Cotagaita San Juan Del Oro Agricultural Development Project

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)  
April 1993

Interim evaluation

The aim of the Cotagaita San Juan del Oro Agricultural Development Project (PCSJO) is to increase the incomes and living standards of the rural population of the provinces of Nor Chichas, Sud Chichas and Modesto Omiste, in the Department of Potosí in Bolivia.

The target group comprises 10 400 peasant families engaged in agricultural activities.

The total cost of the project is USD 17.38 million, of which USD 12.0 million is financed by IFAD. The remainder is provided through contributions from the OPEC Fund (USD 3.0 million), World Food Programme (WFP) (USD 0.5 million) and through local funds (USD 1.88 million). The main executing agency is the Potosí Regional Development Corporation.

The main components of the project are credit, fruit nurseries, marketing, land rehabilitation, small agro-industries, roads, health and support services for agricultural production. The loan was signed in 1985, and the Bolivian Government formally began implementation in 1986. However, implementation was initially very slow due to the country's difficult economic situation. In September 1990, an operational reorientation of the project was approved, changing its structure and substantially improving its management.

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

Agricultural Development Project on the Mainland (1993)

  
April 1993

Interim evaluation

The project was designed to build institutions and provide the platform for future development. Overall, only modest production increases were expected given the pilot nature of the project. Accordingly, this evaluation does not measure impact in economic terms. Instead, it seeks to determine the degree to which the project has created a favorable setting for regional development, and whether it has provided the information required for a possible second project. The evaluation aims at drawing out "lessons learned", useful in design and implementation of future projects in Equatorial Guinea.

Evaluation methodology

Methodology for evaluation

Primary as well as secondary data sources were used. The mission conducted a Rapid Diagnostic Survey in 20 villages, selected at random from the Population Census list. In 13 of these villages, project activities had been or were conducted. A total of 60 interviews were conducted: 20 with groups and 40 with households. Data were collected inter alia on transport, farming systems, marketing and prices. Additional interviews were held with farmers, both men and women, government officials, and health and education services personnel in the project area. Other projects active in the area were visited.

A proper base line study at project inception was not undertaken. Reliable information is not available with which to measure quantitative changes in production and incomes over time. The ex-ante study (Estudio de Base) provides limited information and cannot be used for comparisons. Other information for the region is not available, except for a population census.

Expected benefits

The SAR defined the qualitative and quantitative benefits expected from the project. Qualitative benefits expected were: (i) improved staff capabilities in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, through project staff training; (ii) strengthened village organizations; and (iii) improved living conditions at village level, through provision of implements, clean drinking water and diversification of the local diet.

Quantitative benefits expected would consist mainly of increased coffee production, and associated foreign exchange earnings were estimated at US$ 425,000. Coffee yields were estimated to rise by 10% because of availability of inputs/tools, but cultivated area would not expand. The coffee rehabilitation and replanting program was expected to generate an internal rate of return of 15% to 20%, depending on the extent of quality improvement. Apart from coffee production, quantitative benefits of the project support could not be measured in strict economic/financial terms. But, it was believed that main components were economically justified.

Distribution of implements and tools would be judged in terms of farmers' adoption rates. Trial and demonstration benefits would far outweigh costs, particularly in the long term. Village water supply program would reduce time spent by women in fetching water; and incidence of water borne diseases would fall.

Project context

The country

The territory of Equatorial Guinea comprises five islands and the mainland, with 28 051 Kms2 and a population of 356 100. The capital Malabo is located on Bioko, the main island with 2 017 Kms2 and 75 420 inhabitants. The continental region has 26 000 Kms2 and 274 350 inhabitants. Climate is tropical with two rainy and two dry seasons per year and an average temperature of 25oC. Agriculture, forestry and fishing represent 70% of GNP; recently petroleum production was initiated. Agriculture is mainly of the semi-subsistence type, whereas cocoa and coffee produced for export are grown on medium size farms, the remnants of large plantations. The country previously was a large exporter of cocoa and coffee (60 000 tons of cocoa in 1969), but because of domestic political problems and falling world market prices production and exports stagnated.

At the time of project design in 1985, the economy was stagnating. Production capacity had been impaired, productivity had fallen and agricultural support services and physical infrastructure were no longer maintained. Food production was no longer meeting domestic demand. Living conditions had deteriorated. The government is now trying to bring back the economy to its levels in the sixties. Support services are improving. Small producers are marketing a larger surplus.

The region

The project region, located in the Northeastern corner of the continental part of the country, borders Cameroon to the north and Gabon to the east. The region comprises 3 321 Km2, or 12% of that of the entire country. Its population is 66 000, or 22% of total population. Average density is 20 persons/Km2, larger than the national density estimated at 11 persons/Km2.

The rural population represents 90% of the total and resides in about 150 villages with an average of 400 inhabitants. The region is the site for the third largest city in the country, Ebebiyin. The region comprises an estimated 6 000 agricultural production units.

The climate is tropical with 2 000 mm. average annual rainfall and a mean temperature of 24oC. The natural vegetation is rain forest. Soils have low fertility. The region, once active and prosperous, was stagnating at the time of project design and implementation.

Project design

Appropriateness of design

The SAR properly defined constraints and the regional development potential. The project was designed to explore regional comparative advantage in production and trade of other crops than coffee and cocoa.

Semi-subsistence production remains constrained by limited labor not land. The dominant production system is shifting agriculture, which reflects the abundance of unused agricultural land. Hence, the scope for permanent cultivation is limited without physical infrastructure and marketing facilities that induce an intensification over and above that being slowly provided through the population growth. If food based semi-subsistence agriculture were to fill the vacuum left by cocoa and coffee, it would require improved technology directed towards raising productivity of labor, the primary limiting factor in production.

Stated objectives and implicit assumptions

The SAR stated five objectives:

(a) Improving coffee production and as a result farm incomes;

(b) Increasing and diversifying production of food crops;

(c) Raising labor productivity, especially for women;

(d) Improving health conditions; and

(e) Institution building as a platform for future development programs.

Several assumptions are implicit in project design: with better technology agriculture would respond to market demand both domestic and that across borders; output would expand. Focus on alternative cash crops, higher productivity and earnings would increase men's participation in agriculture.

Project components

The SAR included seven components, and without coffee production the subsequent Plan of Operations (PLANOP) retained six (see Table 1). The PLANOP was an updated version of the SAR and intended to be complementary. It was not sufficiently detailed and elaborated upon. For instance, the opportunities for designing a structured approach to participation of beneficiaries were missed. The IFAD staff did not succeed in elaborating further in setting out the process and modalities for ensuring an improved participation. In turn, the project management with TA failed to correct the situation.

Strategy

The strategy was well designed, direct and simple: in the medium term, the project sought to introduce better cultivation practices and raise labor productivity of traditional crops. Support for coffee and cocoa production was intended to generate immediate production increases, which although limited, would provide working capital and time for shifting to alternative crops. The basic steps were set out for raising agricultural production, given the constraints in the region.

Project components were appropriate. The design reflected the weak institutional base and the limited government capacity to support the project. The project would be modest in scope and pilot in nature. It should initially rely on national institutions, focus on the village level, and utilize simple and proven technical solutions which responded to clearly understood needs. Its purpose was to establish a basis for future development, both in technical and institutional terms.

But the strategy had missing parts. Although basic assumptions were correct and logical, they were not elaborated upon. The rationale for selection of components was not transparent. This absence of clarity may explain why in practice crops different from those of the traditional plot came to be emphasized. The design also reflected technical rather than economic and social considerations. Implicitly, the design presupposed that the project - without feed back from participants and verification from farmers' fields under conditions of no subsidy - could successfully directly introduce production technology that would be readily adopted by women and men. The design did not set out to obtain data and feed back on returns to labor in alternative cropping activities, on traditional fallow systems as against crops on permanent fields. The drinking water component was the only component where an element of participation was included.

Number of beneficiaries

The project set out to implement components supporting production in 15 villages and involving 1 350 families (Table 2). But it should be noted that the well component covered not less than 34 villages.

Table 1. PADREM - Beneficiaries, 1987-1990


Activities
1987
1988
1989
1990
TOTAL
New Families No.
300
450
350
250
1350
Total Families No.
300
750
1100
1350
1350
Total Villages No.
3
9
13
15
15

Villages would be selected according to willingness to participate, number of inhabitants, and accessibility by road.

Project cost, disbursement and status

Implementation, starting in 1987, was to last four years, but because of delays, the project was extended to terminate in December 1993. The total loan represents USD 1 600 000, there is a grant of USD 800 000 and the government contributes 13% of the loan. The loan is for 50 years, at 1% annual service charge and a grace period of 10 years. Total disbursements per October 1992 were USD 1 482 000, the grant has been fully used, and the government has deposited USD 38 500 of its contribution. Unspent funds were USD 170 000. (Table 3).

Table 2. PADREM - Project Costs by Categories

October 30, 1992, - Thousand US $ -

Cat Distribution Budget Disbursed % Achievement
Ia Construction 175.2 176.3 100
Ib Drinking Water Program 99.8 68.3 68
II Vehicles 187.2 172.0 92
III Office, Housing 77.6 76.1 98
IV Agricultural Tools, inputs 249.2 300.8 121
V Technical Assistance 237.5 185.0 78
VI Operating Costs 463.5 502.0 108
VII Authorized Fund Advance 110.0 -- --
VIII With no assignation 260.0 1.3 --
  TOTAL LOAN 1 600 1 482 93
  GRANT Technical Assistance 800 800 100
  TOTAL LOAN PLUS GRANT 2 400 2 282 95
  NATIONAL CONTRIBUTION 208 156 75
  TOTAL LOAN+GRANT+NAT. 2 608 2 438 94

Source: Project Accounts

Project organization

The executing national agency is the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, The Project Implementation Unit is composed of a Director, initially under a technical assistant contract with BDPA-SCETAGRI and the government. In Malabo, there is a project co-director. The extension unit is composed of seven persons. The operation of two applied research stations, buildings, vehicles and other equipment is entirely funded by the project.

Project implementation

Project chronology

In May 1982, the Equatorial Guinea Government requested a loan to rehabilitate its agricultural sector. The identification mission visited the country in June, 1982. The formulation mission prepared a document in June 1983; the appraisal report was completed in August, 1984, and updated in January, 1985 after the county's entry into the FCFA monetary system. Loan negotiations took place in February, 1985, the financing contract was signed in April, 1985. The project became effective in December, 1985. The first project manager arrived in October, 1986. The PLANOP was prepared in June, 1987. UNVs, vehicles and equipment arrived at the end of first semester, 1988.

Stages in implementation

Three periods can be distinguished in project implementation:

In the first period (Sept. 1987 - Dec. 1988), the rehabilitation of project houses and office buildings was completed; the first group of vehicles and motorcycles was in operation. Marketing of cocoa was initiated. New food crops technology was introduced. Trials and limited village demonstrations of horticulture took place. Goat raising was introduced in enclosed areas. The latter set out to generate manure that could be bought by the project from the participants. But these activities were not successful. The project bought cocoa and sold it at a loss in the open market; the enclosed goat raising resulted in malnutrition, disease and about 30 % of these animals died.

Understandably, confidence in the project management diminished. Personal relations between national personnel and technical assistance were poor. The first project manager left the project in December, 1988.

In the second period (Jan. 1989 - May 1992), with a new project manager, project activities were oriented to: (i) vegetable garden production; (ii) introducing technology for permanent cultivation, to provide an alternative to the shifting agriculture prevailing in the area; (iii) poultry production; and (iv) water supply. Complementary activities were supply of tools, marketing and transport of products. Permanent lots were based on maize and beans and not on main traditional food crops (groundnuts, cassava). Marketing and input supply were subsidized. A group of extension agents and the technical unit were in full operation. Vehicles and motorcycles were replaced. A small mill for feed production was in operation as well as a repair shop. Buildings and facilities in the two experimental stations, housing and offices for staff were constructed. The contract of the Project Manager was not extended.

In the current third period (June 1992 - to present), the foreign technical assistance staff has departed. Subsidies have been eliminated or are phased out. So far few changes have been made to technical recommendations, although the use of compost is being promoted. The water wells program was completed.

Implementation of components

The project, although designed to be initiated in 1986, became effective in 1987 based on the PLANOP; although this documents states that objectives are kept in line with the original document, there are important differences. The PLANOP components were not executed as intended. More seriously, the PLANOP did not attempt to address the almost total exclusion of traditional agricultural crops from support. With this shortcoming, the project did not contribute to regional development to the degree expected.

The detailed comments below refer to the PLANOP list of components:

Support to agricultural production

This component was supposed to become the cornerstone of the project to develop a better technology for the shifting cultivation system as well as to

support permanent crops, but performance was not in line with expectations. A relevant elaborated strategy was never set out and operationalised. Hence, confusion and ambiguity may still remain within the project; the need to gradually improve upon traditional fallow systems was not clearly spelled out; instead the project set out to directly shift farmers to the cultivation of permanent fields. This is a serious mistake since with abundant land farmers optimise returns to labor but not to land and are less interested in permanent fields. While some experimentation on food crops was intended, little was achieved. Crop testing was initially practiced in two applied research stations (Obut and Bidjabidjan), but not with the detail and guidelines as set out in PLANOP.

Trials

Testing of new horticulture crops, maize and beans varieties was carried out prior to demonstrations in village fields. Several varieties of each of the horticultural crops were tested. A small collection of fruit trees had been established, but only for observation.

