Once farmers and various actors are equipped with the knowledge of risks and the range of management options and tools, the next step is, therefore, to select, plan and implement a set of ARM strategies. It is ideally recommended for stakeholders to combine multiple options/tools because no single instrument can guarantee effective agricultural risk management. When selecting a mix of risk responses to implement, it is essential to take account of the many linkages between different types of risk management options and tools/instruments. The selection should be based on the following 5 factors outlined by the World Bank (2016);
Farmers and value chain business operators will greatly benefit by assessing each ARM tool that they are considering using the first three factors. It will help them make decisions wisely. Ideally, then, (with the help of the extension worker) the farmer or business operator should evaluate each ARM tool against at least the first four factors.
After making a decision to implement an ARM strategy, it is important to develop a plan and ensure that the delivery of the ARM tools is well structured to facilitate easy monitoring and evaluation. Thus, the plan must clearly indicate at least the following: the overall aim of the ARM strategy, the specific objective of each of the tools, the results expected from each tool, the activities required to implement the strategy, the resources (materials and human resources) and timeframe.
Implementing any plan requires structures (i.e. decision-making bodies) and systems to manage the process. If the plan (e.g. strategy) is simple, then it is may be possible to manage everything through one or two structures. A complex plan, however, may require a hierarchy of multiple structures. For example, there may be one overall management structure, with subsidiary teams for each strategy and, if needed, for each output. Structures should reflect logical groupings and should make implementation easier and simpler and to ensure compliance. If a structure is not essential, it should not be established. The fewer the structures lead to fewer levels of hierarchy, and the fewer the better.
Implementation is a matter of following the plan that has been developed. What then becomes critical is monitoring the implementation process. Monitoring ensures that the project is being implemented as planned. It also provides the information needed to adjust/accommodate changes, where necessary.
Evaluation is a structured process of assessing the success of a project in meeting its goals and to reflect on the lessons learned. In practical terms, the evaluation of a project/programme will review the outcomes in terms of the targets and their respective indicators; time, resources and budgets; and the structures, systems and processes. It is not enough to know that a plan has been implemented accordingly, or even that it has achieved its goals. It is essential to understand that the project has solved (or at least substantially improved) the original problem and that those benefiting from the project are in better, stronger position going forward.
This is especially true for projects related to the human condition, such as the ARM strategies. ARM strategies are about improving a lot of farmers, value chain business operators and other actors in the food and agricultural system. Seen from a livelihoods perspective, evaluations help determines if the livelihoods in the system have been made more sustainable, particularly by reducing their vulnerability to the negative impacts of risk through building their capacity and the capacity of the overall system to mitigate, transfer and cope with risk.