Agricultural Rehabilitation and Poverty Reduction Project
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) of IFAD has prepared a performance evaluation report on the Agricultural Rehabilitation and Poverty Reduction Project (PRAREP), implemented in Côte d’Ivoire from 2009 to 2015.
The objective of PRAREP was to reduce poverty and food security in the wake of the conflict and improve living and working conditions for the most vulnerable rural communities. The project came at the right time, as it provided an immediate response to the situation of food insecurity, vulnerability and increased poverty.
The report highlights the encouraging results achieved by PRAREP in reviving agricultural production in the target areas, and its contribution to improving productivity, production and farmers’ incomes.
The performance of PRAREP was, however, weakened by the fact that close to half of the project financing was never mobilized, and thus, the agricultural infrastructure subcomponent was not implemented. Moreover, weaknesses in building organizational capacity of producers had an adverse effect on the sustainability of the input supply arrangements set up by the project.
As a result, the evaluation highlighted, among other recommendations, the need to systematically include capacity-building for farmers’ organizations, even in a post-crisis context.
Belize Rural Finance Programme
The Independent Office of Evaluation has prepared a performance evaluation report on the Belize Rural Finance Programme, co-financed by IFAD and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). The evaluation was conducted in close collaboration with the Evaluation Office of CABEI.
The report highlights that the programme's support to the credit union movement in Belize was both timely and relevant. It focused on capacity building at micro level (through credit unions) and at meso level (through the Belize Credit Union League), providing appropriate technical assistance and introducing an innovative member share account incentive scheme to attract new rural members.
The rural poor who joined credit unions enjoyed modest improvements in incomes, assets, quality of life, economic activities, education and health, but it is unlikely that access to credit union financing significantly improved agricultural productivity or rural enterprise performance.
Although the business case for serving the rural poor remains to be made for most credit unions, the Government, IFAD and other partners, intend to continue supporting credit union activities in rural areas in Belize.
Rural Financial Services and Agribusiness Development Project
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD has prepared a performance evaluation report on the "Rural Financial Services and Agribusiness Development Project" in the Republic of Moldova. The project, implemented between 2011 and 2016, responded to important challenges in the country's rural sector. The main goal was to provide credit and develop value chains for small and medium-sized enterprises, thereby indirectly benefiting the poor through increased and decent employment opportunities.
The evaluation found improved access for both small and medium-sized enterprises and new target groups such as young entrepreneurs and microentrepreneurs thereby addressing an existing financing gap. The project was less successful in improving pro-poor value chains because of mistrust between buyers and producers and volatile market prices, which resulted in contracts not being adhered to.
The report highlights the need for explicit targeting strategies as well as careful ex ante examination of the assumed "trickle down" effects. It also notes that projects should monitor the linkages between investments in enterprises and the direct and indirect benefits, to ensure they help reach poor farmers. IFAD has successfully provided loans through lines of credit to small and medium-sized enterprises, however, there is a need to strengthen the savings culture, which is currently not very strong in Moldova.
Finally, this evaluation recommends that future IFAD projects focus on agribusiness and agro-processing development for smallholders. This would enable them to add value to their primary products, build their capacity to deal with different value chains, and shift swiftly from one value chain to another.
Read more: Approach paper
Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project
Project performance evaluation
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD has prepared a performance evaluation report on the "Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project" in Rwanda. The project was successful in achieving its objective of fostering increase of traditional crops such as rice, maize, vegetables and milk production. Women beneficiaries were not left behind economically, and innovations such as the flexi-biogas system freed the time they had spent in fetching firewood.
Yet, the lack of effective marketing linkages and competitive prices for producers meant that the attempt at integrating farmer beneficiaries into complete value chains remained incipient. The project also failed to link beneficiaries with rural financial institutions – linkages which would have been important for financing production and value addition.
The evaluation highlights the need to adopt a longer-term programmatic approach in the case of development projects that involve a simultaneous, coordinated and comprehensive approach to rural poverty alleviation in a particular area. It also recommends ensuring that value chain development is truly demand-oriented by involving market actors such as traders and private companies when integrating value chain components in principally supply-side projects.
Rural Finance and Enterprise Development Programme
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) has prepared a performance evaluation report on the "Rural Finance and Enterprise Development Programme (RFEDP)" in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The programme, implemented between 2010 and 2017, was designed to provide the rural poor with access to financial services on a sustainable basis, develop an enabling environment for business development and establish micro – and small-scale enterprises in rural areas.
As the national context is affected by institutional and structural limitations, lack of access to finance remains a major constraint for many rural enterprises. RFEDP worked at the macro, meso and micro levels to tackle multi-dimensional challenges. At the macro level, the programme supported the policy formulation and coordination between stakeholders, while at the meso level, it supported financial institutions in strengthening their capacity.
The report however reveals that programme activities at the meso and micro levels lacked a suitable strategy to engage poorer segments of the intended target groups.
The evaluation recommends that future rural finance projects in Eswatini focus on savings and credit groups so as to better target the poor and also to better operate in a challenging policy and institutional environment.
