Jahaly and Pacharr Smallholder Development Project

Gambia The  
March 1994

Completion evaluation report summary

The project area comprises two distinct swamp areas located 7 km apart on the southern banks of the river Gambia. The climate, soils and topography are favourable for intensified rice cultivation. At the time of project formulation, most of the Jahaly swamp covering some 1.230 ha was already cleared and levelled as a result of previous development interventions. The Pacharr swamps, covering about 1.050 ha was more or less in its natural state. Smallholder farmers in the JP area produce a variety of crops during the short rainy season, mainly groundnuts (the main cash crop) and cereals (millet, sorghum, maize) in the rainfed upland areas and rice in the lowland swamps. The upland cropping productions are based on traditional shifting slash and burn cultivation with fallow. Opportunities for production in the longer dry season are scarce and this made the cultivation of dry season irrigated rice attractive.

Project objectives and design

Target group

The target group comprised 1.000 compounds in some 40 villages with an estimated population of 15.000 "having user rights" in the two swamps. Women, regarded by the appraisal as principal beneficiaries under traditional systems of swamp rice production, were expected to "receive major benefits from the project".

Objectives and components

The JPSP set out to increase Gambian national self-sufficiency in rice production, improve food security and raise farm families incomes.

The components were:

  • land development: 1.510 ha of swamplands were to be developped. Pump irrigation would comprise 560 ha and "improved rice" 950 ha. In an average year, 380 ha could be tidally irrigated in the wet season and 240 ha of these could be tidally irrigated in the dry season. Land would be reallocated on the basis of submissions by villages of their traditional land rights, existing use rights and existing areas cultivated by compounds.
  • training and institutional support: the development of a local institutional capability was considered important far irrigation-based agriculture and related extension.
  • credit input supply and crop marketing: the credit scheme was to be administered by the Gambia Cooperative Union (GCU). The cooperatives were also to handle actual input supply and crop marketing.

Then, the project was to fund the construction of five cereal banks and two day-care centres to take care of children of working mothers. A monitoring and evaluation unit was to provide the project management unit and the coordinating commitee with regular information concerning the performance of the project.

Expected effects and assumptions

Yields would increase up to 3,3 t/ha on improved swamp land (1,2 t/ha without project), to 4 t/ha on pump irrigated land for the wet season, 4,5 t/ha on pump irrigated land for the dry season. Production was expected to rise to 7.874 t (PY 6). Incomes were expected to rise from 247 USD without project to 1.079 USD with project.

The project was based on strong assumptions as to the permanence of the economic environment prevailing at the outset. Asumption was also made that other aspects of compound production and income would not affect rice production and income and that the main interest of farmers was in rice production even during the rainy season.

Evaluation

Implementation context

The 1985 structural adjustment programm led to significant policy changes in the Gambia's tariff and tax structure. Relative agricultural output and input prices turned against input intensive, high yield rice production. The reduction of price subsidies had doubled fertilizer cost in real term.

Natural conditions for rainfed upland agriculture improved which contributed to reduced food shortages and less demand for water-controlled rice production in the lowlands.

Project achievements

Land development: a total of 1.392 was developed, 545 ha for pump irrigation, 703 ha for tidal and 144 ha of improved rainfed land. The total area that may be double cropped under tidal irrigation is 364 ha.

Irrigation and drainage: they were both pump-based. The command areas were hermetically sealed off through raised ciment levees. A total of 13 pumpsets were procured, 11 installed and 2 spares. Water delivery and drainage inefficiency have been seriously compounded by little maintenance and sabotage of the pump-irrigated areas' infrastructure.

Input supply, credit, marketing and loan recovery: the GCU was responsable for input supply,credit and onward marketing. Initial performance was quite satisfactory. Between 1984 and 1987, loan recovery rates for seasonal credit averaged not less than 97% at Jahaly and 83% at Pacharr. In 1897, paddy production and loan recovery rates dropped (loan recovery rate: 30%). In 1988-89, the GCU withdrew from the rice sub sub-sector. The project became responsable for input supply, credit administration, loan recovery and marketing. There were a break down in input supply and credit delivery.

Revolving funds: the GCU deposited a proportion of recovered water and land charges and loans into two revolving funds. Lack of clarity about the accounts and the amounts involved have persisted since 1985. GCU retained control over funds accumulated in the revolving fund accounts, despite its withdrawal from the project.

Extension and agronomy: a modified T&V system of extension has been used. Meetings are held weekly between the extension staff and chosen "contact" farmers. One progressive farmer is chosen for each 10 ha block of the scheme. In addition, there is a demonstration plot at each swamp. Communications between farmers and extension staff were not easy because of the rigid water scheduling and became less than cordial when the staff in recent years had to undertake additional responsabilities over and above their primary extension activities (collecting loan repayments, organising water scheduling and sharing and maintenance of primary canals).

Cereal banks have not been built. JPSP day care centres never operated properly and are now defunct.

M&E: the technical and socio-economic M&E has been fragmentary. The data collected were of limited use in improving project performance, water scheduling and extension recommendations.

Effects assessment and sustainability

Beneficiaries: land developed under the project is presently available to 2.200 registered leaseholders from 1.253 compounds, dispersed over 67 villages. Current direct and indirect beneficiaries of the project are estimated at between 19.000 and 22.000 members of farm households. Poorer farmers were successfully targeted. In 1991, smaller households cultivated a larger per capita area in the project than larger ones. The number of participants in upland villages which used to be marginally involved, or not at all, in swamp or irrigated rice cultivation is considerably higher than expected because of the precarious food situation between 1983 and 1984.

In the early years 1984 to 1986, pump irrigated rice production performed very well. Average rice hields per hectare were significantly higher than anticipated at appraisal: 6.5 t/ha during the dry season and 5.4 t/ha during the wet season. But, between 1987 and 1992, average yields reached only 4.65 t/ha for the dry season and 2.28 t/ha for the wet season. The recent IFAD completion evaluation survey (CES) found even lower yields for 1990 and 1991: for the dry season, interviewed farmers reported yields between 3.3 (1991) and 3.7 tons per hectare (1990). Average wet season yields were between 1.7 and 1.8 tons/ha. In the end, low production caused low loan repayment rates of project charges by farmers. Eventually, this led to a cancellation of all ploughing, puddling and irrigation activities in pump-irrigated plots for wet season 1992. In wet season 1991, on average only 74 percent of all irrigated plots were cultivated. But for the dry season, a remarkably high cropping intensity was recorded of 95 percent.

On improved swamp rice plots (tidal-irrigated and improved rainfed swamp), yields of 2.5 to 3 tons/hectare can be achieved during the wet season. Yet, there are many plots in this production system where yields are significantly lower; many fields present yields hovering around 1 ton per hectare, particularly those which are purely rainfed, not transplanted, or where water-control through tidal irrigation is insufficient.

Effects on beneficiaries incomes: in 1985-86, the average household with a plot in the project area recorded a net increase in household income of 13%, compared to those without such land in the project area. But, in 1991, farm average gross margins per hectare and personns per day did not exceed those achieved in traditional swamp rice production.

One of the major accomplishments of the J.P. project is the beneficial impact of increased food security during the traditional lean or "hungry" season between June and September. By providing an additional dry season crop, the project increased level, and stability, of food consumption.

Specifics effects on women: the nutritional status of children and women improved, as measured by body weight and growth. The project diminished mothers' seasonal stress that is caused by increased workload, low food intake, and increased disease prevalence during the rainy season. A deliberate attempt to put women in charge of pump-irrigated plots by formally registering them as lease-holders was not successful. The net impact of the J.P. project on women's access to resources is difficult to assess. Overall, women certainly gained from the increased availability of food in the household and the significant reduction of back-breaking labour through mechanical land preparation.

Effects on the environment: the SAR referred to the threat to cultivation along the River Gambia because of an upstream movement of the salt water mixing zone associated with pump irrigation. But, when pumping was carried out on JPSP, the position of the salt water mixing zone was not monitored. This means, at least in theory, that the environmental impact over the project period could be negative.

Sustainability: the technical assistance had not transferred skills to national staff. Farmers' interest in rice cultivation decrease because of the declining profitability of paddy cultivation and lead to the break down of input and credit delivery. Farmers have limited interest in paying user charges and allocated their time on canal maintenance. The scheme's physical infrastructure and technical support system are deteriorating rapidly. There is no institutional structure for assuring stable and adequate credit, agro-input supplies and marketing facilities necessary for viable scheme operation. There is no beneficiary organisation in place for overall scheme management and field-level water management. This project does not seem to be more sustainable than the three previous interventions to develop rice production in the area.

Main issues

The project design is not adapted to the situation.

Project design must tie in with farmers' strategies and respect their comparative advantage in production by season, crop and intensity of effort. Farmers long term comparative advantage in cultivation, by crop and season had not been understood, and, as well, the probability of an imminent reduction of rice production support subsidies had not been taken into account. Pump irrigation in the wet season was an essential feature of project design, in spite of the uncertain nature of farmers' demand for such cultivation.

The design of the irrigation component permitted little or no flexibility in response to varying preferences in production and water demand.

The design of th irrigation component was not a "least cost" alternative. Design engineers opted for a total water control approach. Irrigation and drainage were pump-based. The local land form was radically and irreversibly transformed. The possibility was blocked of a reversal to tidal irrigation or to swamp cultivation. Bay must be completely flat to prevent the creation of ponds; to secure even-wetting for cultivation and seeding; and to obtain optimal drainage. Farmers have difficulty in fitting levelling into a tight cultivation schedule at a point in time when soils are workable. The flat bay system heavily restricts the type of crops which can be grown, since it is suitable only for flood irrigation. For tidal irrigation, the effectiveness of the watering system rests on the degree of skills in controlling water supply, and timeliness of opening and closing flood gates. Although the technology is relatively simple and cheap, tidal dependence and the variation in water levels places a premium on rigid scheduling and farmer cooperation.

The high initial yields in pump irrigated rice were not sustained.

The project was not well prepared for the sequence of unfavourable agronomic and economic conditions that started around 1986-87. Despite water controlled conditions, production in the scheme became more risky. Early rains and crop pests cut rice yields in dry and wet season 1987 almost by half, starting a cycle of loan default and delayed planting. Economic conditions turned against rice production (see 8). Input supply became more erratic after the withdrawal of GCU from the project in 1988. Improved climatic conditions for alternative, rainfed crop production of groundnuts and upland cereals further eroded the attractiveness of water controlled rice production for many producers in the area.

Recommendations and lessons learned

Under present technical, market and socio-economic conditions, in the Gambian agricultural sector, the most realistic scenario for future project operations is to: (i) support continued dry season rice production; and (ii) to seek to improve the technology of low-cost tidal irrigation.

In the short-to medium-term, the project should focus on the preferred production technologies, which means less emphasis on pump irrigation in the wet season, a scaling down of such irrigation, or its elimination. The situation could change were a repeated and prolonged drought to reoccur, negatively affecting upland crops and food availability. Hence, the longer-term scenario would be to maintain at minimal level a pumping capacity also for wet season irrigation.

Dry season production should focus on enhancing household food security for a maximum number of farm households, in low and upland villages. Wet season production should be targeted for women in the tidal/rainfed command area, who have the lowest opportunity costs and the highest interest in rice production during this period.

The schemes require considerable investment to rehabilitate pumping, water conveyancing and plot water control systems to improve their performance. If these physical investments are not carried out, the scheme will deteriorate at an accelerated rate over the next few years. These investments are necessary before any of the functions or responsibilities are transferred to the farmers, i.e. the scheme should function to design specifications if farmers are expected to pay for services.

A reorganization of the institutions concerned with operation of the JPSP is necessary to meet the post-project situation. With the premise that: (i) beneficiary farmers themselves would be responsible for at least partial management of water services and preferably land preparation through draught animal traction; and (ii) support services would be taken over by line ministries, the future role of the PMU should be redefined. With the premise that management functions would be assumed by beneficiary farmers themselves, the setting for developing farmers' organisations needs to be explored.