Observation trials on intercropping of maize and beans with leucaena were conducted for two years (four cycles). No further organized research trials were conducted: traditional crops such as groundnuts, cassava, plantain were never included in testing.

Vegetable gardens

Tomatoes, onions, cabbage, and carrots were demonstrated in vegetable gardens (Table 4). Seeds and technical recommendations were satisfactory for the start-up period. Sites for vegetable gardens were well selected according to soil quality and availability of water from springs or wells. An extension agent was responsible for group based training of villagers in the production techniques. The groups were visited at least once per week. Production was bought by the project and sold in Bata and regional markets. Currently, vegetables are sold through private channels and the project no longer intervenes in marketing.

Table 3. Summary of Vegetable Gardens Activities, 1988 to 1991

Activities 1988B 1989A 1989B 1990A 1990B 1991A 1991B TOTAL
Vegetable Gardens 1 5 8 12 15 14 14 15
Participants No. 25 105 167 247 325 223 209 562
Hectares No. 0.08 0.47 0.14 0.41 0.54 0.28 0.28 0.54
Production Ton. n.a. 0.5 0.7 1.05 0.76 0.86 0.85 42.67
Source: BDPA-SCETAGRI. Technical Assistance Report, 1991
A= First cropping cycle. Begins in March, ends in July.
B= Second cropping cycle. Begins in September, ends in December/January.

Participants report that earnings from vegetable gardens represent 33% of their family cash income.

Permanent fields

The project as implemented has generated major confusion with regard to the role and management of permanent fields. The fields were intended largely as a demonstration activity with a total area of 0.25 ha. But, in practice, villagers assumed that cultivation of permanent fields had to be an income generating activity, even though the average plot size of participants was limited to merely 0.013 ha. Participating farmers, until recently, were paid directly by the project for crops produced. The project failed to provide sufficient information to correct, at least among some participants, a notion that has remained that this cultivation system was merely a continuation of the previous plantation type of labor system. Perhaps, there is still confusion among project staff as to the nature and purpose of permanent fields.

The agronomic practices introduced were not satisfactory. Sites were selected without soil testing and permanent plots were established in 15 villages. Their purpose was to demonstrate new improved practices: use of simple tools, row seeding, weeding and pest control. An additional use was to produce maize for feed, once poultry production was introduced. Maize and beans were rotated every six months, but inter-cropping or other crops were not tested. The project was designed to assist women. But no trials were conducted on groundnuts; this represent the most important crop for women in the traditional system, and on which they spend 70% of their time. The original recommendations in the SAR for variety and rotations were superior to those actually carried out. It is not easy to understand why the original recommendations as to variety and rotations were not carried out. In addition, soils were left bare, without green cover, after harvest to the next planting. Compost or mulching were not used.

Table 4. Summary of Permanent Crop Activities, 1988 to 1992

Activities 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 TOTAL
Permanent Fields No. 1 16 44 36 63 44
Participants No. 30 154 656 638 657 671
Area Cultivated            
Maize Ha. 0.02 0.88 10.65 13.54    
Beans Ha. 0.02 4.15 16.66 16.19    
Production            
Maize Ton.   0.25 10.60 13.30    
Beans Ton.   0.90 5.20 6.40    

On the permanent plots, land was cleared and fenced through communal work, whereas seeding, cultivation and harvesting were carried out separately by each family. The project provided tools, seed and inputs at no cost. It bought beans which was sold in the open market and maize, used in the feed mill.

Participants complained of high labor inputs and low returns of cultivation in permanent fields.

Poultry

Support has been directed towards egg production sold in the regional markets, in Bata, Mongomo and Gabon. Support comprised provision of chicken, feed and drugs. The latter at first were provided free, but are now fully paid for. Poultry is becoming an important income generating activity in the region, given local and external demand. Producers have attained the technical competence required to compete in the market. But three constraints have to be overcome: irregular supply of feed, of freshly hatched chicken, and in addition there are sanitary problems.

Improving product quality

The project did not improve the quality of coffee and cocoa, since these crops were to be phased out. Vegetable production was improved through new varieties, and training in selection and packaging before marketing.

Marketing improvement storage and transport support

The project was heavily involved in marketing. In the first phase, cocoa was purchased and sold in the open market at a loss. In the second phase, the project marketed most of the vegetables and eggs produced. Its involvement in marketing is now minimal; it provides truck transport services charging market prices. Private traders ensure the actual marketing, even though a proper self financed system has not been established for marketing on a larger scale. The project should be commended for taking steps to acquire better information on marketing opportunities.

Extension program

The extension unit serves three districts in seven extension routes and is responsible for a large portion of project activities and operating costs. Six extension workers, including one woman, provide advice for the cultivation of permanent fields, vegetable gardens and poultry practices. PADREM has not yet begun to pay sufficient attention to gender issues. But the female extension officer has introduced among women, a participatory group based extension approach; such approaches need to be introduced by all the officers.

Drinking water component

This was a successful component and the performance was commendable. Fifteen villages have been furnished with wells or springs for domestic water use. This component was completed in September 1992, almost on schedule. Villagers contributed in kind towards construction, providing labor and local construction materials. The setting up of a competent well digging team by the project should be regarded as an achievement.

Training component

This was an important component, but performance was not in line with expectations. Basic training was provided to the national co-director, the UNV accountant and short training in Cameroon for the UNV and the counterpart for the drinking water program. Extension workers also received training, but courses were shorter than needed and as planned for in the SAR and PLANOP documents. The national staff did not receive training in methods of diagnostics and simple experimentation. The performance in providing training is not satisfactory, since resources and opportunities for training were available.

Selling of tools and inputs

The project operates three stores in the region. They sell basic tools and inputs to small farmers like machetes, hoes, axes, shovels, boots, seeds. Total sales for 1988-1992 amount to USD 115 000, and which proceeds are deposited into a revolving fund; this fund was intended to maintain support to farmers when the current project comes to an end.

Studies and support surveys

Several studies were envisaged to support technical assistance, provide basic information for components, like water supply and to be carried out for monitoring and evaluation purposes. But, only the ex-ante survey was undertaken.

Assessment of project execution, management and technical assistance

In reviewing implementation performance, the special circumstances of this project need to be understood. It is true that project execution was made difficult because of the isolation of the project area in the far north-east corner of the mainland. With a distance of 360 km even to the nearest urban center, where banking services can be found (Bata), contacts with MoA and government agencies were limited. Supply of services was often interrupted. Disbursements were delayed. Typically, repeated small consignments were purchased and procurement has been time consuming and cumbersome. Bulk purchases in Cameroon were not always adequate.

In the initial years, the main issues in implementation were staff related. The UNVs and counterpart staff arrived late, and this applies also to the housing and offices provided, and to the transportation equipment procured. Although the project Director was nominated promptly, the Co-director was not appointed until September 1987, a year later; remaining national staff were mobilized only between December 1987 and April 1989. The first Project Director (TA) did not succeed to establish smooth working relationships with his project staff, nor with the Project Coordinator in MOA in Malabo. The insufficient liaison caused many difficulties; e.g. issues arose over contracts and salaries of the national employees.

Moreover, the Government did not provide its share of counterpart funds for project operating and maintenance costs. Finally, these problems were compounded by dismal accounting procedures: the project accounting system did not begin to operate in line with expectations until 1989. With limited capabilities, the Government did little to guide or resolve issues emerging during implementation.

This adverse environment affected not only implementation negatively, but may explain, at least in part, the absence of guidance on project strategy. Perhaps, the project management was simply overwhelmed by daily project execution issues. Nevertheless, it remains that the project management staff was not well selected in terms of their technical skills and overall suitability.

Technical assistance was not in line with expectations and the contract has terminated. A Guinean Co-director is currently acting Director. The UNVs performed satisfactorily but, overall, technical assistance personnel did not possess the required skills to train the national staff in methods of participation and trial design.

Project impact and prospects

Project objectives were only partly accomplished perhaps in part because external conditions were difficult. The project concept and design was never fully translated into a set of operational guidelines and ensuing project activities. Economic, institutional and infrastructure conditions prevailing in the region and country, contributed to results that are not in line with expectations. In retrospect, the understandable common preoccupation with delays in procurement and disbursements and with financial discipline in accounting may have preempted the needed more analytical efforts to take stock of the project, to assess its overall direction and speed of achievements.

Impact on regional agricultural development

(a) The impact of the project has been less than expected. The project as implemented did not follow the original strategy reflected in the SAR and the PLANOP design. It did not support as expected the main traditional field crops; the original recommendations in the SAR for crops, varieties and rotations were not tested. The required socio-economic studies were not undertaken with which to understand better the socio-economic conditions in the region. These omissions represent a fundamental weakness in implementation.

(b) The current shifting cultivation in Equatorial Guinea, as elsewhere, is an efficient method of production at low population density; the project and its technical advisors prematurely promoted an accelerated intensification and the use of fertilizer.

(c) The project, while failing to find viable alternatives to shifting cultivation, has shown the potential for vegetables. It has demonstrated that there is an emergent market demand for vegetables. While goat raising in enclosures was a failure, poultry production has become an important production line: the market demand for eggs is growing.

(d) The project's extension efforts assisted producers to become more aware of market conditions and expected returns. Producers were taught to understand better market demand, to consider quality of produce as well as marketing channels, transport and road conditions. The project has revealed the various obstacles that producers and the region need to surmount to take advantage of natural resources and markets.

(e) Participatory processes in extension have been largely non-existent and lessons have been learned through a painful and socially costly process. The project while not performing in line with expectations, gradually has begun to slowly charter a course for future agricultural production. Lessons are being learned, but at the cost of failures in crops and goat production and resulting discontent. At least initially, participants lost confidence in the competence of those guiding the project. There is certainly a popularly felt demand for basing a potential second project on a strategy and project design that reflects farmer participation and feed back and far more solid technical advice and a technically competent supervision.

(f) Food security has improved mainly through the successful vegetable cultivation and poultry production. Output gains are limited except for egg production. The latter is particularly important since Equatorial Guinea is a net importer. For example, two years ago the region and the Bata market depended heavily on eggs from Cameroon.

(g) The project represents the most important institution building effort in the region. It has started, albeit too slowly, to provide the needed applied research on crop techniques and fallow period reduction. A second project, better managed, must permit farmers to reap the benefits of applied and adaptive research; the teaching-learning process about improved cultivation practices needs to be differently designed.

(h) The revolving fund created by the selling of tools was innovative and timely. In absence of a credit/banking system, the project provided the only source of working capital for the acquisition of basic tools and inputs. To an extent, in the case of assistance to poultry producers, it operated as a short term credit outlet to farmers. In light of difficult communications and associated delays in fund release - although contrary to purpose - this revolving fund also permitted the project to operate with sufficient working capital and to avoid a stand still.

(i) The project also subsidized transport and marketing of agricultural produce. It has prepared the ground for the taking over by private agents of these activities in the near future.

(j) The project introduced poultry feed processing. A small plant to produce poultry feed is successfully operating, although it still depends on concentrated animal protein, vitamins and minerals imported from Cameroon. Privatization has been envisaged and should be encouraged.

Subsidies and sustainability of interventions

While subsidies possibly were needed at the outset as an incentive, producers have demonstrated that some activities like egg and vegetable production are profitable. Raised marketed production of eggs and vegetables and the involvement of private traders, attest to the sustainability of the support provided.

Impact on environment

The dominant system of shifting agriculture may create a potential environment hazard unless production technology is improved. At current population density and technology, a family requires about 25 ha. for actual cultivation and fallow (soil fertility regeneration). A land constraint will ultimately develop as a consequence of population growth, unless appropriate technology for intensified agriculture is provided. The ensuing deforestation will negatively affect the environment. The project has begun to search for paths for better agricultural practices and intensification, which would allow higher output without endangering the environment.

Impact on income

With RRDH (Rapid Rural Diagnostic for Households) information, it was estimated that marketed vegetable production has contributed not less than 33 % of family cash income. In comparison, the income from permanent fields is entirely negligible.

Impact on nutrition

An undisputed achievement of the project is its impact on nutrition and on diet diversification: the quantity and quality of food intake has improved.

Impact of drinking water component

Drinking water has improved in quality and availability, and the incidence of water borne diseases has fallen. The time and effort spent in fetching water by women and children has fallen. According to the RRDG (Rapid Rural Diagnostic for Groups), women living in villages with a well opened by the project, spent 10 minutes for water provision, compared to 30 to 45 minutes for those living in villages without a well.

Impact on gender division of labor

(a) The status of family food production agriculture has improved in the Fang culture that prevails in the project area. The emergence of vegetables as an important cash crop, once coffee and cacao disappeared, has triggered a revision of cultural values. During the interviews for the RRDH, several men referred proudly to their vegetable production. Since women labor is the limiting factor, this is an important achievement for future agricultural development.

(b) Women allocate their resources in line with rewards although they are constrained by customs. A sign of warning, nevertheless, is the increase in women's daily labor. Cultivation in the vegetable gardens and permanent fields has increased women's daily labor burden by 2,5 hours; women's participation in project activities was estimated at 17,5 hours, compared to their normal working day of 14 to 15 hours.

(c) On the positive side, women's participation in project activities has given a higher cultural status to their labor. The mission survey undertaken suggests that there is more family harmony when the woman provides cash to the family.

