Sierra Leone Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the first country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in Sierra Leone by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE). The report reviews the joint work of IFAD and the Government of Sierra Leone from 2003 to 2019, covering five projects.
The period covered by the evaluation was highly dynamic, characterized by the efforts to reconstruct the economic and productive sectors and to promote sustainable growth in the aftermath of the lengthy civil war. The evaluation found that the IFAD adapted well to the rapidly evolving national priorities and strategies, shifting focus from basic agricultural inputs and infrastructure to fostering access to rural finance and strengthening commercial agriculture. In addition, the portfolio’s outreach was remarkable, achieving targets by 100 per cent or close; well over 80 per cent of the community banks, while financial services were successfully made available to over 200,000 households.
However, the report highlights some areas for improvement. Financial inclusion could be enhanced, to encompass a greater proportion of smallholders. The value chain for rice, a main staple crop in Sierra Leone, could be strengthened, with particular focus on the linkages between producers and processing and marketing actors. In addition, activities to attract more youth to agriculture could be implemented.
Moving forward, the report recommends, among other things, to bolster the development impact of agricultural growth by focusing on strengthening value chains, increase the level of engagement in rural finance by building on existing rural financial structures in the country and develop a country-specific youth strategy.
United Mexican States Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the second country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in the United Mexican States by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. It covers the partnership between the Government and IFAD from 2007 to 2018. During this period, IFAD has invested in seven projects and programmes in the country with a total cost of US$250.56 million, of which US$132.95 million was financed by IFAD.
The programme focused on supporting groups of rural producers living in poverty who had not previously been reached by public programmes. In addition, Mexico is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and these projects showed that it is possible to achieve a balance between local economic needs and positive environmental impact.
However, the performance of the portfolio was weakened by changes in agricultural sector policies, to which ongoing projects were not adapted, as well as design weaknesses such as a lack of innovative approaches to training producers and their organizations in financial services and market access. The grants programme opened up opportunities for consultation on rural policy issues and options, by supporting rural dialogue groups and multinational studies on conditional cash transfer programmes and ways to combine them with inclusive production measures.
The evaluation sets forth the following main recommendations: (i) fine-tune the country programme’s geographical and agro-ecological targeting; (ii) improve the technical and innovative quality of project design; (iii) improve monitoring of and capitalization on lessons learned; (iv) strengthen IFAD’s capacity to provide operational and strategic support for the programme; and (v) promote greater government engagement in project design and implementation, as well as adequate budgetary allocation for implementation.
Federal Republic of Nepal Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the third country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in Nepal by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE). The report reviews the joint work of IFAD and the Government of Nepal over the past seven years (2013 -2019), covering eight projects.
Over the past decades, farm fragmentation and low crop productivity have endangered the economic viability of traditional farming systems in the country. According to the report’s findings, IFAD has helped increase the productivity of small farms by focusing on improved production of high-value crops, such as spices, off-season vegetables, fruits, cereal and dairy products.
Linking small-scale farmers with value chains was important to enhance their economic opportunities. The programme has helped improve farmers’ access to markets, including international markets, as well as the transparency, stability and predictability of prices.
However, the report highlights some areas for improvement. The evaluation recommends supporting federalization in the country, focusing on how to adapt the projects to the new system and as well as on how to support local governments in promoting rural development.
According to the report, IFAD should bring back into its funding spectrum the support to community development, basic infrastructure and services as a preparatory step for further economic opportunities. Finally, the evaluation recommends strengthening partnerships for specialized technical support and for cofinancing.
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
In a context characterised by the end of a long standing conflict and recovery from the Indian Ocean Tsunami, IFAD-supported projects have contributed to improved agricultural production and productivity in several districts throughout the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Such outcomes were achieved through activities including support to smallholder farmers to establish or upgrade tea and rubber plantations, rehabilitate irrigation schemes and access improved technologies. These achievements were the main contributing factors for increased incomes and assets. The projects also succeeded in improving access to markets and finance and in income diversification.
On the other hand, the improvements in agricultural production were not necessarily driven by improved and innovative technologies which promoted resource use efficiency (e.g. water) or strengthened climate resilience. Furthermore, in pursuing partnerships with agribusinesses, there was scope for more careful consideration on how to ensure added value of public funding.
The report recommends that future operations pay greater attention to promoting innovative technologies which also strengthen climate resilience and that IFAD and its partners explore ways to innovate and leverage more systemic improvements in the rural finance sector in Sri Lanka. The evaluation also underlines that IFAD should look to play a more catalytic role, going beyond individual investment projects.
Kenya Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the second country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in Kenya by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. It reviews the past seven years of work that IFAD has undertaken together with the Kenyan government. Since 1979, IFAD has invested in 18 projects and programmes in the country for a total cost of US$813.3 million, of which US$376 million was financed by IFAD.
The evaluation found that IFAD has been innovative in bringing solutions around credit delivery, agro-processing and environmental management. Such interventions have boosted agricultural productivity, and improved food security. The evaluation highlights remarkable achievements in gender equality and natural resources management.
The report also mentions the issues that still need to be addressed. For example, the IFAD programme made a modest contribution to the social and economic empowerment of youth. Activities related to marketing and processing have been less successful and the expected synergies between rural finance and value chain projects were not realized.
Furthermore, recurrent design and institutional issues undermining programme efficiency need to be addressed within the ongoing devolution process - by which Kenya's central government transferred responsibilities to regional governments.
The evaluation also recommends that IFAD should continue focusing on the areas where it has worked successfully in the past: natural resources management, pro-poor value chains and rural finance.