Lessons learned:

When an investment project includes heavy infrastructure development like important irrigation schemes and expensive equipment (pumps and tractors), project design must be preceeded by a far more careful analysis including sensitivity test for major changes in economic and institutional environment. Stated project risks should be reviewed carefully against lessons learned. Risks considered major and which would impact negatively implementation should be clearly spelt out. Proposals for alternative design(s) need to be considered, before a final decision is taken. In this kind of project, remedial actions have limited or negligible effectiveness once the project has been already designed.

Farmers' decision criteria need to be derived through a farming systems analysis. Gains to production and productivity must reflect the behaviour of the economic agents to optimise returns on scarce assets. Yield maximization may fail as long as land as a productive asset is not yet scarce. Farmers' portfolio of activities must be fully ascertained, and their economic returns on the different assets indicates their opportunity costs. If empirical data have not been systematically collected, or cannot be referred to, for use of on-farm labour in alternative activities (including non agricultural activities), a targeted study for such a purpose should be undertaken as part of formulation.

The rules for appointing consultancy firms need to be far stricter, even if bilateral co-financing on a grant basis is involved. Because of vested interests and potentially conflicting interests, a single consulting firm should never be engaged by the project to carry out feasibility studies, engineering design, agricultural design, supervision of contractors during construction, as well as be in charge of agricultural management of the project. Expatriate technical assistance should never be permitted to assume managerial roles at the outset of a project. There is then little scope for the nationals to gain experience in decision-making, and hand-over is always delayed.

Mechanisms must be developed within IFAD, to ensure that resources are made available to follow-up at the field level recommendations from evaluation missions to modify project design. Otherwise, such exercises with recommendations become purely academic exercises.

Beneficiaries must be involved in the design and eventual re-design through a structured process for participation. Self-reliance and self-management of production systems can only come about by putting the proposed grass roots institutions firmly in place from the outset, as it takes a long time for them to reach maturity. Participation in managing project assets, or cultivating the land, is strongly linked to the economic environment. When the economic environment shifted from rice towards upland crops; the economic surplus in rice production fell, interest for rice cultivation in the wet season subsided. The interests of participants in sharing, or assuming the responsibility for service provision, let alone cost recovery, diminished.

Projects which seek to promote the socio-economic development of the relatively underprivileged and powerless will meet with conflicts. They have to be designed with particular care. There is little or no guarantee for that the target group can successfully compete with more influential members of the local community and assimilate and consolidate gains arising from project implementation. For this reason, a detailed design and full transparency is required with regard to the activities related to: (i) distributing the most sought after asset, the irrigated land; and (ii) collecting and using core indicators with which the management can monitor, or ensure, that those less privileged continue to draw lasting benefits in the use of their assets. Administrative regulation of land tenure at the level of a project can not easily dominate the practices of customary land tenure. This is definitely the case with regard to changes to support the rights of women as against customs or controls exercised by household heads, or men. The preferences by gender for type of crop, and land use, generally reflect relative labour inputs and associated cash returns coupled with preferences for food security. Clear commitment to promote equity is required from the Government and other involved agencies. If such commitment is not obtained, project management is bound to be caught in the role of mediating local vested interests without adequate political support.

 

 

LANGUAGES: English

Projet de réhabilitation agricole du Fouta Djallon

Guinea  
March 1994

La zone du projet couvre le nord-est du massif du Fouta Djallon, constituée en grande partie de zones d'altitude ainsi que des versants nord et nord-est du massif. Elle englobe les préfectures de Mali, Koubia et Tougué ainsi que le nord des préfectures de Labé et Lelouma. La population y est d'environ 400.000 habitants répartis en 95.000 ménages d'environ 7-8 personnes. Une surexploitation du milieu (déforestation, feux de brousse et mise en culture, réduction de la durée des jachères, destruction des sols) a conduit à une dégradation du couvert arboré. Les précipitations et écoulements diminuent et se concentrent sur une période plus courte. Les conditions d'approvisionnement en eau en saison sèche sont localement très difficiles. Les activités d'élevage sont dominées par la vaine pature et la divagation quasi-permanente du cheptel. La faiblesse et le mauvais état des infrastructures routières est une contrainte importante au développement.

Les terres cultivées comprennent des champs permanents (sountourés) groupés autour des habitations, protégés des animaux par des clotures et fertilisés par des déchets ménagers et les déjections animales; des "champs extérieurs" (n'guessa) où alternent les périodes de cultures (riz, fonio, arachide, manioc) et de jachères; et des bas fonds, aménagés ou non, où sont pratiqués riziculture et maraichage de saison sèche. Dans la société fortement inégalitaire des peuls du Fouta, la complexité du droit foncier traditionnel et de son organisation usagère se répercute sur les orientations possibles d'un développement agricole portant améliorations foncières, aménagement hydro-agricole ou gestion du terroir. La recherche de solutions négociées entre l'investisseur publique, les propriétaires éminents et l'ensemble des usagers, semble être ainsi la seule voie possible susceptible de permettre l'aménagement sans perturber les équilibres sociaux.

Conception et objectifs du project

Groupe cible

Le groupe cible du Projet de réhabilitation agricole du Fouta Djallon (PRAFD est la population rurale de sa zone d'intervention dont on prévoyait que 31% bénéficieraient directement du projet. La population étant globalement considérée comme pauvre, le RE n'y définissait pas un sous-groupe cible prioritaire.

Objectifs et composantes du projet

A l'origine, les objectifs principaux du projet étaient:

  • l'augmentation des revenus des agriculteurs grâce à l'accroissement de la productivité et de la production des exploitations;
  • la conservation des ressources avec l'amélioration de la fertilité, la conservation des sols et la protection de l'environnement.

L'amélioration de la solvabilité des villageois auprès du système bancaire et l'amorce d'un processus de développement et d'autogestion viable au niveau des villages constituaient deux objectifs complémentaires pour lesquels la démarche retenue comprenait la mise en place d'Associations Villageoises (AV) dotées de fonds propres autogérés (FVD), des actions de formation et d'alphabétisation des Comités villageois de crédit et d'Equipes techniques villageoises etc.

Le PRAFD comprend onze composantes: production agricole, production animale, vulgarisation et organisation villageoise, recherche-développement, crédit agricole, approvisionnement, pistes et ponts, hydraulique villageoise, bas-fonds, formation, appui au projet que l'on peut regrouper en trois grandes catégories d'action: organisation du monde rural (y compris du marché financier)développement agricole et gestion des ressources naturellesdéveloppement des infrastructures.

Les résultats attendus étaient l'abandon des cultures sur les zones à fortes pentes et l'intensification des champs extérieurs sur faible pente. Au niveau de l'exploitation moyenne, cette perspective se traduisait par une réduction de 54% de la surface globalement exploitée et une baisse de la part des jachères dans les terres "extérieures" de 67% à 43%. De très fortes augmentations de rendements (+200%) étaient attendues d'apports de fumier (10 t/ha) et d'engrais minéraux. A la fin de la cinquième année, le surcroit de production annuelle devait atteindre 5.200 t de produits vivriers et 1 300 t de fruits et légumes; la production de viande, de lait et d'oeufs devait augmenter de 5%. En année de croisière, on attendait 27.000 t supplémentaires de production agricole soit plus d'une tonne et demi par exploitation bénéficiaire.

Évaluation

Evolution en cours d'éxécution

En 1992, après une crise financière et un blocage du projet, un Plan de relance est mis en oeuvre. Il remet en cause l'orientation productiviste du PRFAD et propose une approche plus limitée et centrée sur les zones et les produits à bon potentiel commercial. La priorité est à l'organisation de circuits économiques et de filières efficaces (promotion de GIE et d'opérateurs privés).

Réalisations du projet

Organisation du monde rural. En mars 94, 169 AV ont été constituées avec un nombre total d'adhérents de 10 421. Dans les communautés concernées, le taux d'adhésion des exploitations varie de 50 à 518. Les cotisations d'adhésion aux AV et la cotisation équivalente fournie par le projet ont constitués les FVD. Les activités de l'AV ont permis de faire passer le montant total des avoirs financiers des AV de 100 millions FG (apport initiaux + contrepartie PRAFD) à environ 138 millions FG. En 1993, 48% du montant total des FVD avaient été décaissé par les AV pour financer, principalement, des "activités rémunératrices" de l'AV, des Banques de produits vivriers et du "crédit interne" (de l'AV à ses membres). La part des FDV conservée au village fonctionne comme un fonds de roulement dont l'usage semble s'orienter de plus en plus vers le crédit. Les crédits octroyés par les CVC à des membres de l'AV a tendance à se développer fortement depuis le milieu de l'année 93. Les bénéficiaires du crédit sont en grande majorité des individus, le plus souvent des commerçants membres des AV; les montants prêtés sont relativement importants; les taux d'intérêt sont élevés, souvent supérieurs à ceux du Crédit mutuel de Guinée.

Le projet a pris en charge et continue à assurer l'ensemble du circuit d'approvisionnement en intrants et matériels.

Les GIE, au nombre de 79, totalisent 1.400 adhérents dont environ 50% de femmes ont été officiellement identifiés et reconnus. La moitié des GIE enregistrés (et semble-t-il les plus actifs) seraient des groupements de maraîchers. On compte également 11 GIE de teinturiers, 7 d'apiculteurs, 8 de saponification (féminins).

Les sessions d'alphabétisation en pular caractères arabes ont bénéficié à 4.626 personnes dont 648 femmes. Au total, 1.780 auditeurs, dont 86 femmes, ont été diplômés.

Développement de l'agriculture et de l'élevage et conservation de l'environnement

Une série d'actions ponctuelles ont été entreprises:

  • Fertilisation et conservation de la fertilité: introduction de compostières et d'abris fumiers: 276 unités ont été implantés. 28,3 tonnes d'engrais composés et 14,8 tonnes d'engrais simples ont été placés. Les engrais semblent essentiellement avoir été utilisés en bas-fonds pour des cultures maraîchères et localement sur du riz ou du maïs.
  • Introduction de matériel végétal plus performant: ont été distribuées ou vendues, 1,6 tonne de maïs en 1993 (environ 50 ha emblavés) et 1,8 tonne de semences d'arachide en 1992 (environ 30 ha). La vente de semences de pomme de terre a atteint en 1993, le total de 3,8 tonnes (environ 2 ha de plantations). La diffusion de plants fruitiers améliorés s'est limitée à 600 plants d'orangers, 280 manguiers greffés, quelques avocatiers et caféiers.
  • Equipement des exploitations: quelques lots de petit outillage (quelques dizaines) et de 165 charrues ont été vendus au comptant.
  • Commercialisation: l'amélioration du réseau routier et à la constitution de banques de produits vivriers.
  • Aménagements anti-érosif de champs cultivés et actions de conservation de l'environnement: 19 km de haies vives et 25 km de bandes anti-érosives correspondent dans les deux cas à environ 50 ha traités. Les autres actions ont consisté en: 371 ha de plantations; 5 pépinières-pilote villageoises; 1.105 ha de mise en défens (90 contrats); 750 foyers améliorés.
  • Les actions dans le domaine de l'élevage: les chiffres de vaccination soient 38.375 bovins, 9.659 petits ruminants et 6.621 volailles concernent principalement les années 1991 et 1992. Apiculture: 320 ruches ont été placées à crédit dont 8 en démonstration et 136 en production. Mal placées et au mauvais moment, leur taux d'occupation est très faible.

Développement des infrastructures. La réhabilitation ou l'ouverture de 23 tronçons de piste (pour une longueur totale de 262 km) et la réalisation de 156 points d'eau (dont 117 forages) répondent aux besoins les plus urgents de la population du Fouta Djallon. Mais d'importantes insuffisances concernant la qualité technique et la maintenance des pistes réalisées.