Supervision

The loan and the grant are administered by the UNDP Office for Project Services - OPS. It is true that there were logistical difficulties in supervising this project. But, nevertheless, the supervision of the project did not perform in line with expectations. The supervision missions did not pay attention to the original project concept and the objectives as set out in the SAR. Equally serious, the supervision missions did not detect and correct emerging issues related to the project's faulty methodology for promoting interventions directly at the farm level without trials and experimentation. The required type of technical agro-economic advice for technology improvement within shifting cultivation systems was not furnished.

Neither did the supervision missions propose measures to ensure sustainability of project activities.

Recommendations

Project results, although modest and not in line with those initially expected, have begun to charter the course for future development. The location of the project offers promise in terms of potential across borders trade. The project area is located in the most densely populated area on the mainland. Its vicinity to markets in Cameroon and Gabon facilitates agricultural production and an export led growth. The potential demand for agricultural produce/food across the border exceeds the region's current supply capacity. Climate and temperature conditions are favorable for expanding agricultural production. However, supply is constrained by limited labor and several non appropriate inputs and practices; solutions require applied research and a different extension approach. Production capacity can be increased through better seeds, cropping practices, soil fertility conservation practices, improved transport and road facilities, introduction of new crops, higher returns to labor for men and women, and support for village and private sector participation.

The mission therefore recommends:

Consideration of a new project for the region

The experiences to date provide a base for redesign and improvement of support services. But it is likely that the Government sector will remain institutionally weak and underfunded. Moreover, prospects for a more successful future development of the area will depend largely to the extent to which a new project could devise, test and diffuse to farmers, simple ways of increasing labor productivity and income. This means a more active role for applied research; a far more participatory approach within extension and training. More reliance will have to be placed on inducing villagers' organizations and the private sector to become more active in local development. A future project must become far more active as a catalytic agent in development. The current methodology for adaptive research, extension and feed back from farmers and participants is not satisfactory.

Development path for the region

The current project has been tied to a limited number of activities and crops. It is true that its role is not just to meet production targets or reaching a number of beneficiaries, but to devise the path for the agricultural development of the region. The project should establish the rationale and priorities for the support of new and traditional crops, processing and market support. Only agricultural activities which are proven by market studies and confirmed by farmer managed on-farm trials should be supported. The plan for research and extension should reflect economic criteria and expected socio-economic benefits to participating households.

Capturing the potential for an export led growth

The mission recommends that studies of demand for produce across the borders be undertaken and IFAD initiatives in this direction are commendable. Such studies should identify as a matter of priority also so called non tariff barriers to increasing the across border trade from the project area. A dialogue should be entered into with the Government on how to diminish or eliminate the incidence of any non tariff barriers that will be reported on through such studies.

Participation

To begin with, before final design of a possible second project, farmers must be informed about the development strategy proposed, expected project objectives and modalities of implementation. The design must emphasize participation from initial design through need assessments and a dialogue with farmers to on-farm trials and feed back in extension. The few well performing permanent fields may be used as demonstrations or sites for group meetings. The vital distinction between pure demonstration plots and actual independent on-farm adoption must become transparent. Farmers should agree to the design of demonstration plots. If labor is required to set up and manage demonstration plots, such labor should be compensated.

New crops for permanent fields

The project strategy needs to redefine the crops and practices introduced on the permanent fields as well as the purpose of these fields. New crops and additional crop rotation patterns, and not only maize and beans, must be tested in the permanent field. In addition to composting or mulching, other methods to keep the fertility of soils must be tried, e.g. legume crops, rotations and inter-cropping. Soybeans, sorghum, peanuts, and most crops that are currently found in the traditional fields, should be tested in the permanent fields.

Traditional fields

For the remaining project period, and for a possible future project, the traditional field must become an important component. There would be substantial gains if improved seeds for these crops are introduced together with technology and practices to raise labor productivity. Rice has been ignored by the project and should be introduced through on-farm trials. If simple rice huskers are installed, post harvest labor constraints could be easily overcome. Rice could become an important crop in the project area.

Small livestock

The project should investigate the scope for supporting in the future small livestock production (pigs, goats and sheep). The accumulation of small livestock represents an important path for capital accumulation.

Elimination of subsidies on inputs and in marketing

Elimination of subsidies would ensure that crops and practices actually adopted reflect true producer and consumer preferences. Marketing and transport were carried out entirely by the project and producers were heavily subsidized. Inputs like seeds, fertilizers and chemicals were handed to villagers without payment. This strategy is being modified: the project is currently marketing only a fraction of produce; it charges for transport services and for inputs. But, from now on, marketing must be of a different kind: the project must completely phase out its direct intervention and only provide general market information; its role should be to identify potential markets, and to furnish practical information for village organizations and private entrepreneurs.

Applied research in a participatory mode

New crops and techniques must be tested first on-station and subsequently through farmer managed on-farm trials. Information and data must be registered for every trial, so as to record treatments, yields and reasons for success or failure. Results from these protocols must be discussed with farmers, males and females, and their respective comments and responses should be recorded.

Road construction component

Roads need to be improved and a future project needs to improve tertiary roads; drifts and small bridges also need to be constructed and participation of villagers and their organizations should be sought both for building and maintenance.

Broaden the concept of extension

Besides agriculture, extension agents must work on activities related to women'_ involvement in production. A dialogue should be established between farmers and agents; the latter should look carefully into traditional plot practices and techniques. Rotation, inter-cropping, soil fertility and alternative sources to maintain fertility and yields at sustainable levels, must be part of the new agenda. This implies a broader concept of extension and training of agents that would include also women's labor in post harvesting and household maintenance activities.

Labor loads of women

Technical assistance and extension agents should seek to alleviate the intensive work performed by women. The role of women in post harvest activities should also be reviewed and the feasibility of introducing simple processing equipment should be investigated.

Drinking water wells

This program met its objectives and was terminated in September 1992. Villages are satisfied with these wells. The project possesses a well trained team and equipment in good working condition. Unicef has a program for 90 wells for the mainland, but there is an excess demand. The new project should set up a mechanism for generating higher levels of contributions from participants for the well construction as well as for maintenance.

Health

The general health conditions of the rural population is not satisfactory even though the incidence of water borne diseases has fallen with the construction of the project supported well program. Villagers report health as one of their major problems. A future project should enroll a NGO to improve health conditions in the area.

Increased training efforts

(a) Training methodology

The broad strategy outlined requires an intensive training of the extension personnel, at least one well designed study tour, and a series of visits by a trainer. For the present project, training has been shorter than expected and programmed. In the future, training at all levels must be an important part of the resources assigned. The project specific training must be linked, and integrated, with other nation wide training that the government is implementing.

(b) Emphasis in training

The future project staff must be well trained and exposed to methods of diagnosis and economic analysis as well as to techniques for participation and empowerment. The previous command approach to development must be replaced with an approach that is geared to soliciting farmers for their own agenda. Means to this end comprise the application of farm budgets and economic analysis together with diagnostic surveys, monitoring of adoption rates, applied research and farmer managed on-farm trials. The manpower profile of future project staff must incorporate economic and technical skills in farm budget analysis and in the conducting of rapid diagnostic studies.

Financial discipline

An audit of the project is a required precondition before a follow-on project can be approved.

Project supervision

Project supervision of a possible second phase project would have to pay far more attention to reviewing (i) processes for training extension staff in participatory methods of quantitative diagnostics and feed back from farmers; (ii) agro-economic analysis of shifting cultivation systems; and (iii) the maintenance of financial discipline and accountancy standards.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Programme Spécial National I Volet CES-DRS

Niger  
March 1993

Résumé du rapport d'évaluation intermédiaire

Le PSN est constitué de trois sous programmes ou "volets" répartis dans cinq zones d'intervention ou "unités de terrain" (UT) très dispersées et hétérogènes et constituant autant de projets localisés de dimensions modestes: la petite irrigation -23% du coût de base (c.b.) - dans les vallées du Niger (département de Tillabéri) et de la Komadougou-Yobé (département de Diffa), la Conservation des eaux et du sol/Défense et restauration des sols (CES/DRS) -17% c.b.- dans l'arrondissement d'Illela (département de Tahoua, UT de Badaguichéri), et enfin le volet développement pastoral - 20% c.b.- à Tchintabaraden (département de Tahoua) et Tchirozérine (département d'Agadez). Des actions complémentaires de recherche appliquée - 10 % c.b.- et de crédit - 13% c.b.- devaient soutenir l'exécution du programme.

Seuls les volets CES/DRS et petite irrigation ont été évalués en 1993. Le volet développement pastoral n'a pu l'être pour des raisons de sécurité. Ce résumé concerne l'évaluation du volet CES/DRS.

L'UT de Badaguichéri (arrondissement d'Illela) est constitué par un vaste plateau de grès ferrugineux entaillé par trois profondes vallées. La pluviométrie moyenne est de 450 mm. Traditionnellement, la plaine alluviale (sols argilo-calcaire) est cultivée en mil et les plateaux réservés aux troupeaux avec quelques ilots de cultures. La pression démographique a conduit au défrichement rapide des plateaux, à une concurrence de plus en plus grande entre activités pastorales et agricoles et donc à des conflits agriculteurs-éleveurs. Le potentiel agricole de la zone, autrefois important, est en danger. La zone est désormais déficitaire en céréales. Confrontée à une baisse de la pluviométrie et à une forte dégradation des ressources foncières, fourragères et ligneuses, la population active masculine se livre à un exode saisonnier systématique, indispensable à la survie des ménages mais qui diminue d'autant la capacité locale de réaction à la crise du système agraire.

Conception et objectifs du projet

Groupe cible

Le groupe cible est, comme pour l'ensemble du Programme relativement indifférencié, constitué par l'ensemble de la population rurale communément menacée par les aléas climatiques et le processus de désertification.

Objectifs et composantes du volet

L'objectif spécifique de ce volet pilote et expérimental est la conservation des eaux et des sols pour optimiser l'utilisation des ressources hydriques. Il permettra l'assistance au gouvernement pour déterminer une politique et une stratégie de conservation des eaux et des sols et un mécanisme de soutien approprié.

Les composantes sont:

  • l'introduction, à titre pilote, sur environ 3.000 ha de terres agricoles, de techniques locales améliorées de CES qui permettraient de remettre en exploitation 1.000 ha abandonnés sur les 3.000 ha aménagés.Il est prévu que 1.500 agriculteurs appliquent les techniques de CES (cordons de pierres, demi-lunes, billons, paillage et brise vent) sur 2.500 ha au niveau de leurs exploitations. Hors exploitation, 500 ha seront traités par des techniques telles que murets en pierres et billons, fixation de dunes, traitement de koris par plantations, barrages en pierres sèches, seuils et épis en gabions et brise-vents.

  • la réhabilitation de terres dégradées sur une superficie de 500 ha grâce à des techniques simples permettant de mettre à l'épreuve de nouveaux systèmes de lutte contre le ravinement.

  • la création d'une pépinière à Illela d'une capacité de production de 25.000 plants. 50 pépinières villageoises, d'une capacité de 500 plants chacune seront installées à partir de la troisième année.

La vulgarisation (information, formation, réalisation de films vidéo) ainsi que le soutien aux villageois pour le travail d'aménagement à fournir (rémunération ou incitation) devait permettre la réalisation de ce volet. Un programme de recherche apliquée devait permettre de déterminer l'impact des techniques de conservation sur la production. Un système de suivi-évaluation basé sur des enquêtes socio-économiques devait être mis en oeuvre.

Effets attendus et hypothèses

Sur le plan agricole, on prévoyait une augmentation des rendements de 50% et une production supplémentaire sur 2.500 ha de 500 tonnes de mil/sorgho et de près de 200 t de niébé. Le revenu net des exploitants devait augmenter de 60-70%. Et, le programme devait produire des effets bénéfiques sur l'emploi grâce à l'accroissement de la production et au renforcement de l'activité économique locale. Enfin, pour ce qui concerne l'environnement, on prévoyait des effets positifs considérables découlant de la bonification de terres non utilisées, du reboisement et de la mise en oeuvre des techniques de conservation.

Le projet faisait l'hypothèse que des échanges entre producteurs de la zone du projet et les bénéficiaires de projets similaires au Burkina permettraient de convaincre les agriculteurs d'adopter des techniques insuffisamment rentables à court terme.

Évaluation

Evolution du contexte de mise en oeuvre

Les 4 premières années du PSN ont coincidé avec de profonds changements dans la situation politique qui ont abouti à une réforme constitutionnelle et à l'instauration de la IIIème République. Marqués par des grèves et des manifestations contre le régime, les évènements politiques ont paralysé l'action gouvernementale pendant une partie des années 90 et 91 ainsi que le fonctionnement de l'administration. Ils ont aussi perturbé l'activité économique du pays.

Réalisations du volet

Pour la période 1989 - mi 93, les réalisations en matière de CES/DRS ont porté sur près de 2.700 ha soit 90% des prévisions. Cependant, la répartition par type d'ouvrage ou de traitement est très différente de celle initiallement prévue. Les aménagements anti-érosifs durables et en particulier les cordons de pierres ont été inférieurs aux prévisions (540 ha au lieu de 2.300 ha), alors que les tassa, plus assimilables à une technique culturale qu'à des aménagements ont connus un succès certain (1 342 ha). 335 ha de demi-lunes ont été réalisés sur 320 ha prévus. Les migrations saisonnières ont empêché les ménages les plus pauvres de réaliser ces aménagements. Le taux de réalisation doit être pondéré par la quantité de travail mobilisé sur les différents types d'aménagements. En terme d'effort d'investissement des participants, on aboutit alors à un taux de réalisation par rapport aux objectifs de l'ordre de 70%.

