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.
Kingdom of Cambodia Country strategy and programme evaluation
The evaluation reviewed the evolution of the country strategy and programme since the Fund started operations in 1996, but with a focus on the last decade. When IFAD started operations, the country was in a phase of reconstruction and rehabilitation following almost two decades of wars and destruction.
The evaluation finds that IFAD-funded projects have contributed to improved agricultural productivity of poor rural households. The portfolio also made contributions to the Government’s "decentralization and deconcentration" processes, as well as improvements in gender equality and rural women's empowerment.
In spite of these achievements, the portfolio remained static up until around 2010 amid the fast-evolving rural context. The projects largely replicated older project designs and approaches – group formation, agricultural training and extension services combined with group revolving-fund support – with limited critical reflection on experience and on innovations. In general, the portfolio did not fully appreciate the implications on rural households of increasing non-agricultural income opportunities and labour shortages.
The evaluation recommended, among other actions, tailored support to relatively advanced smallholder farmers as well as poorer households, fostering further partnerships with farmer and indigenous peoples’ organizations and stronger collaboration between IFAD and the Government to mobilize other partners to invest in smallholder agriculture.
Republic of Cameroon Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the first country programme evaluation of Cameroon conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) and it covers the partnership between the Government and IFAD from 2007 to 2017. During this time, IFAD provided funding for six rural development projects to the tune of US$84.2 million for a total cost of US$159.9 million.
The evaluation concluded that the IFAD country programme applied rural development approaches, including local development, farmer organization support, rural finance, value chain support and youth enterprise development, that were well-aligned with evolving IFAD and Government policies and strategies. IFAD-funded projects contributed to the increase of productivity for cultures like cassava, rice and onions, which are important for the local populations. Moreover, the programme reinforced the capacity of producer organisations to provide services upstream and downstream of agricultural production to their smallholder members. However, the report also indicates that the poorest and most vulnerable rural households were not often reached, although these households were specifically targeted by the country strategies and project designs. Other areas for improvement cited in the report include more attention to gender equality, and the sustainability and scaling-up of successful interventions.
Mozambique Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
During the period under evaluation, IFAD provided six loans to Mozambique, for a total value of US$ 239 million. The evaluation found a positive impact which included significant capacity development at the institutional, community and individual levels, improvements in access to micro-credit for household assets and petty-trade through savings and credit associations, and empowerment of women thanks to literacy initiatives.
Notwithstanding these achievements, projects' focus on small farmers with marketable surplus meant that less attention was paid to potentially food insecure farmers. This is a major challenge for the Government and IFAD to consider in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 in particular. Additionally, targeting strategies should consider more vulnerable groups, including women, youth, and people living with HIV. Against the backdrop of the SDGs, the challenge is no longer to reduce poverty but to eradicate it by 2030.