Appréciation des effets du projet et de leur perennité

Au stade actuel de la mise en oeuvre du PRAFD, deux grands acquis peuvent être identifiés. Le premier est celui de l'organisation du milieu rural, de l'apprentissage de la gestion et du développement des relations entre AV, système bancaire (Crédit mutuel) et services publics (essentiellement le PRAFD). L'apparition d'une forme de représentation villageoise reconnue et dotée d'une capacité financiè_e encore limitée mais réelle contribue au développement de relations plus équilibrées entre la société rurale foutanienne et les diverses représentation de l'Etat et de l'économie moderne (banques, projets de développement, etc.). Dans les villages, l'existence d'une capacité de financement facilement mobilisable (FDV) commence à stimuler l'activité commerciale et dans une moindre mesure l'activité productive. On pourra attendre à terme un effet positif important sur le marché financier rural à l'echelle de la région.

Le deuxième effet positif du PRAFD est l'amélioration des conditions de vie dans une centaine de villages à travers l'installation des forages. Il ne fait aucun doute que la difficulté d'approvisionnement en eau potable en saison sèche, quand les cours d'eau et de nombreuses sources sont taris, est un des problèmes prioritaires des populations rurales et des femmes en particulier. Les réalisations dans ce domaine, bien qu'encore largement insuffisantes par rapport aux besoins et aux demandes exprimées dans la zone du PRAFD, ont eu des effets très positifs dans les villages touchés. Bien qu'il soit trop tôt pour se prononcer définitivement, il semble bien que les chances de pérennité de ces effets soient élevées et en tout cas meilleures que dans bon nombre d'actions de ce type en Afrique de l'ouest. Les forages sont bien protégés, des comités de gestion sont en place, des cotisations commencent à être prélevées et la plupart des pannes ont pu être réparées dans des délais raisonnables. Des progrès restent cependant à faire dans la densité et la professionnalité du réseau d'artisans réparateurs.

En tenant à l'esprit les deux acquis importants p_écités, il importe de rappeler que l'objectif central du PRAFD était l'amélioration du revenu agricole des populations du Fouta Djallon, ainsi que la restauration et la préservation de l'environnement. Or, après 4 ans d'exécution, les effets du projet sur la production agricole sont mal connus mais certainement très faibles. Dans le domaine de la protection de l'environnement et de la restauration du milieu, les résultats restent trés décevants; le projet s'est contenté de proposer un catalogue d'interventions plus ou moins ponctuelles sur quelques parcelles cultivées ou certains points sensibles (forage).

Principaux problèmes rencontrés

Un scénario de développement agricole irréaliste contribue à faire passer en second plan les objectifs initiaux du projet. Le RE proposait une véritable révolution agricole en grandeur réelle et en quelques années, sans disposer ni de résultats diffusables au niveau de la recherche appliquée, ni d'aucune action pilote ou expérimentale ayant démontré la faisabilité (technique, économique et sociale) de ce projet dans le contexte très particulier du Fouta Djallon. Outre le caractère simpliste du diagnostic et du modèle de développement agricole proposé ne tenant pas compte de la grande diversité des situations agro-écologiques, ce scénario ignorait grossièrement les facteurs socio-fonciers (déterminants dans le contexte foutanien), la division du travail entre genres et l'insertion des cultures en champs extérieurs dans un système de gestion des ressources très contraignant ne laissant guère de marge de manoeuvre à l'individu.

En fait, une transformation du système de production n'est pas envisageable au seul niveau de l'exploitation individuelle: les feux de brousse, le déboisement en amont, la divagation du bétail sont autant de facteurs surdéterminant les comportements de chacun. Ainsi, le problème fondamental de l'antagonisme agriculture-élevage ne peut trouver sa solution qu'à travers une modification profonde de la conduite du troupeau bovin impliquant une gestion commune des pâturages, un contrôle de la divagation, une révision de la gestion des jachères. Ces mesures supposent une prise de décision à différents niveaux (village, chef d'exploitaiton, individu) et ne peuvent en aucun cas être du ressort de la simple transmission d'un message technique. De même en est-il du problème de la conservation ou de la restauration de la fertilité des sols qui ne peut être du seul ressort de l'introduction de quelques compostières ou de l'utilisation localisée d'engrais minéraux. C'est l'ensemble du système de production de l'exploitation qui est en jeu, faisant intervenir la conduite de l'élevage (parcage nocturne et production de fumier), la disponibilité en force de travail, l'équilibre entre les différentes unités spatiales composant l'exploitation (sountouré, champ extérieur, éventuellement bas-fonds), les usages fonciers (autorisation de plantations d'arbres, sécurité de l'attribution foncière).

Initialement, l'amélioration du revenu agricole des populations et la préservation de l'environnement étaient les objectifs principaux du projet. On a assisté au renversement progressif et non explicité de l'ordre d'importance de ses objectifs que le PRAFD a connu au cours de sa mise en oeuvre. La formation des AV et l'accumulation de FDV, initialement conçus comme des instruments d'une politique de développement agricole semblent être devenus la raison d'être principale d'un projet dont l'objectif serait la mise en place d'un système d'"auto-gouvernement" villageois. La transformation du système de culture (l'intensification des champs extérieurs à faible pente et des tapades) pour le développement de la production et des revenus et la protection de l'environnement, initialement axe central et objectif principal du PRAFD, n'apparaît plus que comme une composante parmi d'autre, et plus précisément comme celle que tout le monde s'accorde à reconnaître comme la plus faible en termes de résultat.

L'approche par AV ne facilite pas le ciblage des catégories les plus défavorisées

L'AV conforte la distribution actuelle des pouvoirs et ne facilite pas la prise en compte du groupe cible prioritaire du FIDA. Les intérêts de ce groupe hétérogène (anciens captifs dépourvus de propriété foncière, femmes, jeunes) sont encore très différents de ceux des dirigeants d'AV.

La pratique financière des CVC n'est pas favorable aux paysans pauvres bien qu'elle soit prometteuse du point de vue de la pérennité et du développement des FVD. Le FVD fonctionne souvent comme une banque dont l'accès est réservé aux individus reconnus solvables et s'adonnant à des opérations commerciales assurées de la rentabilité. Leur activité commerciale concerne davantage des produits importés que des productions locales.

En ce sens, la constitution des GIE est une réponse adaptée à la nécessité, justement évoquée par la LPDA et le plan de relance, d'assurer des bases plus concrètes à l'organisation économique du milieu. Elle est aussi une ouverture pertinente pour un meilleur accès du groupe cible à l'aide du projet.

 Recommandations et leçons à tirer

Recommandations à court terme

Le PRAFD doit dès aujourd'hui appliquer la directive du plan de relance consistant à concentrer ses efforts de recherche, de vulgarisation et de formation sur le développement des cultures de rapport (maraîchage, fruiticulture, apiculture) et de leur filières d'approvisionement et commercialisation.

Le projet doit chercher à établir avec les AV et des GIE des relations de partenariat et non d'"encadrement", d'encourager dans toute la mesure du possible le développement de leurs relations avec les opérateurs privés, les services publics, les organisations professionnelles (URPO, URPPT) et les ONG. Les agents du PRAFD devraient retrouver le rôle de facilitateurs qu'ils auraient dû assurer. En pratique, l'approvisionnement en intrants agricoles, les vaccinations et traitements ne relevant pas de l'exclusivité de la DNE, la fourniture de ruches kényanes pourraient être déléguée aux AV, GIE ou groupements existants.

Un appui financier direct aux GIE, en particulier de femmes, de jeunes et d'anciens captifs, est probablement la meilleure manière de renforcer la position économique de ces catégories sociales dominées au sein des villages. Il s'agit de renforcer leur autonomie, mais aussi leur capacité de négociation par rapport aux CVC et au CM. Le projet ne devrait pas limiter son intervention en faveur des GIE aux seuls villages organisés en AV.

Pour les nouvelles AV à constituer (uniquement dans les sous-prefectures où le projet est déjà présent), on recommande de modifier les conditions d'attribution des contreparties PRAFD aux FDV pour inciter à une plus forte adhésion des familles à l'AV: la contrepartie PRAFD ne serait accordée qu'aux AV ayant un niveau de représentativité minimum que l'on pourrait fixer à 75% des ménages du village-centre et de ses hameaux périphériques. Dans la mesure où un plafonnement de la dotation du projet au FVD est souhaitable, on recommande de le fixer par ménage ou par individu adhérent et non par AV.

Dans le domaine du crédit, on recommande: i) de mieux suivre l'utilisation et la gestion des crédits internes à partir des FVD ; ii) de proscrire le crédit direct par le projet; iii) de renforcer les relations directes entre GIE et Crédit mutuel de manière à ce qu'une véritable concurrence puisse s'établir entre crédit interne des AV et Crédit mutuel.

L'aménagement et la mise en valeur des bas-fonds devraient se développer dans l'avenir immédiat sur quelques sites privilégiés caractérisés par: i) le consensus de la population pour l'aménagement (en particulier pour le règlement des problèmes d'attribution foncière; ii) la garantie de la ressource en eau et d'une topographie compatible avec l'irrigation gravitaire; iii) une localisation favorable à l'écoulement de la production: désenclavement, bassin de production permettant une concentration de l'offre, à l'intérieur des zones prioritaires. La décision d'intervention devrait dépendre d'une étude de faisabilité technique, économique et sociofoncière.Le plan d'exécution des travaux devra être élaboré en concertation avec les exploitants.

Les investissements en hydraulique villageoise (forages) doivent être poursuivis au cours de la deuxième phase tout en recherchant des solutions moins couteuses que les forages profonds.

Pistes rurales: le problème le plus urgent est celui de la valorisation des importants investissements réalisés jusqu'à maintenant par le projet (construction des ouvrages manquants, entretien des tronçons dégradés). Pour la future programmation des pistes, il est indispensable que le PRAFD élabore une stratégie commune avec le BTGR et la DNGR qui tienne compte du cadre général des travaux envisagés, des financements disponibles et des analyses économiques/commerciales supportant le choix des réseaux à réhabiliter.

En tant qu'institution, le PRAFD doit impérativement être redimensionné et simplifié.

Recommandations pour une seconde phase

L'identification de solutions pour la conservation de la fertilité des terres et du couvert arboré dans un contexte de diminution des temps de jachère et de l'antagonisme agriculture-elevage exige une phase de recherche-action participative qui pourra durer plusieurs années. La raison en est que les solutions à identifier ne sont pas essentiellement, ou du moins pas seulement, de nature technique, mais de nature sociale et socio-économique (négociation des droits fonciers, disponibilité et rémunération de la main-d'oeuvre nécessaire aux aménagements, financement des investissements lourds à faible rentabilité à court terme, contrôle de la divagation des animaux, réglementation des coupes de bois et des feux de brousse, etc). L'identification des principes de réaménagement des terroirs, l'émergence de nouveaux modes de gestion des ressources et de l'espace, le développement de nouvelles synergies entre élevage bovin et agriculture, l'identification et la mesure des niveaux de subvention ou d'"incitation" extérieure optimale, ne peuvent être le fait que d'une collaboration prolongée entre des communautés volontaires et une équipe d'animateurs/conseillers de haut niveau.

Tout en poursuivant et en intensifiant les actions de productivité et la mise en place de filières pour les cultures de rapport, dans le cadre de la seconde phase, on doit prévoir une composante spéciale consistant en une série de programmes pilotes d'aménagement et gestion de terroirs, élaborés et exécutés par des villages volontaires appuyés par une équipe ad hoc. Cette équipe pluridisciplinaire devra disposer de son propre budget (fonds souple d'appui à l'aménagement des terroirs) et d'une large autonomie vis à vis des CPP et des DPDRE. Elle sera formée et appuyée par une assistance technique (pas nécessairement permanente) spécifique et expérimentée en diagnostic des systèmes agraires et en recherche-action participative. Les villages ou groupe de villages volontaires pourront être au nombre d'une dizaine, l'important étant que leur ensemble soit suffisamment représentatif de la diversité agro-écologique et socio-économique de la zone du projet. La raison d'être de cette composante pilote ne sera pas l'atteinte de quelque objectif quantitatif, mais la mise au point de méthodes d'approche, de solutions organisationnelles et techniques, innovatives et réplicables, qui pourront ensuite être utilisées à plus grande échelle. Les communautés villageoises ayant participé au programme pilote seront elles-même des centres de diffusion de ces innovations, notamment sous forme de visite d'échange entre villages. La conception de la deuxième phase devra être suffisamment souple pour pouvoir s'adapter aux résultats de sa composante Recherche-Action, même s'il n'est pas certain que des solutions réplicables à grande échelle pourront être identifiée avant la fin de la seconde phase.