Des fosses fumières qui n'étaient pas prévues (75) ont été réalisées. Leur diffusion est limitée par la quantité de bétail possédée par concession et la faiblesse des moyens de transport disponibles. Ces fosses sont aménagées par une minorité de paysans aisés.

La production de plans en pépinière a très largement dépassé les prévisions (718.000 plants produits contre 25.000 prévus. Les plants produits ont été utilisés pour le traitement biologique des koris (74 km de plantations le long des koris) et pour le reboisement de 1.723 ha pour la production de bois de feu, de construction et de protection des champs privés (haies vives). Les aménagements sylvo-pastoraux ont permis la regénération de 202 ha de terres de parcours.

La "rémunération" ou "incitation" aux travaux collectifs de CES/DRS a atteint, à mi-1993, 188,4 millions de FCFA répartis en construction d'infrastructures (3 dispensaires, 19 écoles, 2 magasins, 51 puits maraichers), petit outillage et rations PAM.

Un film vidéo a été tourné avec les paysans. C'est une forme de diffusion autonome très forte mais peu utilisée car jugée "folklorique" par la direction.

Des essais instructifs ont été réalisés en milieu controlé sur les stations de Nadara et de Salama (fertilisation, densités de tassa et de demi-lunes). Par contre aucune recherche n'a été entreprise sur les aménagements sylvo-pastoraux ni sur les effets antiérosifs des différentes techniques de conservation mises en pratique.

Appréciation des effets du projet et de leur pérennité

Bénéficiaires: Le programme a touché un grand nombre de villages (75 sur 141), mais guère plus de 1.200 exploitants, soit moins de 10% du nombre d'exploitants dans les villages participants. Il apparaît que la plupart des exploitations bénéficiaires sont d'une taille supérieure à la moyenne des exploitations de la zone et d'un statut social relativement élevé. Les ménages les plus pauvres ne disposent pas d'une force de travail suffisante en saison sèche pour s'engager dans des travaux d'aménagement lourds. Pour les exploitations ayant adopté les techniques recommandées, la superficie aménagée est de 35 à 45% de la superficie cultivée. Au niveau de l'arrondissement, la proportion de terres aménagées par le programme sur l'ensemble des terres cultivées en mil est de l'ordre de 2%.

On estime que l'augmentation de superficie cultivée due à la remise en état de terres dégradées grâce aux aménagements du projet est de l'ordre de 1.300 ha de mil. Les tassa et les demi-lunes améliorent incontestablement les rendements de mil et en réduisent légèrement la variabilité inter-annuelle. Pour les ménages concernés, le disponible vivrier augmenterait de 30 à 50% selon les années soit 350 à 850 t de mil additionnelles par an pour 1.200 exploitations.

Il est difficile d'évaluer l'effet de ce volet sur l'ensemble de la zone car beaucoup d'exploitants, spontanément, en dehors de l'intervention directe de l'UT (mais en s'inspirant des méthodes qu'elle a diffusé) ont réalisé des tassas et des demi-lunes. L'importance de ce phénomène n'a pas été suivie.

Effets du projet sur l'environnement et sur la base de ressource: le PSN a initié une dynamique importante dans l'amélioration des pratiques culturales tendant à optimiser l'utilisation des ressources en eau, à conserver les sols et à remettre en culture des terres abandonnées. Mais, il n'a pas encore permis de restaurer les paturages. Or, leur dégradation a des conséquences biologiques: défaut de germination voire diminution des stocks semenciers des espèces fourragères quand les zones dégradées sont trop étendues.

Appréciation de la durabilité du projet: le déséquilibre entre aménagements réalisés sur exploitation et hors exploitation ne permet pas d'établir un équilibre durable entre les systèmes de production agro-sylvo-pastoraux et les ressources des terroirs (voir para 20).

Principaux problèmes rencontrés

Des mesures incitatives mal conçues et peu efficaces

Les exploitants les plus pauvres, contraints à l'exode, n'ont pu réaliser des aménagements en demi-lunes ou tassa sur leurs champs. L'assurance d'une sécurité alimentaire sous forme de contrat d'aménagements avec compensation provisoire en vivres ou en numéraire aurait pu limiter l'exode saisonnier des actifs masculins. De même, en ce qui concerne les travaux collectifs, leur rémunération sous forme d'infrastructures communautaires, si utiles soient elles ne compense pas l'insuffisance des ressources des familles comme le ferait la rémunération sous forme de vivres. Elle exige par contre une contribution de la main d'oeuvre villageoise qui a déjà du mal à se mobiliser sur les travaux anti-érosifs. En plus du manque de main d'oeuvre en saison sèche, l'insuffisance de fumure organique pour les cultures représente la principale contrainte à l'augmentation des tassa et des demi-lunes qui ne couvrent pour l'instant qu'une infime partie des champs cultivés de l'arrondissement. Or, les agriculteurs sont convaincus de l'utilité de la fumure organique mais limités par un effectif de bétail insuffisant, la rareté des moyens de transport et l'inexistence des fosses fumières (qui nécessitent elle-même des moyens de transport, des ressources en eau et une disponibilité en main d'oeuvre).

Cependant, on constate que les dépenses d'"intéressement" du projet sont élevées: 188,4 millions de FCFA soit 1.250 FCFA par h/j en tenant compte de la totalité des travaux effectués y compris les tassa sur champs individuels. Mais, elles ont concerné pour les 2/3 (120,8 millions de FCFA) la construction d'infrastructures communautaires. Les distribution de vivres PAM (23% des dépenses) ont été très inégalement réparties sans que cette répartition corresponde aux quantités de travaux effectués. Exception faite du petit outillage (13% des dépenses, 24,3 millions de FCFA), les dépenses effectuées n'ont pas concerné des investissements complémentaires des travaux de CES comme les charettes et puits villageois. L'inadéquation des mesures incitatives aux besoins des exploitants limite d'autant la portée du programme.

Un déséquilibre entre les aménagements réalisés "sur exploitation" et "hors exploitation"

Il a suscité l'intérêt des agriculteurs pour les techniques préconisées parce qu'elles apportaient une réponse à leurs préocupations immédiates: raréfaction et dégradation des terres, baisse des rendements et des productions et au total augmentation de la pauvreté et de l'insécurité alimentaire. Mais, le PSN n'est pas encore parvenu à mobiliser les villages pour une action d'ensemble en matière de CES/DRS, agroforesterie, gestion des parcours et hydraulique visant à préserver ou rétablir un équilibre durable entre les systèmes de production agro-sylvo-pastoraux et les ressources des terroirs. Si cette lacune n'est pas comblée, les efforts du PSN pour améliorer les techniques culturales trouveront rapidement leurs limites.

Bailleur de fonds et autorités doivent définir leurs objectifs. La restauration des paturages sera forcément plus chère que celles des champs existants. Les terres de pacage étaient dévolue au bétail en raison même de leur structure peu propice aux cultures. Leur dégradation est donc en général à un stade plus avancé que celle des champs: glacis, croutage épais.

Par ailleurs, si un agriculteur peut s'attacher à la restauration de son champ, les paturages restent du domaine public et dépendent des usages pré-existants. On a peu de chance de susciter une intervention privée sans une incitation particulière. Or, à terme, la dégradation des terres de paturages risque de conduire à une catastrophe pour les éleveurs et à une crise socio-politique dont le coût est démesuré.

Recommandations et leçons à tirer

La mission recommande clairement la poursuite de l'intervention du PSN dans l'arrondissement d'Illela au cours d'une seconde phase. La méthode d'intervention devrait cependant être largement modifiée.

Au-delà de l'effet sur la production de céréales, les mesures de CES ont aussi pour résultat de contribuer à la sauvegarde du milieu naturel, mais uniquement sur les espaces cultivés. Or c'est l'ensemble du territoire qui doit être concerné par les mesures de conservation. C'est dans ce sens que doit être réorienté le volet CES/DRS qui a eu, jusqu'à présent, peu d'écho en matière de travaux collectifs de protection/restauration du milieu et de gestion des ressources.

Etant donné l'ampleur des travaux à réaliser en matière de CES/DRS, de réarborisation des terroirs, d'aménagement de l'espace agro-pastoral et la persistance des déficits alimentaires et de l'exode saisonnier, un fort appui extérieur apparaît inévitable pendant une phase de réhabilitation et de reconstitution des ressources. Cet appui extérieur devrait consister:

i) d'une part, en garantie d'une certaine sécurité alimentaire pour les ménages renonçant à l'exode saisonnier pour aménager leurs terres;

ii) d'autre part, en subvention partielle d'équipements et d'infrastructures directement ou indirectement liés au nouveau système de production à développer, charrettes et puits en priorité.

L'élaboration d'une nouvelle méthodologie d'action du volet serait axée sur les principes suivants:

i) L'identification des formes d'organisation paysannes avec lesquelles le PSN doit dialoguer. Pour cela, l'UT doit approfondir sa connaissance des communautés villageoises de sa zone d'intervention pour déterminer les collectivités (villages, GM, groupes d'agriculteurs, groupes de femmes) avec lesquelles un partenariat peut être établi;

ii) l'établissement d'un partenariat avec les villages et la concertation avec les principaux utilisateurs du territoire.

iii) le choix concerté sur les modes d'appui les plus propices pour permettre une forte mobilisation des villageois. Pour les aménagements sur exploitation, le problème n'est pas tant celui de l'"incitation" ou de la "rémunération" - demi-lunes, cordons pierreux et tassa ont un effet reconnu sur la production - que celui d'une compensation provisoire permettant à une population en situation de déficit vivrier de rester au village et de consacrer la saison sèche à des travaux d'aménagement non générateurs des revenus nécessaires pour faire face à la période de soudure.

Pour les aménagements hors exploitation d'intérêt général, il s'agit de trouver les formes d'incitation ou de stimulation qui soient en rapport de synergie le plus étroit possible avec les actions de protection/gestion des ressources.

La gestion de l'aide alimentaire pour la participation aux travaux collectifs devrait être confiée aux communautés villageoises, sous contrôle du PSN.

Toutes les formes d'appui ou de subvention devraient être clairement conditionnées et leur caractère transitoire explicité sous une forme contractuelle et programmative négociée avec les villageois. En clair, des plans d'aménagement de terroirs devraient être élaborés par les villageois, avec l'appui et les conseils d'équipes pluridisciplinaires, et faire l'objet de contrats de partenariat avec l'UT. Appuis extérieurs et subvention devraient être programmés de manière dégressive en fonction des progrès réalisés. Une des conditions fortes des appuis de l'UT devrait être un effort majeur de réarborisation des terres cultivées (et pas seulement des ASP collectifs) sous forme de complantations, de haies vives, de brise-vents, etc.

Enfin, et quels que soient les efforts d'aménagement de terroirs qui pourront être réalisés, il faut ouvrir des perspectives extra-agricoles à une partie croissante de la population rurale que ne pourra plus supporter la base de ressources agro-pastorales. La deuxième phase du PSN devrait comprendre un volet d'appui au développement des activités secondaires et tertiaires dans les bourgs et les plus gros villages de l'arrondissement.

Leçons

Dans les régions agricoles sahéliennes et soudano-shéliennes les plus peuplées où la jachère n'a plus place, une fertilisation organique accrue des terres cultivées est une nécessité impérative pour le maintien à long terme ou la reconstitution de la fertilité des sols. la supériorité agronomique du fumier sur la poudrette traditionnellement utilisée est généralement reconnue par les agriculteurs. Mais, l'utilisation des fosses fumières rencontre trois obstacles majeurs: des difficultés de remplissage lorsque l'exploitation ne possède pas ou ne garde pas de bovins, des difficultés d'arrosage en saison sèche du fait de la distance et du faible débit des puits, des difficultés de transport (pour l'apport de matière première, l'arrosage et le transfert aux champs) du fait de la rareté des charettes et du coût élevé de leur location. Une action de promotion de la fertilisation organique ne peut se limiter à la vulgarisation technique ou à l'incitation à creuser des fosses; elle doit comprendre des appuis à l'équipement en transport attelé, au fonçage des puits ou forages et à la stabulation du bétail, faute de quoi les fosses fumières restent inexploitables, en particulier pour les paysans les plus pauvres dont les terres continueront à se dégrader.

Les résultats obtenus par le PSN à Badaguichéri confirment l'intérêt des tassa/zai et des demi-lunes pour l'amélioration des rendements et la sécurisation des récoltes de céréales en zone sahélienne fortement dégradée. Ces techniques culturales ont un effet immédiat et visible sur la production et sont bien adoptées par une partie des exploitations disposant d'une force de travail suffisante en saison sèche et de quantités importantes de fumier ou poudrette. Dans cette catégorie d'exploitation, on peut raisonnablement espérer une diffusion durable de ces techniques sans incitations exogènes. Par contre, les aménagements durables mais n'ayant pas un effet direct et immédiat sur la production individuelle, tels que les aménagements sylvo-pastoraux collectifs, les ouvrages anti-érosifs hors champs et la réarborisation des terroirs, travaux exigeants en main d'oeuvre et peu rentables à court terme, constituent des investissements à la fois indispensables à la réhabilitation des terroirs dégradés et hors de portée des villageois en l'absence d'appuis extérieurs importants (outillage, moyens de transport, vivres).

