt that the overall impact was positive. In fact, 87% of the farmers wanted to continue working with the innovation.
The interviewees identified many benefits from using the greenhouses.
The interviewees identified various benefits from using the greenhouses. They stated that, as the crops were better protected from weather variations as well as from pests and animals, farmers could grow strong and resistant, high quality products. The greenhouses encouraged more efficient and less time-consuming farming practices, while crops grew faster and produced harvests earlier. Additionally, crops could be grown all year round.
Most farmers did not change their irrigation methods, but 86% explained that watering crops in the greenhouses required less water than usual farming. Furthermore, interviewees explained that the innovation had offered them the possibility to grow new kinds of crops. Farmers planted more weather sensitive and high-value vegetables, such as tomatoes or bell peppers, that could be sold at a higher price. Moreover, plants grown in the greenhouses required less agricultural inputs (seeds and pesticides) and thus, costs were reduced.
However, 78% of the interviewees also mentioned various difficulties with the innovation. Many farmers did not use the greenhouses to their full potential since their limited resources did not allow them to purchase enough seeds and other input materials. Additionally, many lacked the knowledge on farming techniques that were appropriate for the greenhouses. Farmers suggested that they should be provided with more advice on farming techniques. They also highlighted the need to learn more about the maintenance of the greenhouses to ensure a long-lasting success of the project.
View the full report here.
This report was prepared by an independent researcher. The social enterprise evaluated for this project may or may not agree on all or parts of the contents of this report.