 

 

LANGUAGES: English, French

Chuquisaca North Agricultural Development Project

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)  
December 1993

The project covers the rural areas of the northern provinces of the Chuquisaca Department in Bolivia. Its cost was USD 21.0 million and the amount of the IFAD loan USD 13.8 million. The target group comprised 20 010 families of which 6 000 were provided with supervised credit. It was an integrated rural development project, including infrastructure and support services, implemented from October 1983 to September 1993. The Completion Evaluation emphasized extensive fieldwork. The design, implementation and outcome of the project were discussed at length in communal assemblies and with peasant authorities. The assessment has greatly benefitted from the self-evaluation work carried out by the project.

  • Date: 1993
  • Language: English and Spanish
  • Document: Executive summary in English and Spanish
LANGUAGES: English, Spanish

Chuquisaca South Rural Development Project

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)  
December 1993

The most notable achievements of the project have been:

  1. an increase in the production and productivity of some goods such as potatoes and peaches, and an improvement in sheep management, as a result of the extension activities. The most widely adopted recommendations have emphasised the dissemination of technologies requiring limited imported inputs;
  2. the construction of a network of low-cost roads, which has surpassed the original project objective, including small tracks constructed by local labour;
  3. the involvement of the beneficiaries as a primary motivation behind the project's actions, particularly since the reorientation of the Project, which established the POCs as the basis for the prioritisation of the activities carried out by the communities themselves;
  4. the support provided for the organisation and training of women, with particular emphasis on craft activities;
  5. the improvement in the living conditions of families in the area, through increased production and its effect on nutrition, support to education by the provision of school meals, and other specific actions; and
  6. the strengthening of local institutions and the project's technical team, providing a basis for its future sustainability. In the last agricultural year, nearly twice as many beneficiaries until 1992 received technical extension, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to 2 100.
  • Date: 1993
  • Language: English and Spanish
  • Document: Executive summary in English and Spanish
LANGUAGES: English, Spanish

Local Initiatives Support Project

Lesotho  
December 1993

Lesotho is a small, mountainous country which is entirely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa (RSA). The economy is largely open to and dependent on that of South Africa, which provides virtually all of Lesotho's imports and which purchases 80% of its exports. In recent years, remittances from miners in RSA have provided about half of the national income. The project site Quthing District has an area of about 182 000 ha, with a population estimated to be 90 000 people, of which 90% are rural. Cropland in Quthing is limited. Rainfed production of the traditional food grains (maize, sorghum, wheat) accounts for virtually all the field crops. Livestock production in rangeland is more important in Quthing than it is nationally. Herd numbers are excessive, and the pressure of over-grazing is one of the main causes of the soil erosion.

Project design and objectives

Target group

Quthing is a disadvantaged area. The average household income was 27% below the national in 1987. The project would attempt to reach a target group of about 36 000 people (7 550 households) or about 45% of the rural population. The target group was defined in the SAR as consisting of: small farmers, de jure female headed households, landless, often without wage employment, labour-deficit landed households and unemployed youth, who lack the skills required to make them more productive.

Objectives and components

Objectives. The primary objective of LISP was to raise rural incomes by increasing and diversifying agricultural production and by initiating a range of income-generating activities, both on and off farm. To achieve these objectives a participatory approach would be used. This would entail developing grass roots, service-orientated groups at the local level and developing linkages between the rural population and national organization, thereby reducing to a minimum future needs for government support.

Components: (a) Improvement of Crop Productivity, to be accomplished through a low-input crop package; an on-farm adaptive research programme; a soil conservation sub-component; and the expansion of irrigation through small, low-cost schemes; (b) Income Generating Rural Enterprises (IGRES), to include both farm and non-farm activities and (c) Community Support Activities consisted of the provision of village water supply (VWS) and establishing or rehabilitating Community Gardens.

Expected effects and assumptions

Expected Benefits. The principal direct benefit from the project would be an increase in production. The total annual incremental production will reach 6 900 mt of sorghum, 1 500 mt of maize, 400 mt of vegetables and 160 mt of folder. At full development about 4 550 households would earn significantly higher incomes under the rainfed crop production, farm and non-farm enterprise, irrigation and community gardens components. Additional benefits would come from the installation of VWS in 63 villages in the project area which would benefit approximately 3 000 households. In addition to the quantified benefits, the project would attempt to improve the implementation capacity of government institutions. The project would also establish a clear linkage between research, extension and beneficiaries, and initiate the adaptive research necessary to intensify and diversify agricultural production. Through its small soil conservation component, the project would start community-initiated and implemented conservation activities on a mini-catchment basis.

Assumptions. Three main assumption were at the base of the expected benefits. First, yields of traditional crops are assumed to double by project maturity of about 13 years. This is clearly linked to the assumption that farmers will readily adopt the low-input package advocated by the project as opposed to low adoption of high input packages. Second, the incremental output will fetch remunerative prices in the local markets. Third, the involvement of beneficiaries would develop the interest in community based schemes such as soil conservation, small-scale irrigation and water supply schemes. Yet, for the success of such schemes the individual and the community stakes should be tangible.

Evaluation

The mid-term evaluation mission visited the field for about eleven days. After meetings with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and other government agencies, the Mission met with project staff, visited affiliated agencies, and made numerous field visits to observe project activities and interview project beneficiaries. In addition to supervision mission reports, a draft Baseline Survey (January 1991) and numerous consultancies reports on irrigation, credit, marketing, improved crop technologies and women in development were consulted by the Mission.

Implementation context

The project is located in an inaccessible, drought-striken, poor province in the hinterland of a land locked country. It has an economy which is dominated by the Republic of South africa in two respects, a market for its labour and hence significantly dependent on remittances and a major source of Government revenue from the South African Custom Union (SACU). At the local community level there are two important factors affecting implementation: (a) the majority of households are headed by females, but their decision-making capacity is seriously constrained by the traditions and (b) communities are conservative hence new ideas are accepted gradually and only after they are thoroughly demonstrated. The project would, however, involve credible non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with wide experience in the area and hence would help dissipate such resistances.

Project achievements

Project Management. Under the former Project Manager (preceeding MTE), there was an established practice of having regular staff meetings and quarterly exchange visits among the field staff in the different areas covered by the project which helped in identifying and solving problems. It appears that these meetings have either been discontinued, or that they are not being held as frequently at the time of the MTE. The PCC which initially used to meet regularly has served mainly to review project progress but has not played an active role in guiding project management, setting deadlines, or in coordinating actions among the various components/agencies of the project. Expenditure on project activities has been far slower than planned. The actual total disbursement was only 55.6% compared to 85% as anticipated.

Construction of Civil Works. All civil works provided for in the SAR were completed on time. However, the MTE noted that the headquarters facility is not large enough to permit the staff to carry out their work properly.

Adoption of Technology and Packages. A study of the recommended package found only limited adoption. It indicates that farmers consider the package to be both capital and labour-intensive. The labour and output price levels are the main constraints to a widespread adoption of the proposed technologies. It is not surprising that the crop outcome of the last three years preceeding evaluation was poor. The package of technologies recommended by the project has not been appraised against the agro-ecological conditions in the project area. Under the circumstances, the project's technology for improving rainfed crop production will attain only very limited adoption and limited impact in the longer run.

Soil Conservation. At MTE soil conservation measures have not been implemented to any significant extent. Farmers were also not interested in soil conservation and refrained from implementing even very simple practices. This attitude was reinforced by the disinterest of the Subject matter specialist (SMS).

Small-scale Irrigation. Initial delays were experienced due to difficulties in locating sufficient number of sites appropriate for small-scale gravity irrigation proposed by SAR and disagreement among farmers about operations modalities. After a survey of the project area in 1990, a strong interest among individual farmers in simple low-cost gravity-fed sprinkler schemes, based on water flow from springs was identified. Up to MTE, requests from 118 farmers have been registered by the project; 85 small projects have been designed for which loans have been requested and approved by the project; and 22 schemes are already operational and cropped. The systems have simple and efficient design, are relatively cheap to install and easily managed by the individual farmers.

Credit. When the project was appraised, Lesotho Agricultural Development Bank (LADB) and Besotho Enterprises Development Cooperation (BEDCO) did not have offices or branches in the project area. Therefore, the responsibility for identifying credit beneficiaries was totally entrusted to LISP, and LADB and BEDCO were to be used as credit pipelines rather than real banks. However, no technical or financial assessment was made of LADB to identify its weaknesses and deficiencies since it was already experiencing serious structural problems. No loans were approved before 1989. By March 1991 LADB reported the disbursement of 49 loans, mainly to groups, totalling M 364 000, compared to the originally planned 193 loans totalling M 539 000 for this time period. Repayments were reported at 74%, with farm loan repayments at 87% and those for off-farm loans at 64%. As of September 1992, there had been total disbursement of 109 loans amounting to M 425 138. Whereas the overall recovery rate had declined to 56%, the on-farm loans actually improved slightly, while the recovery rate on off-farm loans had declined sharply from 64% to 52%. These recovery rates are not satisfactory, and the credit programme will not be sustainable if they continue.

Community Support Activities (e.g. Village Water Supply). This component, under the guidance of Plenty Canada has succeeded in establishing 31 water supply systems serving a total of 8 657 beneficiaries. This is 72% of the 12 000 target which was redefined at the time of the MTR. Given the component's current rate of progress, it appears that the final target may well be reached by 1994. Success was attributed to: (a) an accurate assessment of the community's felt needs; (b) a sense of membership developed through the promotion of village institutions and establishment of village development committees, (about 36 in 60 villages); (c) the continued commitment of a competent NGO (Plenty Canada) and its staff; and (d) concentration on a programme that is clear and not too broadly defined.

Income Generating Rural Enterprises (IGRES). By September 1992, the total number of IGRES groups was 45, and the number of beneficiaries went up to 396. There was substantial attrition in the number of non-farm enterprises during PY5 due to the severe drought of 1991/92. While there seems to be ample rationale for establishing IGREs, there is a question of whether economically and managerially viable entities can be established. Furthermore, LISP main staff are agricultural SMS and extension workers. The group promoters (GP) are trained in home economics and rural development and cannot be expected to provide for the diverse technical needs of the non-farm IGRE component envisaged in the SAR.

Participation and Group Formation. While the SAR stipulated that beneficiaries be given representation on the PCC, this was not done until June 1991. The Plenty Canada project component has never been represented on the PCC.

As per the design, the Group Promotion unit, headed by a Group Promoter (GP), has been central to the operation of the PMU. However, no clear framework for the project's group orientation was provided. There was no discussion of when group promotion could be expected to work as a means of project organization and when it would be more effective to deal with beneficiaries on an individual basis. The group organization process took longer than expected partly because of widespread reluctance of participants to join groups. One situation in which the project had a headstart in group formation was in the VWS component, which was the area selected for Plenty Canada to implement. No groups were actually formed until the second year of the project. By September 1992, LISP reported that a total of only 74 groups had been organized and that it was working with 700 beneficiaries. Beneficiary evaluation workshops organized by the project in 1989 and 1990 to stimulate participation have produced many good results. Participants voiced problems with respect to communication with extension agents and marketing problems, and suggested that LISP should work more closely with Village Chiefs. Criticism was directed to the "low attention beneficiaries received after credit has been issued and to the lack of communication between LADB, LISP and borrowers".