Du PSN dans son ensemble, on peut dire qu'en Afrique sahélienne, le ciblage social des actions de développement rural par selection/exclusion de bénéficiaires en fonction de critères socio-économiques (revenus, superficie de l'exploitation, etc.) n'est généralement pas applicable dans la pratique, ni même souhaitable, au sein des communautés villageoises. Ce ciblage lorsque qu'il a lieu d'être, doit être conçu en termes d'adéquation des actions et services proposés aux activités et aux contraintes spécifiques des catégories défavorisées constituant les "groupes cibles du FIDA". La définition du groupe cible ne peut se limiter à la spécification d'un revenu moyen ou d'une superficie maximun. Elle doit comporter une analyse des rapports de production, de la dynamique des systèmes de production agricoles et non agricoles en présence, et des processus d'accumulation et de paupérisation. Une telle analyse permet de comprendre non seulement les causes de la pauvreté mais aussi les contraintes auxquelles sont confrontés les pauvres dans leur tentative d'auto-promotion économique et sociale. Elle autorise une définition opérationnelle du groupe cible débouchant logiquement sur l'action et garantissant la pertinence (adéquation) de cette action.

Du PSN dans son ensemble, on peut dire qu'en Afrique sahélienne, le ciblage social des actions de développement rural par selection/exclusion de bénéficiaires en fonction de critères socio-économiques (revenus, superficie de l'exploitation, etc.) n'est généralement pas applicable dans la pratique, ni même souhaitable, au sein des communautés villageoises. Ce ciblage lorsque qu'il a lieu d'être, doit être conçu en termes d'adéquation des actions et services proposés aux activités et aux contraintes spécifiques des catégories défavorisées constituant les "groupes cibles du FIDA". La définition du groupe cible ne peut se limiter à la spécification d'un revenu moyen ou d'une superficie maximun. Elle doit comporter une analyse des rapports de production, de la dynamique des systèmes de production agricoles et non agricoles en présence, et des processus d'accumulation et de paupérisation. Une telle analyse permet de comprendre non seulement les causes de la pauvreté mais aussi les contraintes auxquelles sont confrontés les pauvres dans leur tentative d'auto-promotion économique et sociale. Elle autorise une définition opérationnelle du groupe cible débouchant logiquement sur l'action et garantissant la pertinence (adéquation) de cette action.

 

LANGUAGES: English, French

Special Programme for SWC/AGF in the Central Plateau

Burkina Faso  
March 1993

Mid-term evaluation

The project area covers four of the Central Plateau's seven provinces: Yatenga, Passoré (northern CRPA), Bam and Sanmatenga (north-central CRPA) and more precisely 12 departments (over 39) wich are not beneficiaries of other projects. It is one of the most unfavorable area of the country because of the soils' poverty and because of the high population density. The overexploitation of soils and the deforestation have led to a global environmental degradation, to a decrease of the productive potential (agriculture, livestock and forest) and to an increase of out-migration.

Project objectives and design

Target group

The households (average 10 persons) cultivating about 4 ha, mainly millet and sorghum represents 91% of the total population of the Central Plateau. The target group is constituited by 13.400 of this type of household. Part of the credit component is specifically targeted to women.

Objectives and components

The purpose of the project is to rehabilitate the environment and make it more suitable for agricultural production with a view to: achieving food security and stemming the massive out-migration of the young working-age population; improving women's incomes and living standards and reducing their workload; promoting local organizations, especially savings and credit associations in order to ensure the continuity of the actions initiated under the Programme.

The Programme comprises the following six components:

i) Cropland Development (SWC): the establishment of four mobile support teams (EMA), including trucks, tractors, pickups and topographical equipment, and the provision of site tools and carts to the Farmers Associations (GV) for erosion control bunding, with EMA support. The objective was to develop 38 250 ha over six years: 28 000 ha in the saturated parts of the village croplands (champs de village) and 10 250 ha of outfield plots (champs de brousse);

ii) Agroforestry (AGF): The establishment of village nurseries, and vegetative coverage of erosion control bunds combined with tree planting on the plots. The objective was to rehabilitate 10% of the champs de village areas covered by SWC (i.e. 2 800 ha).

iii) Crop Intensification (IA): The establishment of compost pits (by the farmers) and a revolving fund for the provision, on credit, of NPK fertiliser, natural phosphate (BPh) and fungicides. The aim was to intensify 20% of the areas covered by SWC.

iv) Research and Development (RD): Support to national research institutes (INERA and IRBET) for parallel research on SWC, AGF and IA.

v) Village Development Fund (rural credit): The purpose of this Fund, managed by a Government-controlled financial agency in collaboration with the local savings and credit associations (COOPEC), is to finance the development of "agriculture related economic activities", especially for women, and to strengthen women's incorporation in the COOPECs.

vi) Institutional Strengthening (IS): The establishment of a Programme Management Unit (PMU), in charge of the programming and supervision of the Programme's technical support and monitoring and evaluation activities; the strengthening of the Agriculture Ministry's extension services (ex-ORD) in the programme area; and the provision of support to the NGO coordination Office.

Expected effects and assumptions

The expected impact of the programme was an 80% increase in food production per capita and a 35% increase of the net income of the average participating household by year 5. Total incremental production at full development was estimated at 13.000 tonnes/year. Women workload would be considerably reduce thanks to the purchase of carts and mills. Food self sufficiancy, access to credit and development of cash income generating activities in the dry season would reduce out migration. The ERR was estimated at 12%.

The assumption was made that the combined effects of SWC and AGF will allow a 85% increase on cereals yields.

Evaluation

Implementation context

In august 1988, the CRPA (centres régionaux de promotion agro-pastorale) were granted financially independent status, a situation which required more operational support than planned (especially transport facilities for the extension agents).

8. The agro-climatic conditions of the last 5 years were quite good. The only bad season was 1990-91 with rainfall as poor as 1987.

Project achievments

SWC Achievements. At the end of 1992, SWC works had been done in 60% of the villages in the programme area (187/315). The 9.314 ha developed under the programme correspond to about 13% of the sown land in the 187 villages (and about 8% of the total area sown in the 12 departments in the programme area).

Agro-forestry. At the present time, 105 villages are taking part in the AGF component (56%). In three years the programme has installed or rehabilitated 49 village nurseries producing a total of 173.000 plants (50% of the target) and sunk some twenty wells. Achievements as at 30/06/92 (two years): 95 km of grass coverage (700 ha maximum) and 118 km of tree and shrub coverage (between 700 and 1 000 ha covered). It is estimated that at 30.6.92 (two seasons) 95 kms of the bunds had been planted with herbaceous vegetation and 118 km with trees, and about 7 kms with hedges. The plant average survival rate at one year would vary between 40% and 60% depending on the province, but locally the results are far lower because of stray animals. 2.250 volunteer small-holders were trained in assisted natural regeneration (ANR).

Crop Intensification (IA). A total of 3.500 manure pits were built and 1.020 tonnes of Burkina-Phosphate (BPh) distributed free of charge to 2.500 farmers (400kg each, enough corrective dressing for 1 ha). The Programme has not succeeded in promoting the usefulness of maintenance dressings (NPK and/or BPh) because the credit component was blocked and BPh and NPK were unavailable or in short supply on local markets. Only a small percentage of the manure pits are effectively and correctly used.

Rural Credit. The Programme's rural credit component was not yet operational at the time of the mission.

Institutional Strengthening. The contractual partnership system introduced by the Programme appears very appropriate. It allows the maximum amount of available human and organizational resources to be mobilized and made accountable, without unduly increasing recurrent costs and management difficulties. It is also a way of developing coordination between services and generating synergetic effects in a region where the number of parties involved generate enormous coordination difficulties.

Monitoring and Evaluation. Four years after being launched, the SWC/AGF Programme is yet to have an impact monitoring and evaluation system. Available data on achievements are incomplete and not fully integrated.

Effects assessment and sustainability

Beneficiaries: the number of beneficiary farms in 1992 would be about 4 660, i.e. one quarter of the population of the participating villages.

All the farmers agree that the erosion control works are having a positive effect on grain yields, particularly when rainfall is scarce or poorly distributed. The average increases in millet and sorghum yields on rehabilitated sites is estimated at 30% in a year of poor rainfall, 20% in an average year, and 10% in a good year.[]

The crop intensification packages have been widely accepted thanks to the provision of BPh, free of charge, but also because the farmers are aware of the fertility problems. Most farmers have, however, had difficulties to produce compost or manure due to the lack of transport facilities (carts), the shortage of water (for watering the pits) in the dry season and the difficulties in obtaining the raw material to fill the pits. The impact of applying BPh combined with compost from the pits has not been monitored in the field, but it is thought to be relatively minor because the per hectare application of compost has been inadequate in terms of both quantity and quality. The effect on yields is +20% in a year of good or average rainfall, and +10% in a drought year.

The effect of the agro-forestry measures on crop production are for the time being negligible, as the plantations are young and the areas covered small. The nurseries established or rehabilitated and the training provided in Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR - 2 250 farmers volunteered) will certainly have a positive impact in the medium term if solutions to the problem of browsing by stray livestock are found.

The average combined effects of SWC and IA is about 1.500 additional tonnes of millet and sorghum annually on the 9.300 ha rehabilitated. On this area, the effect of the programme on production would be within the range of +30 to +75%, depending on different years. These encouraging results still represent only a minor impact on the total food crop production of the four provinces due to the limited scale of the intervention.

Effects on beneficiaries incomes: the investment of an average farm in the Yatenga and Passoré departments (10 persons; 3.2 ha under crops) generates an additional annual output of 300 to 400 kg of millet and sorghum --a production increase of 23 to 40% depending on the climatic conditions in a given year. The household has a grain shortfall in a year of average or poor rainfall, and a surplus in a good year. The farm's cash income (livestock, handicrafts, groundnuts) covers an average grain shortfall, and the farm's average results are therefore slightly positive in the long term (+3 000 CFAF), which is not the case without the Programme. Seasonal or permanent migration would no longer be necessary for survival. We can therefore say that beneficiaries have achieved some measure of food security, but their capacity to save and invest is low unless they have an off-farm income.

Specific effects on women: the credit component, targeted to women was not yet operational. Women constitute 54% of the workforce involved in bunding work and 42% of those involved in loading the trucks. Women are also in charge of bringing water and meals to the work sites in addition to doing their burdensome domestic work and looking after their children. The women's involvement on the erosion control sites therefore represents a much greater effort than that furnished by the men, who have relatively little to do during the dry season. In return, the women obtain no particular advantage from the Programme. In all the villages, the women stressed that their workload had increased (a completely contrary effect to that initially sought by the Programme) and requested assistance to reduce their domestic workload (mills, wells and carts).

Effects on the environment: thanks to the erosion control measures, it was possible to rehabilitate degraded land that had become unsuitable for cultivation. About 20-25% of the rehabilitation work in the departments of Yatenga and Passoré and 10% in the other areas was done on abandoned land. Cropping on these lands resumes after one to three years, depending on whether or not the "zaï" technique is used.

Sustainability: the effects on yields of erosion control work are immediate but not sustainable unless SWC is supplemented by appropriate fertilization measures. The vast majority of the saplings are given away free of charge to members of the VGs which means that the nurseries are not likely to survive after the end of the programme. The effect of BPh applied as a basal dressing (400 kg/ha) would last 4 or 5 years unless it were supplemented by maintenance applications. The average combined effects of SWC and IA on production are not sustainable on the medium term without a generalized improvement of fertilisation techniques (MO + BPh or MO + NPK according to different zones).

Main issues

Difficulties of implementation until 1991

The PMU was established at Yako in january 89. After a quick start up of field operations, the Programme soon encountered difficulties:

i) its IS component was not adapted to the new institutional context ;

ii) long delays in acquiring some material, in particular the site equipment needed for the field work already under way.

The Programme was unable to fulfil its management contracts with the Village Groups (VGs), particularly the clauses stating that site tools were to be provided early in the crop year. The situation worsened considerably in 1990/91 when the additional problem of transport facilities to move the rubble stone for the erosion control bunds arose. Previously, vehicles had been hired to transport the stone, but hiring was ruled out in 90/91 when the EMAs were provided with their own vehicles. As it turned out, however, there were not enough trucks to meet the year's objectives. A lengthy suspension of loan disbursements (due to the late payment by GBF of the service charge due to IFAD) also restricted funds when the works were at their height (12.90 to 02.91). Only 44 villages received EMA assistance in 90/91 -- 50% less than in the previous year -- and only 1 421 ha were covered by SWC. The Programme was unable to honour its contracts with the VGs for the second year running and its credibility seriously suffered, not only in the eyes of the villagers, but also in those of its partner institutions (CRPA, INERA and IRBET) and suppliers, who were paid late due to the Programme's cash problems (disbursements were again suspended 08.91).

The considerable imbalance between the SWC, AGF and IA components

It is known that the positive effects of SWC cannot last without IA and AGF. Yet the vast majority of the anti-erosion sites are not supported by these measures that were designed from the outset for only 20% and 10%, respectively, of the developed acreages. It is also known that agro-forestry is one of the conditions for increasing the organic matter inputs. There is no concerted strategy between the IA and AGF components. Aside from the fact that the relative amounts of resources assigned to the various Programme components were not equally balanced (due to the Programme's design), the mission noted the lack of integration of SWC, AGF and IA actions although their complementarity and interdependence had been recognized in the SAR.

