In 2007, the Milennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year compact with Morocco to reduce poverty and increase economic growth. The Fruit Tree Productivity Project, one effort in the compact, is designed to stimulate growth in the agricultural sector by encouraging a shift from cropping of annuals, notably cereals, to more productive market-oriented cultivation of perennial tree crops such as olives. Production increases are expected to arise from sustainable management of soil and water resources and improved links to national and international markets.
NORC is conducting both an impact evaluation and a performance evaluation for MCA-Morocco Fruit Tree Agricultural Project. Specifically, NORC is evaluating whether the sub-project Rehabilitation and Intensification of Rainfed Olive Plantations achieves the goal of increasing farmers’ agricultural revenue over the three-year project implementation period from 2010-2013. The impact evaluation uses a matched-pairs survey design, in which 140 olive perimeters were matched on a variety of characteristics and one member of each pair was randomly assigned to treatment and the other to control. Differences in agricultural production, technique, and income between the treatment and control perimeters are measured over time using a double difference methodology. Baseline and follow-up survey data are collected from three related samples of farmers, farmer associations, and olive processing plants associated with the treatment and control perimeters. The farmer sample is the largest, with approximately 3,000 farmers interviewed via a detailed in-person survey each year on farming practices, agricultural production, and income. Data from the other two samples of interest, farmer associations (n~150) and olive processing plants (n~150), are linked to the farmer data via a relational database to improve analysis of treatment effect along the olive production pipeline. Questionnaires are fielded in a bilingual format of Arabic and French, with Berber glossaries available where necessary.
The evaluation also includes qualitative data collection from key stakeholders and participants in the project as well as non-beneficiaries. Qualitative data will be used both for the performance evaluation and to provide context for impact evaluation results.