Monitoring and Evaluation. M&E performance was very uneven during the early years of the project. The first Monitoring and Evaluation Officer (MEO) was not assigned until November 1988, and his successor began working on the project in January 1992. While he appears to be highly motivated, he has no formal training and only limited experience in M&E. The draft Baseline Survey was not completed until February 1991, and a slightly revised version was submitted a year later. This survey proved to be poorly suited to the purposes of LISP. It concentrates on farming households although the LISP target groups depend primarily on other activities. The unit has conducted special studies of technology adoption and of the extent to which project activities are reaching the target group. However, at MTE, no clear plan has been established for measuring project impacts. The supplementary baseline survey which was being conducted at MTE might provide some valuable information on impacts if it is modified.

Effects assessment and sustainability

Impacts of the project were found difficult to determine at MTE, particularly due to the deficiencies of the original baseline survey and the scarcity of government statistical series that would permit measurement. However, the Mission field observations indicate that with the exception of the VWS component, the project had limited impacts on the beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries. The definition of the target group in the SAR is not very precise for reaching the poorest of the poor. Nevertheless, the general survey of beneficiaries conducted in 1990 concluded that 80% of project beneficiaries fell within the target group. The Mission could not estimate the project effects on the beneficiaries income, because of lack of comparative data.

Training has been one of the most active project support activities. This has included extensive beneficiary as well as staff training. While over 2 700 days of training have been conducted for beneficiaries so far, there is no way to determine just how well this has met trainee or staff needs, and there is no system in place for follow-up to see whether it has been effective or to measure impacts.

The Village Water Supply Component is well on the way towards reaching the revised target of 12 000 beneficiaries. Beneficiaries in one village estimated that having a water system generates about two hours per day in time savings per family. In some villages it has already been reported that typhoid has ceased to occur since their VWS was completed.

Nutrition and Food self-sufficiency. The project contribution would come from the more recently designed small-scale irrigation from springs. Such assured source of irrigation in drought-striken areas would enhance food security. Perennial irrigation increases vegetable production and diversifies household food and hence improves nutrition. In the small enterprise component, funding has been extended to poultry production with expected positive impacts on household nutrition and income.

Women. The Mission observed high levels of female involvement in most components of the project. Some 90% of the beneficiaries of the Fund Raising Fund (FRF, a small credit programme to cater for poorer people who could not qualify for bank credit) are women, and the CG component also has a very high female involvement. In contrast, the study of adoption of the low input crop technology packages showed that this package was not very suitable for the poor or for women.

Environmental Effects. The soil erosion component of the project has not been implemented. In fact, due to lack of soil conservation activities the situation in some fields has deteriorated. Fortunately, the community gardens and the irrigated crop and village water supply component had a positive impact on the environment. The excess water from the VWS is used for irrigation rather than allowed to flow down the stream causing soil erosion. The capping of the sources of the springs prevents the development of downhill gullies and thus helps reduce soil erosion.

Sustainability. Overall the sustainability of the project depends on the extent to which LISP is able to strengthen the capabilities of its beneficiaries in the area of decision making and to improve their ability to initiate action, and enhance self-reliance. The fact that a high percentage of beneficiaries participate in constructing the VWS ensures that the sense of community "ownership" and pride in the systems is high. Plenty Canada's procedure is to ensure that a fund is set aside for maintenance when the system is constructed, and community members are trained in maintenance procedures. Due to these measures, the VWS component is expected to be quite sustainable.

The small-scale gravity-fed irrigation systems are relatively simple, and after the initial construction phase the individual irrigator is normally able to do his own repairs. The fact that most of the systems are individually owned and operated means that group organizational problems are eliminated in most cases. However, problems with their sustainability are anticipated in case of market failures either for products and inputs (e.g. spare parts) or both. Sustainability would also by jeopardised if conflicts over water use arise with expansion of this activity.

Aside from irrigation, most of LISP's agricultural components have very doubtful sustainability. The soil conservation component has not even started mostly due to lack of interest on the part of beneficiaries. Similarly, the so-called Low Input Farm Technology package for rainfed agriculture is in trouble due to the fact that it is not viewed by poor farmers as being "low input" and because the package is of doubtful viability in Quthing's uncertain agro-climate. If the adaptive research component can be strengthened as recommended, the sustainability of the technology for rainfed agriculture can be improved.

Participation. The project has not succeeded in initiating a beneficiary empowerment process. Comments by beneficiaries at evaluation workshops held to date have sometimes been critical of staff attitudes and accessibility. The results experienced by the project in the implementation of project components are an indication that these activities did not correspond to a felt need of the communities, were designed from the top, and that the procedure followed in their implementation was different from that of Plenty Canada and its affiliates. It is clear that the project and Plenty Canada have followed different approaches to group formation and participation.

Main issues and recommendations

To improve project design and implementation.

a) Reactivate the PCC and strengthen through expansion of membership to include the representatives of project beneficiaries and the participating NGO.

b) The procedure for year to year budgeting of project funds is poorly organized. Managers of the various project units do not have complete access to information on how much their units will have to spend each year. Complete annual budget information be made available to all project leaders and SMS so that they can do a better job of planning and utilizing available resources.

c) Resume the practice of holding beneficiary evaluation workshops at regular intervals.

d) Identify specific training needs better and reorient training programme accordingly.

To promote appropriate technology packages.

a) Efforts to extend the low input crop package should be confined to those areas where it has the greatest possibility of success i.e. mainly the higher rainfall zones within the district, with low probability of crop failure.

b) Develop a stronger base of technical support for the small-scale vegetable and fruit production because of their potential profitability.

c) Review the entire research and extension programme in order to identify what portions of this programme can realistically be implemented during the project's remaining life.

d) The soil conservation programme has not been implemented, in part, because the project did not contemplate any remuneration of farmers for their participation in the programme; whereas programmes assisted by other donors do. For farmers to participate they should perceive benefits either in direct payment or in the satisfaction of an essential community felt need, such as village woodlots.

To develop surface irrigation.

a) Rely more on simple micro projects design of gravity irrigation from running water springs.

b) Revise the project's irrigation targets downward, to be commensurate with the programme that is in operation.

c) Investigate the water rights and associated customary law before any larger irrigation effort is funded or promoted in Lesotho.

To support beneficiaries participation.

a) Ensure the representation of beneficiaries, their organizations, the NGO in all levels of decision making and enhance the decision-making capacity of beneficiaries through involvement, and training.

b) Examine the projects' group promotion procedures applied by the participating NGO in the VWS component, with the objective of improving the GP process.

c) Motivate the project staff responsible for group formation and train them adequately.

To streamline credit operations.

a) The project and LADB should reconsider their relative roles and responsibilities; and should re-negotiate a new mechanism for the identification of the beneficiaries, the appraisal and the approval of the loans.

b) Undertake measures to improve the recovery rates and enhance the viability of the credit institution.

c) Review policy related to the extension of credit for starting up micro-enterprises in marginal, high risk areas and identify the necessary conditions that must be satisfied before credit is delivered for that purpose.

Lessons learned

Technically complex rural development projects require technical assistance support.

The developmental components of LISP involve such a wide range of technical areas that it would have been virtually impossible to provide adequate technical support for each of them from the project staff while support from other agencies staff has been also inadequate. Management has repeatedly failed to obtain support in the areas of rainfed crop production, farm demonstrations, adaptive research, and irrigation farming. Numerous liaisons with technical departments produced no lasting relationship. Surprisingly, there was very little provision in the SAR for outside Technical Assistance (TA). Nevertheless, given the limited amount of technical support that was available to the project locally, there has been far greater reliance on TA than originally planned.

Community organization and group formation, a specialized job which requires expertise, motivation, dedication and time.

a) Project activities for which group formation and promotion of beneficiaries participation were under a specialized, experienced NGO, positive results were obtained (e.g. VWS). In contrast project activities of this nature entrusted to non-trained extension personnel or other hastely assembled units did not perform well.

b) Participatory approaches need longer periods for implementation, particularly in the design and execution of micro enterprises/projects. This is an added reason to increase the period for project implementation.

Technology adoption by risk-averse, smallfarmers is subject to certain pre-requisites.

Technology adoption by risk-averse, smallfarmers is constrained by a multiplicity of factors. It has not been enough to prescribe a low-input package. How much is low? To which crop or farming system? And to whom? In essence specificity has to be fine-tuned. Land tenure, hired and household labour, credit availability and access, prices and factor and product markets as well as social acceptability are factors to be carefully studied and integrated into the package.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Gikongoro Agricultural Development Project (1993)

Rwanda  
November 1993

Mid-term evaluation

Rwanda has one of the highest population densities in the world (280/km2 ) and a very high annual population growth rate (3.3%), the result is that land access is becoming increasingly more difficult, and farms are shrinking in size all the time. During 1965-1989 agricultural production kept pace with population growth, mainly by increasing cropped acreages, while yields stagnated, but this trend was reversed in 1990, when the country had a food deficit, aggravated by civil war. The project zone is in the Gikongoro Prefecture and comprises 7 of the 13 municipalities in that Prefecture; Gikongoro, in the southwestern part of Rwanda, has a population of approximately 500,000 and is located mostly at elevations above 1,800 m. The Prefecture has quite a favourable rainfall pattern (1,600 mm per year divided into two rainy seasons), but some of the soils are acidic and the steep topography can lead to problems of erosion. At the higher elevations there are areas of severely degraded pasture, which is virtually sterile, whilst in the valley bottoms there are about 2,000 ha of swamps which require extensive reclamation before they can be farmed and are also of very low fertility. Food crops grown are plantain, sweet potatoes, cassava, sorghum, and maize - coffee is an important cash crop. Livestock is widely dispersed but makes only a small contribution to farm incomes.

Project design and objectives

Since 1976, UNDP has financed a series of projects in the Prefecture, which were concerned with reforestation and soil conservation, farmer training, and agricultural intensification, particularly for wheat and potatoes. The Gikongoro Agricultural Development Project (GADP) builds on the last in this series of projects: the Project for the Intensification of Agriculture (PIA).

Target group

Gikongoro is the poorest Prefecture in Rwanda; per capita farm incomes in 1988 were estimated at USD 85, which is less than one third of the national average. The target group of 42,000 farm families were classified as (i) farmers cultivating less than 0.5 ha, which accounted for approximately one quarter of the target group, (ii) farmers cultivating between 0.5-1.0 ha, which accounted for over 40 % of the target group, and (iii) farmers cultivating between 1.0-1.5 ha. Because of the very small holdings it was important to consider diversified on and off-farm activities to try and improve the incomes of the poorest group, which was also to be given priority in the allocation of new land developed. It was estimated that in about 60% of the target group, women were either heads of the household or the main farm operators.

Objectives and components

The objectives of GADP were to improve food security and raise small farmers' incomes on the one hand, and to strengthen the agricultural services in the Prefecture on the other. To achieve this, the project intended to introduce agricultural intensification, (food crops and above all cash crops such as wheat and potato), raise livestock production, develop soil conservation methods, and improve soil fertility. It also set out to strengthen the small farmers' groups and provide them with access to agricultural credit. Project components were (i) research and development, including monitoring and evaluation, (ii) vocational training, (iii) agricultural extension and support activities (seed production, agro-forestry plants and livestock production), (iv) agricultural credit, (v) upland development, (vi) valley bottom development, (vii) track rehabilitation and construction, (viii) construction of stores, and (ix) the promotion of micro-enterprises.