The absence of some essential complementary measures in the areas of village water supply, farm equipment, livestock development and support for cash income-generating activities.

How can compost be made where there is no water available in the dry season to keep it moist? How can the stone bunds be built around the scattered outfield plots without carts to carry the stones? How can tonnes of green matter be carried to the compost pits and the compost to the fields without these carts? How can manure production be increased unless livestock management is changed? How can the agro-forestry success rate be satisfactory unless livestock is prevented from straying and/or fences are installed? These are just a few of the very concrete problems facing the villages, and for which the programme offers no answers. For that reason, the project is not able to help the poorest farms become involved in sustainable crop intensification. As regards crop intensification, it is obvious that the farms that manage to work their manure pit(s) properly are those (very few) with a cart and cattle.

Recommandations and lessons learned

It is indispensable for the programme to rebalance the scope of its various components and define its activity programmes in the villages based on Integrated Land Development Plans designed by the villagers themselves. Multisectoral and integrated efforts must be focused on the villages currently involved instead of spreading more widely to include new villages. The Programme should restore the balance to its operations and fit them into integrated village land development plans (plans intégrés d'aménagement de terroirs) specific to each village. The management plans should be drawn up by the villagers with the combined support of the different parties involved in each village (NGOs, agricultural and forestry extension agents, COOPEC or SEC officers, etc...). In many villages, the absence of boreholes and/or the drying up of wells during the dry season are a major constraint to the expansion of manure pit use, the practice of stabling livestock, as well as to erosion control works, and, in addition, significantly increase the women's workload. Funds under some components should be released without delay for the sinking of wells or boreholes in the villages where water supply is a serious problem and other projects or NGOs are not in a position to help.

It is a necessary (even if not sufficient) condition to equip the farms with carts for most of the present and future actions of the programme to be successful, but most of the farms, particularly the poorest ones, could not possibly afford this investments, even on credit.The partial, targeted and incentivating subsidisation of carts' selling price (about 50%, if possible at the level of the local producers), is the best compromise solution between the need to extend this essential tool as widely as possible, and the need to make the most of the limited resources available to the programme and the farms. This subsidy policy is not a substitute but a targeted (cart-specific) complement to the credit component.

On the basis of the Village Land Development Plans drafted by the village communities, the departmental and provincial concertation managers should gradually become the main authorities for programming and coordinating the actions to support local development. The Programme should continue to provide and broaden its support to the CDC/CPCs using the funds available for the IS component.

If a more integrated and participatory approach is taken through Village Land Development Plans, and in view of the need for tailored counselling to farms on fertility management themes and crop-livestock integration, it will be necessary to make a great effort to provide training for the SPA/SPET agents and the VG. These efforts should be given top priority.

The M&E functions should be handled by PMU. An ad hoc unit should be set up in Yako, with the function of regularly monitoring the effects of the programme and the ongoing process in the villages. IFAD could rapidly provide support for the design and startup of this Unit.

The second phase of the SWC/AGF Programme should be prepared, incorporating the approaches set out above in a global strategy for village land development and for gradually rendering the communities autonomous. SWC, AGF and IA actions should be integrated into one single component. It would also be advisable to extend the programme's intervention zone to other provinces in the central Plateau (particularly Bulkiembé and Sanguié in the south of Yako) in order to make the most of the considerable institutional investment at the PMU level. This second phase of the programme should not take off before the end of the current phase, scheduled for December 1995, in order to learn from the initiatives or components that are only in the take-off stage at the present time (credit component, 'GT test villages', individual schemes, M&E). It would be important to commit larger and more diversified ressources to the implementation of cash income-generating activities of the poorest households and women in the villages. The government and IFAD therefore have all the time they require to prepare phase two properly. But some of the changes recommended above must be made as a matter of urgency (especially the establishment of an effective M&E system).

Lessons learned

One of the most important lessons to be drawn by IFAD from this project is three-fold: the need for better quality appraisal reports, greater flexibility in implementing the loans and supervision geared to providing practical and quick solutions to project implementation problems. The Programme design as set out in the appraisal report comprised several shortcomings and inconsistencies that might have prevented the Programme from meeting its objectives. Most of these shortcomings and inconsistencies were identified fairly early, but the inflexible loan administration system slowed down the correction process. Future beneficiaries should be consulted more frequently and participate in the design phase. Early participation by beneficiaries could prevent many design errors and omissions.

During project implementation IFAD and the cooperating institution should be more attentive to the positive or negative effects of the works and achievements on women's living conditions and pay special attention to the components likely to have a positive impact.

Traditional soil fertility managment practices no longer suffive to maintain organic balance of rain-fed croplands in the densely populated sahelian regions. The steady worsening of this balance is as damaging to crop productivity as is erosion. The dissemination of farming techniques based on compost and manure applications is essential, but will not suffice to replace and increase organic matter. In order to facilitate soil fertility management in these areas, transport facilities are needed to: move material and water to the pits, fodder and water for the stabled animals, and take the manure and compost to the plots. Farms without cart cannot undertake all this work. Animal-drawn carts are therefore necessary for a new soil fertility management system. Without them sustainable agricultural development will not be possible. The IFAD target group in these poor, minimally monetized areas, cannot afford carts. In view of the agro-ecological and social importance of this item (most of the on-farm and domestic hand transport is done by women and is unpaid, and when carts are in short supply they become a source of income transfer for the more well-to-do), IFAD should take in consideration a subsidization policy specially targeted to draught animal transport in the sahel.

In the regions with a fragile environment, weak agricultural potential and strong population pressure, resource conservation and economic development can only be contemplated in terms of multisectoral integrated actions which consistently deal with the many constraints on production systems. Merely superimposing different components in a project, which are expected to respond to each one of these constraints is no guarantee that they will be implemented in the field in an integrated fashion, particularly when the components are being executed by different agencies. If the project is to be effective, it must be implemented in each village under the guidance of a consistent strategy that is created by that community, meeting its needs, constraints and specific potential. Self-diagnosis and participatory integrated programming at village level should be the constituent elements of the project's annual work programmes. This approach would also make it possible to solve 'from the grassroots' the difficult problems of coordinating external agents (projects, NGOs, public services) in each village. It would require great flexibility when implementing the project, which would no longer be dictated by some scheme worked out in advance by experts, but it would be geared to the needs, initiatives and degree of mobilisation of the people directly involved.

The SWC/AGF Programme, like others before it, illustrates the difficulties in setting up an M&E unit from the outset. During the first years of implementation, officials are wholly taken up by institutionalising the project, learning procedures, procuring materials and equipment, sensitising local people, etc.. Under these conditions they hardly give priority to setting up an M&E unit. Early and specific external support has proven to be necessary to design an M&E system, carry out a baseline survey and effectively establish the system for collecting, processing and disseminating information.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Second Small Farmer Development Project

Nepal  
March 1993

Completion evaluation

Under the Second Small Farmer Development Project (SFDP II), the assistance given to small farmer groups (SFGs) was extended to a further 12 districts. At the same time, operations were intensified in the 31 districts already covered by the First Small Farmer Development Project (SFDP I). A total of 43 of the country's 75 districts were covered by SFDP II. About 60% of the districts covered are in the Hills and 40% in the Terai or the plains.

Project objectives and design

Target group

At full development, the project would help to form about 5 000 SFGs covering some 50 000 small farmers. This would be additional to the 3 500 SFGs and 35 000 small farmers supported under SFDP I.

The SFDP II eligibility criterion was designed to overcome limitations connected with coverage in the first phase. In the SFDP I, farmers with high income were eligible as long as their holding was small. On the other hand, the SFDP II eligibility was designed only with a per capita income threshold of Rs 1 200 at 1978/79 prices (USD 70).

Objectives and components

The project was approved to intensify and expand the activities of the SFDP I. Its objectives were: (i) to increase the income and improve the well-being of small farmers, landless labourers and the rural poor; (ii) to develop self-reliance among these disadvantaged groups and to encourage savings so that they are able to organize themselves to plan and carry out their own projects; and (iii) to adapt the local delivery mechanisms of government agencies and institutions to the needs of the rural poor.

The project, as appraised, consisted of two main components: (i) support for crop production, livestock, minor irrigation works, horticulture and village industry/agroprocessing; and (ii) service activities, necessary for effective project implementation, comprising training, technical assistance, monitoring and evaluation, and support for the salaries of additional Agricultural Development Bank of Nepal (ADBN) staff (group organizers -GOs-, assistant group organizers -AGOs-, etc.) involved.

Expected results and assumptions

The project was conceived as a credit project aimed at rural poverty alleviation. With declining per capita agricultural production and increasing rural poverty, more effective institutions for the delivery of extension and credit were considered essential. The main benefits expected were the increased production of basic necessities (such as food, consumer goods and services), expanded employment opportunities and increased income for poor families in the rural areas.

The project design reflected the assumption that the organization of small farmers, landless labourers and disadvantaged rural poor, including women, is essential for: (i) reaching them with information; (ii) soliciting their demand for assistance with credit and extension; and (iii) reducing risk in credit delivery through substituting group responsibility for individual liability.

Evaluation

The Completion Evaluation (CE) mission remained in Nepal from April 13 to May 9, 1992. The analysis of beneficiary impact is almost entirely based on primary data collected through the IFAD Completion Evaluation Survey (CES), undertaken in January-February 1992. The mission's interviews and case studies provided further information.

Implementation context and evolution

The election climate negatively affected credit repayments. During general election campaigns promises were made that loans to farmers would be written off. Other statements made were that ADBN loans were international gifts and need not be paid back. Such rumours discouraged farmers from repaying their loans and wilful defaulting increased.

Project achievements

Almost all quantitative targets were met or surpassed by a wide margin. To an extent, this reflects favourably on the drive of the SFDP II to quickly disburse funds so as to reach the project targets. Quantitative targets for creation of Sub Project Offices (SPOs), groups and staff were overachieved. Credit provided exceeded appraisal targets, commonly by not less than 518 to 200%. Credit was extended for irrigated as well as for non-irrigated land, for livestock, horticulture, village industry and agroprocessing. For livestock, 18 900 buffaloes and 39 705 goats were purchased, representing 125% and 280% of the targets, respectively.

Effects, impact and sustainability

Intensification of agricultural practices is essential, given scarce arable land, and the project definitely contributed to technology adoption. One-third of the sampled farmers bought at least one of the technology related inputs through SFDP credit. But most farmers in the SFDP areas continued to use traditional cultivation methods and practices.

A larger proportion of Terai farmers bought inputs on credit than the farmers in the Hills (40% vs. 24%). Farmers with irrigation facility bought more inputs (primarily fertilizer and pumps) on credit. Improved livestock breeds were adopted only by a few farmers; improvements were not reported and observed in feed and fodder management.

Credit has been important in facilitating adoption of improved technology for crop production. Credit contributed to adoption of irrigation, wheat seed, and potassium based fertilizer. Precise impact of technology adoption could not be quantified.

The project assumptions for yield increases were too optimistic. Yields rose 17% compared to expected 40-60% for improved maize and paddy. Extension contact increased yields over and above the direct effect of fertilizer application. But extension coverage was far from adequate: extension services were available to less than one-third of small farmers group members.

While about 40% of the credit was allocated to livestock, credit was not associated with sustained adoption of improved livestock. The livestock component aimed at improving the productivity of buffaloes and goats, and at providing farmers with little or no land, with animals to hire out for draught and transportation. But the livestock component did not take off as intended. There is little evidence that the project has resulted in an increase in livestock productivity, despite sometimes reasonable marketing opportunities. High mortality of improved breeds explains why credit failed to generate a positive statistical association for adoption of improved breeds. Farmers referred to high mortality rates as a major reason for non-adoption, explained not least by limited veterinary services.

Farmers generally perceived per capita income to have risen through earnings from crops, livestock, and employment, especially if debt service is not taken into account. Data limitations negated the effort to ascertain precise changes. But income at least from crop production has risen. In addition to yield increases, relative prices remained favourable from 1986/87 to 1990/91.

The Staff Appraisal Report (SAR) envisaged that there would be negligible negative environmental effects associated with the project. But there is no evidence of advances in feed and fodder management in the SPOs sampled and visited. The SFGs surveyed indicated that the area under vegetation during the project period has decreased in most of the SPOs. Nearly half of the communities reported that they had experienced a decline in forest resources. In contrast, farmers' evaluation of the environmental component in the training system developed for the project is positive. This training, covering forest fires, deforestation, migration, pollution, and soil erosion, was found useful. Possibly, this could mean that in the absence of such training, environmental changes would have been even more adverse.

After 17 years (1975/1992) women's participation is still below 20%. Women are not specifically referred to in the SFDP II eligibility criteria; this explains at least in part the low participation of women. Another reason is that the skill development programmes are not designed for women. Almost all skill development training programmes are conducted far from the homesteads and women are not attracted. However, the project recruited a large number of female group organizers. These WGOs have become a key factor in increasing women's involvement in the project.

Effectiveness of the M&E System

Support was rightly given to the ADBN for monitoring, but was not well used. The SFDP division should have been guided by the Evaluation and Management Information Systems (MIS) division. But the flow of data both to and from the field was inadequate. The actual support for the SFDP division was quite limited. The MIS support in the first place should have been lodged within the SFDP division. The SFDP manager needed to be in direct command, but was not in control. Even though incentives within ADBN as a whole remained aligned with continued credit expansion,

location of M&E to the responsible project manager would have given him greater possibilities to obtain required information on performance and repayment.