Smallholder Plantations Entrepreneurship Development Programme
Project performance evaluation
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) has prepared a performance evaluation report on the "Smallholder Plantations Entrepreneurship Development Programme (SPEnDP)" in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The programme, implemented between 2007 and 2016, was designed to improve the livelihoods of smallholder tea and rubber growers by establishing or upgrading plantations and supporting other income-generating activities, community infrastructure and other needs.
The core programme investments in tea and rubber production, coupled with intercropping, were successful in improving the incomes and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in a sustainable manner. The programme supported 250 ha of tea replanting in mid-country and rubber planting in 5,087 ha of land in Monaragala. These plantations, once established, can provide steady cash flows over years. Rubber planting was in areas that were utilized or under-utilized and had a generally positive environmental impact.
The report however, reveals that while the focus on production was appropriate, more attention could have been paid to post-harvest improvements, as well as environmental issues, especially for tea plantations. In this respect, greater care should be taken to avoid subsidizing tea (re)planting on unsuitable lands.
There is also little evidence of the impact on social capital and empowerment. The evaluation therefore recommends that IFAD and the government should engage and strengthen existing community-based organizations rather than create new ones.
Community-based Forestry Development Project in Southern States (Campeche, Chiapas and Oaxaca)
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) has conducted a performance evaluation on the "Community-based Forestry Development Project in Southern States (Campeche, Chiapas and Oaxaca) ” (DECOFOS) in Mexico. The project, implemented between 2009 and 2016, showed that forests and natural resources in general have an important productive potential and can be managed sustainably. The available data suggest that the project contributed to forest preservation in the implementation areas. Overall, the project made a contribution to poverty alleviation among vulnerable and marginalized groups in rural areas.
The evaluation also reveals that the impact and sustainability prospects would have been greater if the project had formulated an exit strategy to consolidate the undertakings. This strategy could have focused on improving the managerial capacity of grassroots organizations, their access to working capital and connection to markets and value chains.
The executive summary is also available in English.
Northern Region Sustainable Livelihoods through Livestock Development Project
ADB and IFAD Joint Project Performance Evaluation
This is the first joint project performance evaluation conducted by the independent offices of evaluation of ADB and IFAD.
The Independent Evaluation Department (IED) of ADB and the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) of IFAD confirm the benefits of joint evaluations in terms of knowledge sharing, mutual learning, and costs reduction for the government. IOE and IED together enhanced these benefits by transforming this joint project evaluation into an evaluation capacity building exercise that involved key stakeholders at different levels, including staff from IED and IOE, Government staff, and staff of other ADB and IFAD projects implemented in Lao People’s Democratic Republic and in Asia.
The Northern Region Sustainable Livelihoods through the Livestock Development Project in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was instrumental in highlighting the potential of investments in livestock as a pathway to the sustainable development of the remote northern regions of the country, underlining Lao PDR’s comparative advantage in the sector. However, deeper impact on the ground was constrained by the limited effectiveness of the targeting strategy, which did not allow the project to reach the poorest households, the flaws in the design of the microfinance and market components, dismantling of livestock production groups and sporadic training activities.
The evaluation recommends a more tailored targeting approach to support commercialization and the sustainable development of the livestock sector and that IOE and IED continue to conduct joint evaluation whenever possible.
Pastoral Water and Resource Management Project in Sahelian Areas
The project contributed to reducing vulnerability among the target populations, for example by securing transhuman pastoral systems, together with measures for hydraulic works management, conflict prevention and herder mobility. In particular, the project’s relevance is attributable to the great economic value of the livestock sector, which is the country’s second source of revenue, after oil.
The project encountered several problems during implementation, including the withdrawal of co-financing by the French Development Agency and the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development, and significant delays as a result of cumbersome procurement procedures. Despite these difficulties, the project managed to recover and to meet most of the targets set.
The executive summary is also available in English.
Rural Development Project in the Eastern Middle Atlas
The Rural Development Project in the Eastern Middle Atlas (PDRMO), implemented in Morocco between 2007 and 2015, was mainly oriented towards alleviating rural poverty by diversifying and increasing the incomes of rural people, with a sustainable management of natural resources. In this respect, PDRMO targeted 10 rural communes in Boulemane, one of the poorest region in the country, with the goal of reaching 10,000 households, or 75,000 beneficiaries.
Project achievements are significant with regards to physical infrastructures, with 112 km of roads being built or rehabilitated and 103 km of seguias realized, in addition to small-scale irrigation and water-supply infrastructures. In terms of impact, there is a proven gain in time-saving for transportation and irrigation. Moreover, PDRMO obtained encouraging results in strengthening grass-roots' organizations for the implementation of local development.
PDRMO results were however affected by significant implementation delays, due to the difficulty faced by the project in implementing a participatory approach for the preparation of the Douar Development Plans (DDPs), a new and time-consuming activity in the country. The grass-roots' organizations supported, with the exception of livestock breeders’ associations, remain fragile and not sufficiently inclusive. The project also failed to enhance access to financial services and the efforts undertaken to develop entrepreneurship, especially among women, remain limited.
The evaluation recommends that capacity building continue to be pursued for grass-roots' organizations to enable them to become inclusive actors in local development, as well as efforts to strengthen and protect natural resources using more innovative approaches adapted to the context.