Total project base costs were estimated to be USD 24.2 mn, plus an additional amount of USD 7.0 for contingencies; these were allocated as follows:

Extension/training USD 5.2 (22%)
R and D, M&E USD 1.7 (7%)
Institutional Strengthening/Project Management USD 2.3 (9%)
Group Support/off-farm enterprises USD 3.6 (15%)
Land Reclamation USD 2.5 (10%)
Rural Infrastructure USD 2.0 (9%)
Marketing and Credit USD 6.9 (28%)

The project was to be financed by IFAD (36%), UNDP (10%), UNCDF (12%), the beneficiaries (25%) and the Government of Rwanda (17%). The UNDP element was to finance the TA, cooperative development and training activities, whilst UNCDF funded part of the civil works, storage structures, land reclamation etc. IFAD funds were to be used for development of the extension services, some storage and land reclamation costs, research and development and M&E.

To promote the marketing of products and inputs by means of small farmer groupings, the project contracted CFRC-IWACU (Centre de Formation et de Recherche Cooperatives IWACU) to train groups to become autonomous farmer cooperatives. The project's credit component was to be implemented through the small scale Banques Populaires (BPs), subsidiaries of the national Cooperative bank; to do this required extension of their coverage in the project area and also strengthening of the services offered. In fact the project defrayed 50 % of the BPs costs of operations for the first three years, and also provided an emergency fund to cover bad debts in this period. The detailed design of the credit provision was undertaken during implementation, in order to obtain a specific focus on the needs of the poorest members of the local communities. The project provided funds for the adaptation of technologies for food processing, wood crafts and blacksmithing that could create employment opportunities, and also offered training to entrepreneurs and traders for local enterprises such as transportation, storage, goods supply etc. Small ruminants were given special emphasis, in terms of the introduction of upgraded stock, as a means of providing income earning activities.

An adaptive research programme was devised which was intended to fully involve the farmers in selecting the activities to be undertaken. The programme was to be carried out by the Agricultural Research Institute of Rwanda (ISAR), and would be monitored by a joint Adaptive Research and Monitoring and Evaluation Unit. This programme would pay particular attention to the problems of soil erosion, conservation and soil fertility. In addition the programme would extend to examining land use issues such as tenure patterns, reclamation and costs and returns from conservation activities. A trials and demonstration programme on farmers fields would also be established, linked to the extension services. To ensure that high quality seeds were available to farmers, the project would promote the establishment of privately run nurseries, especially for wheat and potatoes.

The project supported a new extension system at Prefecture level for the seven communes in the project area, based on a modified T & V system using groups. Women's concerns were given high priority in this system, and two-thirds of the extension agents were women. Under this heading the main financial outlays were for training, transport and field allowances. Land reclamation of the uplands or poorly drained lowland swamps was beyond the capacity of individuals or groups and required well designed and extensive schemes; the project proposed to finance a selection of such schemes in order to increase the available productive land. These developments would also involve large inputs of beneficiary labour in the construction of drains and other earthworks. The rural infrastructure programme would finance the construction of access roads to communes which had no vehicular access, plus rehabilitate other selected roads to aid access and marketing.

Expected effects and assumptions

The project was expected to result in increases in smallholder incomes of more than 50%, and improvements in the family nutritional status. In addition surplus crops, meat and milk would be made available for consumption locally. The very poorest would also be eligible to receive parcels of reclaimed land as it became available; this was especially expected to be of benefit to women. Unquantified benefits included improved conservation (hence increased environmental protection) and employment generation, better extension and stronger farmers organisations. Assumptions made in the project design included (i) the comparative advantage of the Gikongoro region for wheat and potato production, (ii) the ability of the farmers to undertake their own marketing in a relatively short time, given basic guidance, (iii) the assumption that the adaptive research activities could rapidly provide extension messages for the new extension service, and (iv) that the Banques Populaires were prepared to become involved in the provision of a large number of small loans, and provide advisory services to their clients.

Evaluation

The MTE mission met with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Forests (MINAGRI- the implementing agency), project staff, the local authorities, and other agencies implementing different aspects of the project, farmers and others helped by the project. Various visits were made to the project area and initial findings were discussed with the Minister of Agriculture in Kigali.

Implementation context

From the beginning the project benefited from the inheritance of the UNDP projects which had immediately preceded it, especially PIA, which was concerned with the intensification of agricultural production, and from which GADP inherited vehicles, equipment and a functioning organisation. The TA has been of a high standard and has made a positive contribution to project implementation. The most negative factor, from October 1990, has been the war in the northern part of the project area; this period was marked by difficulties in communication and travel. In addition promotion of the production systems have been affected by the three changes in MINAGRI which took place, which made long term planning impossible. In the Gikongoro region the introduction of seed potato infected with bacteriosis in 1991-92 resulted in a severe loss of confidence by the farmers.

Project achievements

Several positive results must be credited to the project, and in particular: (i) the strengthening of the agricultural services in the Gikongoro Prefecture; (ii) the sound incorporation of the project into the new administrative structures of MINAGRI at prefecture level; (iii) the assistance to set up effective training entities in the Prefecture, such as IWACU and INADES/; (iv) the sensitisation of the farmers through the group training schemes carried out by IWACU, which holds out great hopes for sustainable development; (v) the large number of farmers who have been trained to manage the cooperative groups and the numerous project agents trained; (vi) the improved familiarity with the project zone, through surveys and enquiries carried out by the M&E Unit team; (vii) the research on the impoverishment of the farmers in the project zone and the means of curbing or preventing it; (viii) the dissemination of the runner bean, which is more productive and resilient than the dwarf bean, and (ix) the establishment of an input distribution and storage facilities network, even though these functions were still dependent on the presence of the project.

The MTE found that the GADP was too complex a project to be implemented with facilities and resources planned for it, with multiple components and important parts to be sub-contracted that require guidance and direction (and for which the necessary skills -in the case of the roads component- either do not exist, or are of limited local interest -the case of the micro-enterprises component). One major problem has been the lack of coordination between the various services and with the sub-contractors. The failure to appoint the Deputy Project Manager and set up the Promotional Office (which was responsible in the project design for coordination) contributed to this state of affairs. The financial management of the project is less chaotic than it was during the first three years thanks to the new accountant who has made it possible to carry out an external audit, but the performance is still far from satisfactory.

Production of food crops has varied enormously, for example soya has achieved 95% of the target set at appraisal, whilst sorghum has achieved 526%. The acreages under sweet potatoes, a food security crop par excellence, have almost doubled since 1989 substantially improving nutrition and the cultivation of runner beans, which was not even mentioned as a possibility in the appraisal report, has given spectacular results.

The M&E unit has only partly played its role, spending too much energy monitoring the project's management indicators. In particular, it has failed to help the R&D team to identify the small farmers' main constraints, monitor the impact of the responses and draw up a plan of action. Little attention has been given to targeting the actions undertaken. The small farms and the women have remained unaffected.

The R&D Unit has not played the role assigned to it, which is to understand the way the farms operate, define the development strategy and to provide extension input on relevant themes. Techniques are rarely monitored and checked, and they have not been adequately translated into themes for extension. Field work has mainly consisted of tests and trials in a controlled environment and only secondarily in the rural environment. Few of the proposed innovations are rational alternatives for the farmers because of the constraints under which they labour. The intervention envisaged in the project design was based on a farming systems approach, but this has not been put in place. The constraints on the farms have not been analysed, or prioritised and no solutions have been proposed.

The GADP has used high calibre subcontractors and useful results have been forthcoming, particularly with regard to vocational training and supporting the small farmers' groups. Since mid-1992 the vocational training service has been linked to the R&D-training division, probably to facilitate the dissemination of technical themes. However, training has different objectives, which are hampered by this institutional framework. The project has not been given the facilities needed to guide or direct these sub-contractors, and to ensure that their strategy is best aligned to the project strategy.

The production and marketing of wheat, potato and runner bean seed by individual farmers and groups has declined overall because these activities are not profitable, potato seed has been contaminated by bacteriosis, and the markets were found to be too small. However, many small farmers said that the inadequacy of high quality seed was a major problem. GADP has also failed in its attempt to privatise the nurseries, apparently because the potential markets were far smaller than forecast, and the prices proposed by the project were not remunerative.

The mission noted that the Banques Populaires (BPs) have scant interest in socio-economic development in the rural areas, with the result that the volume of loans has been very small. As far as the IFAD loan is concerned, GADP has already paid the BPs about 20 times more under the guarantee scheme, than the losses recorded by BP due to delinquencies. In addition, the investments likely to benefit from loans are at risk (the difficulty of selling the wheat produced, and the bacteriosis of the potatoes), the conditions for invoking the guarantee funds are not always described and many individuals and groups are no longer eligible because they have failed to repay their debts contracted with the aid of previous projects. Very little effort has been made with regard to awareness- building and there has been little contact between the BPs and GADP. Loans only cover inputs, whereas the small farmers have other priority needs (particularly small livestock.

The plan to reclaim upper pasture land to develop 380 ha in 7 years was fully justified considering the shortage of land, but it has been a failure (wastage of inputs, embezzlement of subsidies, risks regarding soil conservation). The land was abandoned as soon as the project stopped providing the inputs, because the farmers could not afford lime and fertilisers, and without these inputs the land was non-productive. In 1992 the programme was halted and replaced by a root-terracing construction programme over 60 ha. The mission found that the techniques had not been fully mastered, the development had negative repercussions on soil conservation, and the scheme was targeted at the wealthy. The reclamation of areas at the bottom of the valleys for development have been reduced from 450 ha to 160 ha, because the project encountered a range of different problems, the most important being tenurial (redistributing the lands to the benefit of the poorest people) and organisational (the beneficiaries were reluctant to take part in maintaining the facilities).

The roads component has been considerably delayed mainly because of late deliveries of materials, and only 12% of the component has been completed. There have also been budgetary over-runs. It is expected that the roads would be completed by the end of 1995 (at the rate of 40 km/year). Maintenance is a major problem for the roads and tracks; a protocol with the municipalities that will gradually take over maintenance from GADP only comes into force once a first section has been delivered, meanwhile the tracks are rapidly deteriorating. The storage facilities construction programme (26 stores) was scheduled in expectation of increased production of cash-crops (potatoes and wheat), but as this has not happened the programme now seems to be over-sized. The problem is to find uses and users for these stores in order to ensure a return on the investment. The micro-enterprises component is working satisfactorily, in that the micro-enterprises being supported are profitable.

Effects assessment and sustainability

GADP has had a limited impact on agricultural development, and even less than its predecessor, PIA. Input consumption is still very low and few technical themes have been proposed that are within the reach of the small farmers. Production of the two cash crops supported by the project has not risen as forecast in the appraisal report: potato production has been seriously affected by bacteriosis, and failure to remedy it has led to a slump in yields, while wheat output is stagnating well below its potential levels and is likely to be affected by the withdrawal of subsidies by the project, which until now have covered the transport costs of inputs and products. Although beans and sweet potatoes should give an improvement in the nutritional value of the family diet, and production of both these items has increased, the extent to which this has reached the most vulnerable very small farmers was extremely limited, because of failings in the extension activities. It is probable therefore that neither food security nor nutritional levels have yet improved significantly, and this should be one of the major aims in the time remaining to the project.

Given the limited period of implementation, the MTE did not consider that there would have been any effects on income levels. The impact on women did not appear significant - other than the stablishment of a quota of 30% recruitment for extension workers. Overall, the project actions were estimated to have been neither positive nor negative for the environment, which was surprising given the fragile nature of the environment and the pressure to incorporate some conservation activities in the project.

The mission considers that the R&D Unit cannot achieve the set objectives before project termination, because it has only now begun to diagnose the constraints and suggest solutions for the production systems under the responsibility of the M&D unit.

So far from the micro-enterprises component have failed to offer any solutions to the problem of under-employment, because only a few cases are being financed (38) and few jobs are being created by each enterprise (2.5). In addition, the project has found that the identification and training costs are high and that success is dependent on high quality inputs at all stages (i.e. proposal, appraisal, monitoring, etc).  One indispensable condition for success appears to be regular monitoring, support and training but the beneficiaries are generally people who are already more privileged than most people in the local area.