Burkina Faso Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
The results of the evaluation show that IFAD-supported projects enhanced agricultural productivity and food security by improving agricultural practices for food crops (maize, millet and sorghum) and for cash commodities (sesame, honey, dairy and shea). Soil conservation techniques promoted by the Community Investment Programme for Agricultural Fertility contributed to a 300 per cent increase in sorghum yields and a 200 per cent increase in rice and millet crops. IFAD interventions also helped to diversify and increase rural incomes by promoting microenterprises and income-generating activities.
The evaluation highlights achievements as well as issues that still need to be addressed. One of the recommendations is to focus interventions on priority regions in the medium term for enhanced impact, and to establish an effective monitoring and evaluating system that enables results and changes to be measured, and lessons learned to be generated. The evaluation also notes that IFAD will need to extend its reach to the poorest and most vulnerable populations, particularly women and young people, by supporting them to access microcredit.
This is the first country strategy and programme evaluation conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) in Burkina Faso and covers the partnership between the Government and IFAD from 2007 to mid-2018. Over a period of almost 40 years, IFAD has supported 14 projects and programmes in the country for a total cost of US$548.4 million, of which IFAD contributed US$276.7 million.
Tunisia country strategy and programme evaluation
This is the second country strategy and programme evaluation conducted by IOE in Tunisia. The evaluation covers six projects implemented between 2003 and 2018, which contributed to improve living conditions in rural areas through substantial investments in natural resources management and socio-economic infrastructure.
The report notes that the programme has achieved remarkable environmental and natural resource management results. IFAD has helped boost crop and livestock productivity through investments in irrigation infrastructure, soil and water conservation works and the expansion and restoration of rangelands.
The report also highlights some areas for improvement. One of the recommendations is to ensure that interventions reach out more effectively to the most vulnerable populations particularly poor farmers, women and youth. Another recommendation is to minimize the vulnerability of supported value chains to climate change and market risks.
Georgia Country strategy and programme evaluation
This is the first country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in Georgia by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. It provides a comprehensive assessment of the partnership between IFAD and the Georgian Government from 2004 to 2016.
The evaluation found that the portfolio was relevant and overall well-aligned with Government priorities, which had seen some marked changes over the period. Infrastructure absorbed the largest share of IFAD's investments. These investments could have been more effective if part of a wider strategy to enhance sustainable livelihoods.
IFAD has supported important innovations and has built institutional capacities within the agricultural sector, for microfinance, land registration and food safety. Project performance was, however, often disappointing because of weak project designs with unrealistic objectives and implementation approaches, and poorly linked project components. IFAD did not address issues of inequality, including gender, in this rapidly transition economy.
The evaluation recommends that IFAD should enhance partnerships with other development partners, build on its experience with rural finance and rural institutions, and adopt an explicit strategy for targeting those at risk of poverty and social exclusion in the country.
Republic of Peru Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the first country strategy and programme evaluation conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD in Peru. The evaluation covers the period 2002-2016 and includes six projects.
The partnership between IFAD and the Government had a significant impact on rural poverty reduction and in particular on beneficiary empowerment and community management of natural resources. IFAD's funded operations attributed a monetary value to cultural assets and led to the creation of a knowledge market that lent dignity to campesino culture. Each project was unique, with its own features that contributed to a wealth of cumulative experiences and stimulated innovation and scaling up.
The evaluation concludes that IFAD’s specialized role in fighting poverty and promoting rural development will continue to be important for Peru, due to persistent rural/urban inequality and the fundamental role of family farming as an engine of production and for feeding the population. Despite the significant results achieved in terms of poverty reduction, beneficiary empowerment and innovation, there are some weaknesses that were observed at the strategic level. IFAD’s comparative advantage in terms of its presence in remote rural areas and ability to reach the poorest people through the targeting strategy was not fully exploited. The concept of a territorial approach was neglected and the projects did not explicitly address environmental sustainability and climate change resilience. Finally, the Country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) was not sufficiently used as an instrument for strategic guidance.
Among the main recommendations of the evaluation are to draw up a strategy to target interventions to the poorest and most vulnerable rural people, bring back the territorial approach, build in climate change as a strategic drive of IFAD-promoted interventions and adopt a programmatic approach to COSOP preparation.
The full document is only availbale in Spanish, with the executive summary in English.
Republic of Angola Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
IFAD began operations in Angola in 1989. In 2005, only three years after the end of almost 30 years of civil war, IFAD and the Government of the Republic of Angola signed a Country Strategic Opportunity Paper (COSOP), aimed to reduce the poverty and improve the food security of small-scale farmers. The COSOP moved operations from the Northern provinces to the central highlands, addressing more directly these issues.
IFAD was instrumental in focusing on poor small-scale farming households and upscaling the Farmers Field School as national agricultural extension methodology. Among the results, participating households managed to grow out of subsistence through increased productivity of maize, cassava, beans and potatoes. By enabling access to mechanization services, producers’ organisations and associations expanded their common fields, leading to an overall production increase by 30 to 50 percent. This allowed better availability of food, incomes from the sale of the surplus on local markets, and investments for the following cropping season.
The evaluation found, however, that the sustainability of results would be at risk without an enabling policy environment and incentives that support family farming as well as agricultural and rural development. Such an environment is necessary to turn agriculture into an attractive sector for youth, providing better opportunities for a dignified life. The evaluation also found that IFAD's projects in Angola did not take into due consideration capacity development needs because of the dearth of qualified human resources in the country.Among other recommendations, the evaluation suggested to improve efforts in supporting women in taking on leadership positions in producers’ organisations, as they play a major role in Angolan agriculture.