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Study Overview

Impact evaluation of the Adapting to Markets and Climate Change Project in Nicaragua (NICADAPTA)
Study is 3ie funded:
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Study Status:
In Development

This study evaluates the causal impact the Adapting to Markets and Climate Change Project (NICADAPTA) in Nicaragua. The target population of NICADAPTA are coffee and cacao cooperatives and their members. The goal of the project is to improve the living conditions of coffee and cacao farmers by increasing their competitiveness and reducing their vulnerability to climate change.

Agriculture, employing one third of the population, contributes 15.4% to the Nicaragua’s GDP. Coffee constitutes a central part of national agricultural output and 20 to 25 % of export revenues. The projected increases in temperatures and changes in rainfall adversely affects the suitability of land for coffee and cacao production and thereby threatens the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

To improve the productivity and resilience or coffee and cacao farmers, NICADAPTA funds investment plans of coffee and cacao cooperatives, covering trainings of farmers and cooperative leaders, equipment and improved agricultural inputs. Furthermore, through the strengthening of national institutions, improved genetic material and education material is developed and relevant weather information is generated and distributed. 

The evaluation strategy is a mixed-methods approach, relying on non-experimental ex-post impact evaluation methods and qualitative data. For the precise estimation of the project’s impact, we will compare the change in productivity and resilience members of about 112 participating and not participating cooperatives over five years. This covers 30% of all cooperatives who benefited from NICADAPTA. We will use propensity score matching with farmers of all benefiting cooperatives as robustness check.

Registration Citation:
Agriculture and Rural Development
Environment and Disaster Management
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Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Esther Heesemann
Center for Evaluation and Development
Name of Second PI:
Alessandra Garbero

Study Sponsor

International Fund for Agricultural Development

Intervention Overview


The impact evaluation will focus on the first component of NICADAPTA; namely Sustainable Development of Coffee and Cacao Productivity.  The strategy of this component is the financing of investment plans (Planes de Inversión, in Spanish, hereinafter referred to as PI), submitted by coffee and cacao producer groups (cooperatives, women and youth groups) or local/regional governments. NICADAPTA finances public and private goods for collective use. Subject of full funding are public goods such as small rural roads, as well as technical assistance. Private good for collective use, for example storage facilities, are financed through matching grants. While private good for private use are generally excluded from funding, an exception is made for investments related to climate change of this kind. The investment plan need to lay out how they will enhance to productivity of the cooperative and cooperative members, by adapting the agricultural practices to the challenges of climate change and improve market access. Most PIs focus on the promotion and management of cultivations and post-harvest processes, reforestation, disease management, cacao agroforestry, marketing and capacity building of the producers and organizations. Component 1 is complemented by strengthening of national institutions in the field of coffee and cacao agriculture and climate information (component 2), with the aim to increase the supply of improved, climate-change adapted seed varieties and the developed an early warning system for weather shocks and diseases.      

Theory of Change:

NICADAPTA aimed to improve the quality of life of rural families by increasing their income in a sustainable way from the added value in coffee and cacao production. To reach this goal, small producers shall be better integrated in the markets and better equipped against the consequences of climate change.  

Component 1 adds to the overall project objective by improving the competitiveness of producer organizations. It works through the equipment and capacity building of producer organizations and their members, as well as the local governments’ investment in infrastructure. Better equipped and trained producer organization can help to channel essential knowledge on new agricultural techniques and seed variation to farms, and thereby improve their adaptive capacity. Investments in the organizational infrastructure can improve the post-harvest production of coffee and cacao beans and yield to higher quality of the produce and less post-harvest loss. The improved roads will facilitate the transport of coffee and cacao from the farmers to the cooperatives.

Via Component 2, enhanced and improved services for agricultural technology, organization management, commercialization of products and climate information relevant for the production of coffee and cacao will be offered to the public. The improved supply of information and educational material, as well as genetic products shall give cooperatives and smallholder farmers the intellectual and material inputs to adapt their agricultural practices to the change in temperatures and precipitation. Specific whether information, relevant to the livelihoods of coffee and cacao farmers, will help the rural families to react in timely manner to adverse whether events and to be hence more resistant to shocks.

Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
MEFCCA (Ministerio de la Economía Familiar, Comunitaria, Cooperativa y Asociativa)
Type of Organization:
Public Sector, e.g. Government Agency or Ministry

Program Funder

Name of Organization:
Type of Organization:
NGO (International)

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
Start Date:
End Date:
Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Difference in difference/fixed effects
Other (not Listed) Method:
Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Other (not Listed) Method:

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

The proposed research design follows a concurrent mixed-methods approach, building on both quantitative and qualitative primary data collection and analysis.

In light of non-random allocation of funds to producer groups, we considered only non-experimental designs for the impact evaluation. The impact assessment will be done using non-experimental, quantitative methods. Thanks to the comprehensive baseline farmer survey, covering farmers of 30% of the NICADAPTA participating cooperatives, we suggest a panel Difference-in-Difference (DiD) with matching design as principal impact evaluation method. As this excludes a large share of the beneficiary population, namely those cooperatives that were not covered by the baseline, we will complement our analysis with an ex-post propensity score matching design. With this strategy, we will combine the advantages for the internal validity from a more rigorous IA method in restricted sample (Panel DiD), with the advantages for external validity of a more assumption-heavy method (ex-post matching) in the full sample of NICADAPTA beneficiaries.  

The results of the qualitative study will be integrated with the findings from the quantitative data analysis to inform on the intangible and unintended impacts of the project, and hone in on how the project has affected women and youth groups, as well as indigenous and Afro-descendant communities. Additionally, qualitative interviews with stakeholders will be used to derive lessons learned about project design and implementation process.  

Outcomes (Endpoints):

Final outcomes:

  • Primary
    • Resilience to climate change
    • Income from agriculture
    • Coffee and cacao production
  • Secondary
    • Household food security index

Intermediate outcomes

  • Primary:
    • Knowledge on climate smart agricultural techniques
    • Access to climate information
    • Access to markets
  • Secondary:
    • Application of climate smart agricultural techniques (Index of techniques applied, crop diversivication, climate resilients seeds)
Unit of Analysis:

Intermediate outcomes

Primary hypotheses:

h1.1 Farmers, associated to cooperatives who obtained funding from NICADAPTA ("NICADAPTA farmers"), will be more knowledgable about climate-smart agricultural practises

H1.2 NICADAPTA farmers will be better informed about whether events related to agricultural production.

H1.3  NICADAPTA farmers will be better connect to markets

Secondary hyptheses:

H2 NICADAPTA farmers will apply more climate smart agricultural techniques on their land

Final outcomes:

Primary hypotheses:

H3.1 Households of NICADAPTA farmers will increase their production of coffee and/or cacao.

H3.2 Households of NICADAPTA farmers will have higher incomes from agricultural production.

H3.3 Households of NICADAPTA farmers will be more resilient to shocks, in particular to the consequences of climate change

Secondary hyptheses:

H4 Households of NICADAPTA farmers will be more food secure.

Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
Number of Clusters in Sample:
112 in the panel DID analysis, 249 in the matching analysis (max.) (Numbers might change after verification of the treatment status)
Number of Individuals in Sample:
1,120 in the panel DID analysis, 2,490 in the matching analysis (max.) (Numbers might change after verification of the treatment status)
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
DID analysis: 56 treatment and 56 control cluster with on average 560 households each. Matching analysis: 149 treatment cluster and 100 control cluster with on average 1490 and 100 households each

Supplementary Files

Analysis Plan:
Other Documents:

Outcomes Data

At baseline: farmer survey ( 1744 farmers from 156 cooperatives). At endline: farmer survey (max. 2490 farmers of 249 cooperatives), cooperative survey (249 cooperatives)
Data Already Collected?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
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Treatment Assignment Data

Participation or Assignment Information:
We will use monitoring data from the implementing agency to define if a cooperative and its associated farmers have received the treatment.
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Restricted -- Access requires a formal approval process
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
The data was obtained from the implementing agency.
Approval Status:
Yes-obtained approval and have received the data

Data Analysis

Data Analysis Status:

Study Materials

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Registration Category

Registration Category:
Prospective, Category 1: Data for measuring impacts have not been collected

Completion Overview

Intervention Completion Date:
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Unit of Analysis:
Clusters in Final Sample:
Total Observations in Final Sample:
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:


Preliminary Report:
Preliminary Report URL:
Summary of Findings:
Paper Summary:
Paper Citation:

Data Availability

Data Availability (Primary Data):
Date of Data Availability:
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Other Materials

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Description of Changes:

Study Stopped