Extension work has had a very small impact measured in terms of the number of farmers involved and the rate at which the extended techniques are being adopted, and this has contributed to the stagnation or decline in cash crop production. The apparent causes of this weak impact are: (i) few new technical themes have been provided by the R&D Unit; (ii) the field agents disseminate these themes uniformly, without taking account of the farm features need specific responses; and (iii) the themes being disseminated do not match the small farmers' priorities and are outside their reach. Small farms and farms headed by women have practically been bypassed in terms of extension work. For the small farms, the R&D Unit has been unable to advance any proposals for maintaining fertility using methods which need costly inputs which the farmers cannot afford. The mission noted a reduction in the use of erosion control techniques, probably because the local supervisors have failed to motivate the small farmers to continue applying the techniques that were formerly mandatory (e.g. erosion prevention ditches).

Main issues and recommendations

The following major recommendation were made by the MTE mission:

  • IFAD should do everything possible to ensure the financing of the technical assistance and vocational training components which the mission believes to be indispensable, until the end of the project.
  • So far, coordination between the various services and between the sub-contractors has been very inadequate. It is essential for the project to be reoriented to guarantee maximum synergies between the services and the components.
  • The project discovered the need for a participatory approach somewhat late in the day, and then through the intervention of an NGO (IWACU, to support the groups), or through technical assistance and the United Nations volunteers in the case of rural tracks and valley bottom reclamation. It is important for this form of cooperation to be given financial support until the end of the project to reinforce the message of participation.
  • The following must be done rapidly for the administration and financial monitoring of the project: (i) the accounting system must be fully computerised; (ii) the accounting service personnel must be trained by the technical assistant acting as chief accountant; (iii) the accounts for salary advances and loans for the purchase of motorcycles must be audited; (iv) the stocks must be restored and management procedures revised; and (v) punishments must be meted out for embezzlement.
  • Priority must be given to completing the survey of farm production systems. While awaiting this, R&D must be partly modified by redirecting efforts to focus on the major constraints encountered by the small farmers.
  • The mission deems it necessary to review the R&D programme and recommends the following:
  • the R&D unit should cooperate with the M&E Unit to programme activities;
  • a participatory approach should be adopted to select priorities and to design extension messages;
  • the target groups should be redefined and technical proposals made which meet the needs of small farms less than 0.50 ha in total size, and of the women;
  • the most promising innovations must be selected for these very small farms by giving priority to increasing organic matter and combating erosion;
  • the innovations proposed must enable the small farmers to gradually change their production systems;
  • The project should give priority to enabling small livestock farmers, who have been left to one side so far, to keep or increase their herds. The small livestock farmers should be organised and grouped together in order to obtain mass preventive treatment, such as vaccinations, from the veterinary officers.
  • The mission recommends that IFAD suspend all further activities and all commitments with the BPs, and send a mission to Rwanda as soon as possible to review and redefine the agricultural credit programme.
  • The MTE mission agrees fully with the cooperating institution that the upland pasture component, which has proven a failure, should be terminated. A report should be filed so that an in-depth evaluation can be carried out at the end of the project and the results obtained should be exploited and the causes of failure identified.
  • The valley bottom development programme should (i) keep the water management expert responsible for this component until the end of the project; (ii) pursue and broaden cooperation with INADES for the organisation and the training of the assignees of the marshlands and strengthen cooperation between the teams of women leaders and technicians; (iii) make provision for IWACU to support the marshlands committees and groups of farmers in order to consolidate their organisation and operations, and to maintain the water management facilities.
  • The mission agrees with the cooperating institution and the mid-term review mission that the subsidies on wheat should stop in 1994. The subsidies were justified as a transitional measure while waiting for infrastructure scheduled for the short term. At the present time these subsidies can no longer be justified because the infrastructure has not been implemented.

Lessons learned

GADP has turned out to be too complex a project, making it very difficult to implement and coordinate, due to the number of components, the number of sub-contractors involved, and the number of financiers. Several components have no direct relationship to agricultural development in the Prefecture and could have been designed separately (for example micro-enterprises). IFAD should avoid designing such complex projects and should not add any components that have no significant or direct impact on the project objectives.

The parties involved in GADP tend to consider sub-contracted work to be of no direct concern to them, and the project has failed to take any measures to closely monitor the sub-contractors. Sub-contracting is a sound way of limiting the activities directly being implemented by the project, but it also requires very close monitoring in order to ensure that the activities fit in with the project strategy.

From the project design phase onwards it is essential to make provisions for the maintenance of roads as soon as they are completed. New or rehabilitated tracks rapidly deteriorate if the maintenance is not carried out from the moment they come into service.

The main lessons from the micro-enterprise activities were: (i) it proved costly to identify, train and monitor the promoters, as this required a large team of well-trained personnel; (ii) the beneficiaries were generally people who are already more privileged than the IFAD target group, and (iii) the impact on employment was limited and possibly only significant in the long term.

The BPs are very sound institutions for collecting rural savings but they were not interested in contributing to (and playing an active part in) rural development. The BPs seemed appropriate vehicles for credit to the project designers, but weren't, and this hindered project benefits going to the poorest. In future such an assumption should be tested in a pilot phase.

The work being carried out by IWACU in vocational training is very important and is beginning to show results. Since the work is a long-term development process, it was unrealistic to expect quick results and to design an activity with such a limited timeframe. Little attention has been given to targeting the actions undertaken. The small farms and the women have remained unaffected. Vocational training must be planned as a long term activity.

 

 

LANGUAGES: English

Punakha Wangdi Valley Development Project (1993)

Bhutan  
September 1993

Mid-term evaluation report summary

The project area is in the Inner Himalayan region in west-central Bhutan, with peaks ranging from 3 000 to 5 000 meters and includes many densely populated valleys. The area comprises mainly hilly land at elevations of 1 200/1 800 meters. It is connected by a 70 km all-weather tarmac road to Thimphu, which forms part of the main east-west highway of the country. It enjoys cool dry winters and wet warm summers, with rainfall averaging 600/800 mm, concentrated mainly in the summer (monsoon) months.

The soils are generally of good quality and the area under cropped agriculture is around 5 000 ha, of which irrigated terraces comprise 81%, and rainfed non-terraced cultivation 13%, with a further 3% under shifting cultivation, 1.5% under kitchen gardens and 1.3% in orchards. Pasture/grazing land is not included in the agricultural area estimates. The area under improved pasture is negligible. Almost 518 of the irrigated land is planted to paddy in the main summer cropping season and about 50% of this area is cropped with a winter crop of wheat, barley, mustard or other crops. The overall cropping intensity was about 150% at project commencement.

Project design and objectives

Target group

The target group originally was estimated to be 3 500 farm families, comprising 20 000 people. Later, with better data on average household size, the number of households was reduced to 3 200.

Although the original intention of the project was to include all households in the targeted "gewogs" (excluding the urban areas), project support was extended only to the households at elevations below 1 800 meters (except for the credit component).

The farmers in the project area operate, on average, holdings of 1.5 ha. About 75% of this area is irrigated, mainly paddy planted. Most farmers are small owner operators, but many of them (about 60%) are also part-tenants, renting some land to augment their holdings.

Small farmers represent 14% of households and operate 6% of total cultivated land. Smaller farmers are land poor but labour rich; they cultivate intensively and use their resources more efficiently than larger farmers.

Objectives and components

The main objectives of the project were to increase food-grain production, increase smallholder incomes and to strengthen agricultural institutions.

The project components were: (i) irrigation development, soil erosion control and rural infrastructure development; (ii) agricultural extension, adaptive research and training; (iii) animal husbandry and agroforestry; (iv) training; (v) rural credit; (vi) marketing; (vii) monitoring and evaluation; and (vii) Project Management Unit.

Expected effects and assumptions

The expected effects of the project were to: (i) improve agricultural production in the irrigated areas and crop production from the permanently cropped rainfed areas; (ii) increase productivity in the livestock sub-sector; (iii) strengthen supporting service institutions for the country as a whole and in the project area in particular; and (iv) protect the agricultural and natural environment through pilot activities in erosion control and village forestry.

The project objectives and expected output and effects are premised on the following assumptions: (i) an increase in rice production on irrigated land is economical, and/or in the best interests of the country. It is the most effective way of increasing food security and incomes of the farmers in the project area; (ii) the technologies disseminated by the project will be relevant to the farmers in terms of their preferences, needs, and resource capabilities, and will be adopted by them (including small farmers and tenants); (iii) the planned intensification/expansion of crop and livestock production will not adversely affect the land and environment; or if so the project's agroforestry and erosion control components can effectively counteract any such negative effects.

Evaluation

The MTE Mission was in Bhutan from April 9 to April 30 1993. It visited Thimphu and project sites. The report was written in Rome. In preparation for the evaluation, IFAD (OE/PI) had designed and funded a Rapid Diagnostic Survey that was conducted by the Planning and Policy Division (PPD) of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) in 1991.

Implementation context and evolution

The free trade policy and import of cheaper grains from India has affected negatively incentives for greater food production. On the other hand, this policy has allowed for cheaper imported agricultural inputs. The new emphasis on commodities in which the country has a comparative advantage (such as horticultural products) has introduced greater profitability into agriculture. The recent devaluation of the Ngultrum has contributed to a dramatic increase in agricultural exports over the last three years.

The objectives of improving institutions and supporting services are being satisfactorily achieved. The project has continued the role of its predecessor as path-finder and model for the design and development of institutions and services across Bhutan.

Project achievements

The project has succeeded in raising crop production and productivity on irrigated and rainfed lands through increases in yields and improved utilization of wetlands.

There has been an increase in paddy production, with area and yield increases well above the Staff Appraisal Report (SAR) estimates, achieved with traditional and improved varieties.

The project is beginning to move into technology mixes which are less costly, less dependent on imports and more sustainable (involving the greater use of traditional varieties, greater use of farmyard manure (FYM), green manure, etc.).

The project has completed ten schemes covering a total of 48 km of channels (of which three are new schemes), while a further 21 schemes are undergoing construction or rehabilitation.

The project has disbursed a total of Nu 6.76 million (USD 328 509) in rural credit. Since recoveries amounted to Nu 3.55 million, total net lending amounted to Nu 3.02 million (USD 151 077). Whereas the SAR had estimated that 40% of the lending would be for seasonal purposes and 60% for medium-term loans, the latter have absorbed 70% of all lending up to the end of 1991.

Effects, impact and sustainability

The project has improved food security and has also contributed to an increase in small farm incomes. In regard to livestock, the base has been laid for increasing productivity, through necessary infrastructure, veterinary and breeding services. The pilot activities in erosion control, agro- and social-forestry, should contribute (through appropriate methodology and technology) to environmental protection in Bhutan. The project is making a very positive contribution to agricultural development in Bhutan.

The irrigation technology, after initial testing, has been rapidly adopted. Water flow has improved and farmers' labour in maintaining channels has been substantially reduced.

About 90% of farmers have adopted the recommended practices for the paddy wheat rotation. There is little or no difference in adoption between men and women. The adoption rates for fodder development and fodder trees exceed 90%. For the other livestock-related activities, there is no single case where the proportion of adopters was less than 50%.

Farmers have adopted paddy double cropping (recommended and subsidized by the project) only to a limited extension. The number of farmers adopting the double paddy rotation has declined slightly, while the area planted has continued to increase. The latter is only 0.42 acres for the larger farmers and 0.28 acres for the small farmers, covering about 11%-16% of the total paddy areas. Most farmers plant only a few terraces of their wetland with double cropped paddy, while they use the rest of their farms for the traditional paddy-wheat combination supplemented by vegetables for cash.

Services such as extension and credit have reached women almost to the same extent as men. However, women bear a disproportionately larger share of the added labour burden of the project's intensification. Expansion of production has fallen mainly on the crops with which women are most engaged.

The subsistence orientation is gradually disappearing in the project area. Project activities and overall growth in Bhutan have made the peasant dominated sector more active, and enhanced monetization and market orientation.