The M&E activities of the ADBN did not evaluate impact, nor were impact indicators developed for the project.

Main issues

The project, because of its design, faced formidable constraints. The provision of subsidized funds to ADBN directed the institution towards a focus solely on credit expansion. Policies with incentives and controls were not introduced so as to induce ADBN to become less dependent on external subsidized funds and to reward borrowers who performed in line with contractual obligations.

ADBN's declared profits turned negative towards the end of the 1980s. Profits were positive in 1986/87 and 1987/88, zero for the subsequent two years, and estimated as negative for 1990/91.

In spite of the large predominance of those borrowing sums below Rs 10 000 (74%), the percentage of "medium loans" between Rs 10 001 and Rs 30 000 is also considerable (25.5%). The latter percentage is striking, considering that income per capita is particularly low in Nepal (USD 170), and that less than 30% of SFDP loans apparently were disbursed without property collateral. A loan of Rs 20 000 already represents no less than 2.7 times the per capita income.

Loan recovery became the major issue. The decline in recovery rate started during the SFDP I period with a rate of 68% in 1982/83, which fell to 48% in 1987. The rate slid to no more than 40% in 1990/91. The loan recovery rates of the SFDP II were greater than those of the ADBN except for 1990/91. In this year total arrears rose from Rs 41.7 million to Rs 155.4 million. The rapid growth in the number of groups has negatively affected loan collection. For instance, a statistical analysis based on the female SFGs showed that credit recovery is negatively associated with an increasing number of groups per SPO in these zones.

Recommendations

A separate strategy should be adopted for the small farmers who are above their subsistence level and can readily undertake bankable projects. The provision of technical extension services is vital also for this group. The Projects must ascertain that: (i) technology and/or the economic environment are not the primary constraints, only when this is not the case is there the rationale for credit provision. Impact certainly would have been improved, had credit been preceded or accompanied by extension services that had responded to farmers' demand. Moreover, the environmental implications need to be pursued, e.g. additional fodder requirements of livestock investment.

Factors that explain variations in low credit repayment need to be pursued. Such understanding is necessary in order to find instruments with which to design a strategy for raising performance in recovery.

The large share allocated to the livestock sector to finance improved breeds was not justified. Instead, more funds should be made available for other more productive types of investments.

The project group formation was regarded primarily as a vehicle to obtain loans from the SPOs. But experience has shown that groups should first be formed for activities that may later require credit.

In the absence of proper credit norms, disbursement of loans on an ad hoc basis has resulted in over-financing. It is recommended that specific norms be developed on a regional basis for each SPO and be used in loan appraisal by the GOs and small farmer groups to determine loan amounts for participating households. It is also recommended that these norms be updated every year to reflect the changes in cropping patterns, cropping intensities, and technology adoption.

The training provided to the group organizers, group leaders and members-beneficiaries was inadequate. Far more attention has to be given to the training of group leaders and members. Groups should be trained to evaluate their leader's performance.

More than two-thirds of group savings earned only 8.5% interest which is much lower than the market interest rate and the annual inflation rate of about 20%. The Nepal Rastra Bank and ADBN should agree on a timetable for shifting from negative towards positive rates of interest on savings.

Members' contributions to group savings schemes were irregular and records were not maintained properly in several SPOs. Groups should make savings a standard prerequisite for membership. Furthermore, individual savings should be promoted at group level.

The WGOs should be given intensive training in credit appraisal, use of savings funds, supervision, loan collection, and monitoring. The WGOs should avoid over-financing women members, particularly those who tend to borrow under pressure from their husbands. WGOs represent vital resources for the project at the local level. They should be rewarded with incentives and recognition of better performance. It is also recommended that women SFG members be assisted in the identification of projects which contribute directly to women's welfare. Drinking water supply, planting of fast-growing fuelwood trees, and provision of alternative cooking energy sources represent potential impact points.

To introduce an element of participatory evaluation, annual meetings at each SPO should be held with the aim to have the views of the SFG members expressed and brought to the attention of SFDP regional officials as well as head office staff. A compilation of the results of all those annual SPO meetings should be prepared by the Evaluation and MIS Division and presented to SFDP and ADBN top management.

ADBN should continue its present policy to decentralize monitoring functions and capabilities. Monitoring is an integral part of each management information system. It should be made operational, according to needs, at all levels involved in the bank's SFDP programme.

Monitoring and evaluation functions with regard to the SFDP programme should be separated. Impact evaluation should be sub-contracted to a local institution. A work plan with

clearly specified outputs is required. The latter would reflect targets set out in the annual work programme for number and type of submitted reports with defined quality standards.

Lessons learned

Lessons on Credit Projects or projects with credit component

For IFAD, the provision of low cost funds to a Rural Financial Institution (RFI) must be justified in terms of an acceptable, minimum leakage of lent funds to "non-poor" groups, coupled with an assured sustainability of the RFI reflecting minimum default rates and profit margins. This can be ensured by: (i) distinguishing between groups as to whether or not credit is an appropriate solution; (ii) reducing leakage through cost-effective targeting; and (iii) introducing a regulatory framework which rewards repayment performance, i.e. lending rates become flexible to reflect actual risk in lending.

Projects that are predominantly credit based need to employ at least one farming system economist (within the financial institution). Such professionals would assist in setting out guidelines and perform supervision so that credit is not provided when required technology support is not available, and repayment for the debtor and/or the community is not assured.

The lending rate of the RFI needs to include sufficient provision for defaults so as to ensure pre-determined financial break-even conditions. To achieve financial and institutional sustainability,

rural financial institutions to become successful are advised to introduce an incentive framework with rewards to borrowers and groups that perform well in credit recovery and savings mobilization. Such a performance based system has been set out in the Completion Evaluation Report (Annex 6). Groups are classified as to their performance inter alia in recovery (AA groups: fully credit worthy; AB groups: credit worthy; and AC groups: not yet credit worthy). Borrowers who perform well should be rewarded inter alia through lower interest rates, and/or other incentives, so as to reflect their lower credit risk. Groups who repay in line with contractual obligation are rewarded, others pay a higher cost for the credit obtained, and/or are denied access. The distinctions made facilitate analysis of needs and potential of credit groups, and subsequent training delivery.

Lessons on extension activities

For food insecure households, extension support should precede and replace the singular emphasis on credit expansion. Credit provision must consider livelihood levels and repayment capacity. A large proportion of "small farmers" in Nepal live below the subsistence (poverty) level. The first step should be to define those households that are "food insecure", so as to assist them through agricultural extension, skill development and other support services, and employment generation programmes. The second step would be to determine the proportion of this group that can productively use and repay credit. Use of joint liability or group collateral for this group could contribute importantly, at the margin, to lowering the direct cost of lending.

Lessons on Monitoring and Evaluation

In relation to M&E activities: (i) It was unrealistic to have assumed that ADBN could take the full responsibility of all monitoring and evaluation functions given its lack of experience in impact monitoring. During the first phase of the project impact studies were subcontracted to Agricultural Project Support Centre (APROSOC); and (ii) it should be remembered that the supervision missions paid limited attention to monitoring and evaluation issues. With more attention given to M&E, corrective measures to improve the system could have been taken much earlier in the life of the project.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Sao Tome et Principe: Second Artisanal Fisheries Development Project

Sao Tome and Principe  
December 1992

The project

Introduction

The USD 3.3 million Second Artisanal Fisheries Development Project was approved in December 1990 and became effective in April 1992. The IFAD loan amounts to SDR 1.2 million, co-financing is provided by the French FAC for FF 4.5 million. Government and beneficiaries contribute USD 1 million. Disbursement in November 1994 was 41%. The Cooperating Institution is UNDP/OPS which carried out a total of five supervision missions.

The project is the followup to the first phase, focussed mostly on the distribution of imported fishing equipment, outboard engines and spare parts, and on providing maintenance facilities. Although there was a significant increase in production (according to the estimates of the Mid-term Evaluation of December 1988 and the Mid-term Review of March 1990) a number of constraints and issues arose during the implementation of the first phase, namely that:

  • project autonomy generated a certain degree of confusion between Project Management and the Fisheries Directorate in terms of responsibilities for the project and for the formulation of a policy of coherent interventions enabling a more rational use of the total fish resources of the country:
  • no mechanism to channel the foreign exchange that was needed to finance imports had been established. Thus, foreign exchange was only available through the project or from the Japanese grant;
  • frequent unavailability of fuel constituted an increasing constraint in maintaining a sufficient return on investment in boats and engines. Credit repayments to the "Caisse Populaire" (on loans for engine purchase) severely dropped at the end of the first phase;
  • the policy of Dobra devaluation, combined with the artificial prices practiced by the project (distributing equipment from the Japanese grant) made it impossible for private traders to be involved in the market. The project became the sole supplier and distributor of equipment and spare parts for the artisanal sub-sector;
  • the project had administered a sizeable stock of items for which no or little demand existed, which consequently remained unsold; and
  • support to associations, technical advice and extension on improvement of fishing techniques were insignificant.

The second phase was aimed at maintaining the increased level of investment and production capacity achieved under the first phase (while expanding the total area covered by the project to include the island of Principe); from the implementation of the latter, the following lessons and considerations were drawn and incorporated in the design of the second phase:

  • a clear responsibility for the implementation of the project needed to be established by integrating it in the Fisheries Directorate, whose strategic planning capacity would then be strengthened;
  • a mechanism to earmark foreign exchange revenue in the industrial sector for use in the artisanal subsector would need to be set up;
  • distribution and service activities ought to be turned over to the private sector within the framework of the liberalisation of the economy; prices would then be adjusted gradually in order to provide a competitive market environment and a better basis for fishermen to make their projections and return calculations;
  • fishermen's associations should constitute a basis for community development once provided with appropriate training, technical advice, extension and management support. They would need to fulfil a function in the expression of demands for inputs and would also assure the retail function vis-à-vis their members as well as fuel distribution;
  • in view of reinforcing human resources, it was deemed necessary to provide substantial technical assistance, particularly in order to improve existing fishing techniques.

Objectives

The objectives of the project are to: i) increase the well being and income of the artisanal fishermen and the saleswomen; ii) contribute to the formulation of a rational sector policy; iii) develop autonomous fishermen organisations and to establish a financing mechanism which would assure the sustainability of inputs supply; and iv) consolidate the production potential which had been built up during the first project.

The project's strategy takes into account the limited fish resources within reach of the artisanal fishermen and focusses on consolidation of previous investments and the increase in their productivity rather than on extending new investments in boats, engines and fishing gear.

Target group

The target group includes all families that are directly or indirectly involved in the artisanal fishery sub-sector, or about 2 000 fishermen and 2 000 sales women, a total family population of 18 000 persons. Estimated household income from fisheries is about USD 160 per head, less than half the 1990 per capita GDP of USD 322.

Components

The project includes the following four components.

Support to Distribution and Maintenance The project provides the required foreign exchange through an Artisanal Fisheries Development Fund (AFDF), to be established, for the import by the private sector of fishing gear, replacement outboard engines and spare parts. Demand estimates will be provided by the Fishermen Associations. Foreign exchange counterpart funds will be used to establish a credit line in the Caisse Populaire to allow Associations to buy the required inputs. The central project repair workshop will be privatized and regional private workshops will be supported.

Extension Development and Institutional Support The project initiates an extension programme focussing on the improved use of traditional techniques. To bring more of the open water fish within reach of the artisanal fishermen, tests with the Fish Concentration Device (FCD), successfully applied elsewhere, will be undertaken. Major improvements in sailing techniques are possible and the project will undertake a demonstration programme. Technical assistance for 30 months have been included. Institutional support will involve the construction of additional office space and the provision of several support missions by short term experts in unsold stock management and disposal, sectoral policy formulation, and in the design of operating procedures of the AFDF.

Support to Associations The project will support 10 existing Fishermen Associations and will promote the creation of new association on beaches where they do not exist. They will be active in input supply and support will be provided in the construction of community centers. Women groups will be promoted which will procure boats to be rented out to fishermen. A pilot exercise with a women group managing a fish transport vehicle will be undertaken. Training will be provided to repair mechanics and selected NGOs will implement health activities in fishermen villages. Consultant support is foreseen for the training of project staff and for the design of a simple accounting system for Associations.

Monitoring and Evaluation Taking into account a planned project for the evaluation of maritime resources and an ongoing UNDP project for price and market statistics, the support to M&E remains limited to the analysis of the data generated by these external sources and to the establishment of links between project activities and the data provided. A project reporting system will be drawn up. IFAD will provide consultant support to design the M&E system. Staff training and funds for specific studies have been included.

Organisation and implementation

The Fisheries Directorate, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will be responsible for the implementation of the project. A Technical Department in the Fisheries Directorate will be established which will include the extension and community development staff, while a Monitoring and Evaluation Unit will be attached to the Directorate.

The AFDF will be established as an account in the Central Bank. The annual allocation of foreign currency is made available to the Chamber of Commerce, who will be responsible for the import of required inputs. The Caisse Populaire will manage the credit line for Associations. The extension programme will be implemented by the Technical Department at both islands of the country. Test results of the FCDs and of improved fishing techniques will be recorded in detail in collaboration with the M&E unit. The institutional support component will be implemented by the project management. Support to Associations will be implemented both by the project and the Cooperative League of the USA, (CLUSA), an NGO.