The project intends to establish a pipe spinning plant in the area to produce necessary concrete pipes. Given the mountainous terrain and scarce sand and labour for timely channel construction/repair, this appears a justified use of scarce capital so as to ensure the sustainability of the technology introduced.

The sustainability of the trend towards a more equitable income distribution, in part, has been compromised because of the subsidy on power tillers. The greatest part of medium-term loans went for the purchase of power tillers, whose private and social profitability are doubtful, yet power tillers are subsidized at a rate of about 50%. This equipment in part is used for the purpose of transportation. But when used for tillage, it represents land augmenting technology and reduces the demand for labour, and work oxen teams, hired from smaller farmers.

On the other hand, there is a shift in the project towards greater sustainability, towards what can be realistically continued by the farmers without subsidies and support after project completion. For example, there is a greater stress on lower input systems, more emphasis on the use of farmyard manure/compost, introduction of multi-purpose green manure crops, the direct seeding of the first paddy crop (instead of using expensive plastic sheeting to cover seedlings), and generally a move towards a closer integration of crops and livestock and agroforestry, although there is much more to be done.

Effectiveness of the M&E system

Physical and financial progress under the project is monitored reasonably well, although, there is a need for beneficiary contact monitoring to provide an assessment of needs and constraints on a periodic basis. It is recommended that group or village level meetings/questionnaires be used for this purpose.

It is also necessary to emphasize the importance of special studies and diagnostic studies of particular problems as an aid to project planning and implementation as well as evaluation.

Main issues

In the rural credit activities there has been an impressive increase in lending between 1989 and 1991, but benefits to small farmers have been less than expected. The low uptake of seasonal credit is due to factors involving both demand and supply. Supply is limited because of long delays and difficulties in obtaining loans. Demand is limited because of feared inability to repay and insufficient collateral.

Far too liberal credit approval by the project (Bhutan Development Finance Corporation -BDFC), coupled with the large subsidy (see above), has permitted a rapid expansion of medium-term credit for power tillers. The most serious issue relating to credit is associated with this unwarranted and damaging increase in the number of power tillers (even though the subsidy is outside the project's domain). The SAR provided for four such tillers, but by April 1992 not less than 71 units had been provided. The power tiller issue touches on the very foundation for sustaining equity-oriented growth in the project area. Large farmers are the main purchasers and their purchase becomes profitable because of the subsidy. Until recently, tillers were financed at an interest rate of 10%, less than half the market interest rate, and less even than the rate of inflation (estimated at 12% per year). The promotion of labour-saving technology through mechanized plowing by power tillers impairs the project's equity orientation.

With prospects of declining labour productivity in cropping, farmers strive to expand their cattle population. With limited grazing areas, the biomass is not sustained. Yields and/or cropping intensity cannot be sustained in the longer run. Ultimately, the supply of Farmyard Manure (FYM) is falling. Maintaining soil fertility, and labour productivity, requires enough fodder and grazing resources to enable higher FYM application intensity.

Despite project vehicle provision, the mobility of extension workers has been impaired by unforseen scarcity of funds for fuel, staff travelling expenses and procurement of spare parts.

Recommendations

The tenancy situation must be reconsidered when selecting water channels for rehabilitation in order to avoid delayed implementation. In sites where tenancy rights are uncertain, where tenants are subjected to additional payments not permitted by the Land Act, voluntary labour contributions are not forthcoming for channel rehabilitation. Implementation is delayed and disputes need early arbitration. Other channels, not affected by unequal ownership patterns and/or disputes, should be given chronological priority. The project, as a matter of priority, needs to develop criteria for selecting irrigation channels for rehabilitation not subject to disputes and consequent delay.

It is time to see the double paddy rotation programme in a broader perspective. Firstly, its net financial returns are not necessarily higher than those of the traditional wheat-paddy rotation. The best strategy for extension workers is to encourage small farmers less towards more paddy cultivation (through double cropping), and more towards higher value production by exploiting market opportunities.

While the animal husbandry breeding programme is going well, it is necessary to articulate a strategy for reaching more farmers. Improved, locally adapted crosses should be developed (possibly 50% Jersey, 25% Mithun and 25% Siri) over a broader base of farmers. The breeding programme should be encouraged by incentives such as the concentration of veterinary and extension services in areas of relatively intensive dairy production, while preference in further incentives and credit be given to farmers prepared to adopt complementary measures in pasture improvement and reduction of unproductive animals.

Agricultural research must focus on innovations which fit farmers' resource availability; models of low input use need to be explored.

Technologies economizing on scarce labour during peak demand and providing opportunities at other times are appropriate.

Research should be targeted to seek a stabilized and improved supply of FYM and improved use of green manure. Efforts should also increase for research on low input (mineral fertilizer) use and on how to adapt dosages to farmers' cash constraints.

Women need to be specifically targeted for possible labour saving technology respecting their typical activities (e.g. seed selection, weeding, transplanting and FYM collection). Although one new female extension worker has been recruited (more should be recruited) this is no panacea for more effectively reaching women farmers. Male extension workers should be given more training in diagnosis and be re-trained also to assist women farmers and explore possible points of impact regarding the operations they perform. The possibility of using female farmer extension assistants at village level should also be explored.

A more affirmative and more comprehensive approach is required to safeguard the environment under the pressures of increasing human and animal populations, and project-induced agricultural intensification. Firstly, conservation efforts should deal not only with ad hoc cases by gully plugging, but also with the different types of erosion on given representative land use patterns including communal grazing lands. On lands that are not individually owned, group formation and training, as well as tenurial incentives (to encourage tree planting) and subsidies, become necessary.

Small farmers have benefitted from project-induced intensification, but with soil infertility and/or FYM constraints and reduced labour demand from larger farmers (the power tiller issue), their prospects are no longer bright. To counter these negative trends, it is necessary to focus more particularly on the smaller farmers, respecting their technological and institutional needs. They need to be specially targeted for shifting to higher value crops/products. This requires a re-channelling of extension and credit for these activities, so as to bring relevant technology within their reach.

Improved methodologies are required in research and in extension for identifying points of impact so as to support farmers in their efforts to intensify crop and animal husbandry practices. This need translates into use of (i) participatory methods in setting research and extension priorities, and in the design and verification of trials; and (ii) further economic analysis to understand farmers' decision making and to improve the allocation of scarce project resources.

The Government and the project should review the rationale of the double paddy programme. Adoption of double paddy cropping becomes less attractive once subsidies are eliminated on inputs.

Output prices will be kept low for the foreseeable future because of cheap imported Indian grain. Especially for the small farmers, the primary aim of the project should be to maximize their income and food security.

There is a case where modest subsidies promote soil conservation measures. There is little reason to expect small farmers, even in a group context, to undertake major soil conservation measures using credit. Subsidies should be targeted at smaller farmers.

Livestock productivity needs to be considered more carefully in project planning and implementation. The genetic quality of the herds has been upgraded through the provision of stud bulls and Artificial Insemination (AI) services.

Farmers in general, and particularly small farmers, need to be involved in planting fodder trees on their drylands and on leased forest lands. They need planting material, credit and extension advice.

The possibility of using radio as an instrument of extension for reaching farmers in more remote villages should be explored in order to improve outreach and improve cost-effectiveness. The experience elsewhere with radio listening groups, using a village appointed group leader (monitor) is worth emulating.

The BDFC needs to be more flexible in its credit appraisal, relying more on expected productivity of investment and less on individual collateral.

In terms of credit programme sustainability the high costs of credit delivery to a great number of scattered small farmers must be covered. Interest rates need to exceed prevailing rates of inflation.

The project should explore the feasibility of improving the marketing site in Wangdi by providing space, simple roofing, water and sanitation. Women from distant villages selling vegetables would benefit.

Any future project in this area should consider not only roads, but also foot-bridges and rope-ways to help the people with their transport and marketing needs.

The M&E System must firstly monitor labour demand and supply, by land-poor and land-rich households, secondly the incidence of technology adoption by farm size, and thirdly the nature of tenancy contracts and their impact on productivity and equity.

Relatively simple PC-based software is available for the monitoring of credit delivery, loan administration and repayment performance.

Such software should be installed both in Punakha and Wangdi; the credit officers should receive necessary training from the Office for Project Services (OPS) bureau in Bangkok which is familiar with relevant software and training possibilities.

Lessons learned

Lessons on extension activities

In view of the Government's financial constraints and the need for relevant feedback, present diffusion models need review. The possibility of using farmers as lower level extension workers (after necessary training) should also be explored. The use of village level extension workers offers promise in terms of a cheaper, more effective channel to encourage farmers' experimentation, relevant feedback, and dissemination of extension messages in the remote villages. Such farmer-extension agents would not be directly paid by Government, but could be assisted in kind through free inputs, training, etc., and villagers could compensate them for foregone earnings (labour lost).

Lessons on nutrition and food security

With a more diversified production, food security has improved, and this is not exclusively related to paddy production. The percentage of small farmers with a rice-deficit is, of course, larger than that of larger farmers. But, while much has been made of the importance of the double paddy crop for the food security of small farmers, these farmers obtain the necessary purchasing power through selling other crops. Their food security is not necessarily related to their degree of rice self sufficiency. The argument that paddy double cropping is necessary for the small farmers' food security can be justified only if it provides the small farmers with the highest returns on land and labour over the entire year, which available data do not show convincingly. In fact, net financial returns from paddy double cropping are not necessarily higher than those of the traditional wheat-paddy rotation. The best strategy to use for small farmers is to steer them less towards more paddy cultivation (through double cropping) and more towards higher value production exploiting market opportunities.

Lessons on beneficiary incomes

In the light of the tight feed situation, continued acquisition of more cattle (even if improved) gradually becomes counter-productive.

Compensating measures are needed to increase feed while reducing useless cattle units.

Lessons on beneficiary participation

In sites where tenancy rights are uncertain, voluntary labour contributions are not forthcoming for channel rehabilitation. Tenants were found to be reluctant to participate/contribute to channel rehabilitation since their short-term tenures precluded reaping their longer-term benefits.

Implementation is delayed and disputes need early arbitration. Other channels that are not affected by unequal ownership patterns and/or disputes should be given chronological priority.

The introduction of new water users' groups has often resulted in conflict and lack of participation, as has happened in some other Asian countries. Hence, all modifications must be done in close consultation with the farmers. Meanwhile, project inputs can be used as an incentive when working with farmers to modify existing organizations and water distribution practices with a view to improving their efficiency and equity.

Lessons on environmental impact

Farmer participation is essential for the successful introduction of erosion control measures, because of sharing of potential costs/benefits and the long-term nature of possible benefits.

Experience in other countries has shown the need: (i) for farmers to be aware and appreciate the erosion and soil loss; (ii) for a menu of technologies and practices from which they can choose according to their needs; and (iii) of flexibility in tailoring activities to meet the different location-specific requirements.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Proyecto de Desarrollo Agropecuario Cotagaita-San Juan del Oro

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)  
April 1993

El proyecto se encuentra localizado en la parte sudoriental del departamento de Potosí e incluye zonas rurales de las provincias de Nor Chichas, Sud Chichas y Modesto Omiste. El área de intervención corresponde a las cuencas de los ríos Cotagaita y San Juan del Oro, con un área total de 20 000 km². La topografía presenta marcadas variaciones: profundos valles interandinos (2 700-3 200 m.s.n.m.) y llanos altoandinos con altitudes superiores a los 4 000 m.s.n.m. La población del área se estima en 129 000 personas, con densidades entre 5.3 y 9.1 hab/km².

A principios de 1980 el ingreso familiar anual del grupo objetivo del proyecto era de USD 520, del cual la mitad provenía de salarios estacionales percibidos fuera de la región. Se calculaba que el ingreso 'per cápita' era de USD 130 por año, inferior al nivel de ingreso de pobreza absoluta.

Date: 1993

Language: Spanish

Document: Executive summary

LANGUAGES: English