Context and results

Context

Under government's macro-economic policies, the currency has been devalued from Db145=1 USD in 1990 to Db960=1USD in November 1994 or by 85%. Simultaneously energy subsidies have been abolished, nearly doubling the price of petrol. Inputs for fisheries have been subsidized with the help of Japanese grant funding which terminates in 1995. Fish selling prices have followed the general inflation trend and as a result, in commercial market prices and in the absence of subsidies, the squeeze on the gross margin is increasing for fishermen using techniques which depend largely on imported items for its operations such as fuel, spare parts and replacement of engines. Mission estimates indicate negative returns on motorized boats using imported fishing gear. With the official recognition of the parallel foreign exchange market, the scarcity of foreign exchange for the purpose of trade imports has been largely eliminated and the need for the establishment of the AFDF is no longer obvious. After the establishment of a new government,in October 1994, the fisheries sector became the responsibility of the new Ministry of Trade, Industry, Tourism, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Results

The lack of data refering to the situation before the project, even on a sample basis related to a limited number of beaches, does not allow the effects of the activities financed to be measured. No general trend of production increase or improvement of the quality of life can therefore be identified. Nevertheless, on the beaches visited by the Mission there appeared to be a strong demand by the fishermen for spare parts, fishing gear and related short-term credit, as well as a widespread need for the transportation and conservation of fish.

As far as the formulation of a fishing resource management policy is concerned, no progress has been made nor has an attempt been started in this sense.

In the third year of the project, the objective of developing autonomous male and female fishermen organisations linked to the private sector for their supply in fishing gear and fuel could not be reasonably attained. Nevertheless, the underlying conditions that will enable these objectives to be met in the fifth year were not found at the time of the evaluation. This situation is revealed by the slight diversification and the artificial, subsidized network of the economic activities of the associations, and the lack of an autonomous financing mechanism.

Target Group: the 29 associations that have been set up (23 fishermen, 6 palayés) gather less than half of the expected total beneficiaries of 4 000 persons, with a marked imbalance toward the fishermen.

Project achievements are reviewed below by component. Start-up was delayed by lengthy procedures with co-financier FAC and negotiations with CLUSA on an implementation contract. Field activities started in 1993 and by the time of the Mid-Term Evaluation, 20 months of experience had been accumulated.

Support to distribution and maintenance

In early 1993, the government received a third equipment grant for the artisanal fisheries sub-sector from Japan. It included boats, outboard engines, nets, cloth for sails, ropes, lines, hooks, etc. Sale prices were set by the Ministry of Trade at about 10% of commercial prices, which induced leakages to other sectors or to other countries in the region. Under these conditions, involvement of private traders in the supply of similar inputs at normal market prices was not possible. In view of the difficulty of mobilizing the private sector for the supply of fishery inputs, the project promoted the establishment in 1993 of a Federal Union of Fishermen Associations (FUFA), which however would have to face the same financial constraints. In March 1994, the Artisanal Fisheries Development Fund (AFDF) was formally established by decree. Operating modalities still need to be defined. As the AFDF is not yet effective, the counterpart funds for the credit line also have not been generated. Two draft subsidiary agreements with the Caisse Populaire have been drawn up which need adjustments to reflect the project intentions better (interest rates, loan ceilings, signing authority). The central workshop was privatized without a prior feasibility study. Essential equipment for outboard engine repair was removed and activities now focus on vehicle repair. Due to the lack of credit, strengthening of regional workshops did not take place.

Extension development and institutional support

The external projects which were supposed to generate information about fish resources and the structure of the artisanal sector have not provided the expected results, which made the design and implementation of an extension programme difficult. The project has itself undertaken an inventory of the, rather selective, fishing techniques in use. Productivity can be raised with simple means. Boat design can be improved to reduce wear and tear. Sailing techniques and the use of sailing in up-wind directions are constrained by the low quality of sail material in use (old polyester sacks) and by the design of the sail. After the first eight Fish Concentrating Devices (FDC) installations, five were damaged or disappeared: two for technical reasons, one was destroyed by a fisherman and the other two disappeared for unknown reasons. Initial results seem to indicate a substantial increase in productivity per boat from 1-2 kg of fish per hour without FCD to about 4-5 kg/hr with FCD. Institutionally, the project has not been integrated in the structure of the Fisheries Directorate and operates as a separate autonomous entity directly reporting to the Minister. The new project office was finalized in October 1994. None of the consultant support foreseen has been used.

Support to associations

At present there are 23 fishermen associations, including a total of 1 043 members or an average of 45 members per association. The six associations of trade women are smaller with membership ranging between 15 and 25. In most associations, the accounting system is still embryonic and does not allow members to exercise an effective control over management. Economic activities mostly include the sale of fishing equipment and gear with pricing policies not always discriminating against non-members, thereby demotivating members to pay their regular contributions. Several associations are also involved in the operation of a small store where essential consumer goods are sold. On the whole, economic activities are only yielding marginal results because of the lack of initial capital. Stocks normally are worth about USD 50. Three out of the six women groups have already acquired a motorized boat which is rented out to fishermen. The provision of a transport vehicle to the women group in Santa Catarina has not yet been realized. A total of 12 Community Centers have been constructed, of which four were initiated under the first phase of the project, six are still in progress and four more are being programmed. Because of lack of people's involvement, some centers were constructed in locations or for reasons which were not accepted by the associations. Several centers served as campaign offices for party staff during the last election campaigns. Association members receive recurrent training under the CLUSA support programme. Project efforts in training have been more sporadic. Training of mechanics has not been initiated. Instead of supporting NGO's in health programmes, the project has trained 12 members of associations as health agents and equipped them with a batch of medicines including antibiotics and requiring the use of syringes. The mission considers that, taking into account the basic training level of the agents, this operation carries a definite health risk.

Monitoring and evaluation

The staff responsible for M&E was sent to Portugal for a six month training course, mainly in handling of computer programmes. While some of the required information has not been provided by external projects such as the Resource Evaluation Project, other detailed information on the functioning of associations is available at CLUSA but it has not been presented or analyzed properly in project progress reports. Such reports have not been produced to an acceptable standard during the whole course of the project. IFAD support in the drawing up of the M&E system, as foreseen at appraisal, has not been realized.

Project management and administration

Project management is weak and lacks initiative. Programming of activities on the basis of the project strategy and the corresponding budgeting has not been undertaken. Together with the lack of proper reporting, this makes it impossible to compare what was intended to be achieved with actual results and with the corresponding expenditures. Financial reports of project expenditures have been prepared, but they do not relate to project activities but to categories of expenditures. The only available audit report covers 1993 and is not up to standard.

Supervision

The Cooperating Institution, UNDP/OPS, has carried out five supervision missions since the beginning of the project. The most important constraints affecting proper implementation had already been identified by the supervision mission of November 1992. These include: the weak capacities of the project management, especially in programming, budgeting and M&E; the need to monitor closely the financial return of using outboard engines in view of rising fuel, maintenance and replacement costs; and the requirement to explore the potential of improved sailing techniques, the improvement of traditional fishing techniques and the support to processing and marketing. These issues are repeatedly mentioned by all subsequent supervision missions, but no solutions have been applied. The Evaluation mission considers that a better translation of these issues into operational recommendations should have been sought in order to guide and stimulate improvement in project performance. This would have involved the actions that the Mission recommends below: the provision of technical assistance in project management, the replacement of the staff responsible for M&E by an economist, the modification of the proposals for the supply of inputs and the shift in emphasis towards non-motorized techniques. The Evaluation mission took note of the commitment in November 1993 of the Minister of Trade, Industry, Tourism and Fisheries vis-à-vis the supervision mission to raise the sales prices of equipment received under the Japanese grant to commercial levels, which was not subsequently applied in practice.

Recommendations

Objectives and strategy In the present and future macro framework, high import intensity technologies are not sustainable. The maintenance of the production potential thus should be achieved by the application of low costs, alternative technologies, based on the use of FCDs, improved fishing techniques and use of the sail.

Target group The target group should not change, but a greater effort needs to be undertaken to raise the participation rate of women, which at present is 10%.

Support to Distribution and Maintenance A simple inputs import scheme, based on quick turn-over to avoid financial and storage costs can be implement by the Chamber of Commerce. Traders will replenish the required foreign exchange from their own sources. Project support to Associations will be provided to establish Revolving Funds through matching grants. This will allow Associations to buy their inputs cash, avoiding the need for credit. The consultancy on stock disposal needs to be undertaken urgently as a large unsold stock is kept by the project under quickly deteriorating conditions. The essential equipment needs to be placed back in the privatized central workshop and the project should support a private workshop on Principe island.

Extension Development and Institutional Support It is recommended that the project undertakes its own, limited data gathering concerning an inventory of fishermen, boats, engines, fishing gear used and the basic parameters required to estimate stock evolution. A demonstration programme on improved fishing techniques needs to be implemented. A consultancy on improved boat design needs to be undertaken to improve the lifespan of boats. An exchange programme with fishermen from Mozambique to improve sailing techniques is recommended. FCDs should be constructed with as much fishermen participation as possible. The technical assistance contracted should be extended by one year to implement the demonstration and FCD programme. Transport vehicle management should be undertaken on a pilot basis by two women groups. A female volunteer should be recruited to implement a fish conservation and processing programme with women groups. The consultancy on policy formulation should be undertaken quickly, now that government has changed.

Support to Associations Project support should focus on monitoring and further training of existing associations. The contract with CLUSA therefore needs to be extended as foreseen for two years. Project staff in Community Development should be trained in Burkina Faso. Mechanics training should be undertaken as foreseen and the design of simple accounting systems needs to be realized. Further implementation of the community centers and health activities needs to be reconsidered to improve people's participation in the former and to reduce village pharmacies to current medicines in the latter.

Monitoring and evaluation

An economist should be recruited to head the M&E Department of the project. A three-months support mission by an international expert will allow the establishment of a simple, operational system on the basis of selected indicators. The M&E system will be closely coordinated with the CLUSA system and some additional work to be undertaken by CLUSA will be subject of a covenant to the contract with the project.

Project management and audit

The management capacities of the project staff are insufficient and need strengthening. It is therefore recommended that an expert in project management be recruited for 15 months, to assist the project director in all his tasks, including the implementation of the above described recommendations. It is essential to carry out as soon as possible an audit of all project accounts, beginning from the first disbursement in 1992 up to the end of 1994. If necessary, further disbursements should be postponed to enforce this recommendation.

Costs and financing

The impact of the recommendations on the remaining project funds has been estimated. It is based on the project budget for the last two implementation years and on the recommendations of the Mission. It assumes the discontinuation of support to regional workshops; construction of community centers; credit financing of a vehicle for women groups (for which an NGO has expressed interest); the health programme; and the support mission to define the operating procedures of the AFDF. Other support missions have been shortened. The costs of input distribution has been reduced by the assumed higher turn-over of stocks.

Recommended new activities include the funding of the matching grants for the revolving funds of associations; the development and improvement of boats; the support to marketing and processing, including the recruitment of a female volunteer; the fishermen exchange programme with the IFAD project in Mozambique; the training of Community Development staff in the GRAAP method in Burkina Faso; the procurement of three motorcycles for the monitrices; and the recruitment of 15 months of management technical assistance. A contingencies allowance has been foreseen.

The Evaluation Mission has taken care to design its recommended adjustments in such a way that they do not constitute a substantial change in the scope of the project, nor in its objectives, components, modalities of execution, target group, procurement and financing. Therefore, the adjustments can be accommodated through a routine amendment of the Loan Agreement to take on the financing of so far unforeseen activities, including the extension programme which also covers the activities to improve boat design; and technical assistance for management. Two categories, Extension Programme and Management Support should be created for this purpose. A reallocation between categories is thus required and a proposal is in the main report.

Follow-up

Following approval of the Mid-Term Evaluation Report by IFAD, it is recommended that the conclusion and recommendations be reviewed and discussed with the government and that assurances on the following specific issues be obtained:

  • the prolongation of the extension programme, including the maintaining of the present expert in place, up to June 1996 on project funding. This is the most effective manner to complete the foreseen programme of putting in place of the FCD's and to extend improved traditional fishing techniques. Alternatives through the mobilisation of additional external funding from the French Cooperation or others carry a high risk of delay, as experienced in the beginning of the project, and would jeopardize the required synchronization with the rest of the project activities;
  • the implementation of a policy of real prices for inputs provided by external sources on grant or other concessional terms. This assurance is crucial for the establishment of an environment in which privatisation of input supply becomes feasible;
  • the amendment of the Loan Agreement along the lines proposed in this report;
  • the carrying out as soon as possible of an audit of all project accounts since 1992, according to internationally acceptable standards.

The assurances on the pricing framework and on the audit are considered of such importance that IFAD may consider to make them conditions for further disbursement.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Minya Agricultural Development Project (1992)

Egypt  
December 1992

Interim evaluation

The Minya governorate constitutes a project area of 223 500 ha of which about 188 120 ha are under cultivation. The cultivated area is generally flat, with fine to medium textured relatively fertile alluvial soils. The climate is characterized by a cool winter from November to March and a hot summer from May to September. The population in 1991 was estimated at 3.50 million, compared to 2.06 million in 1986.

The majority of land is cultivated by small farmers operating as owners, registered tenants, and sharecroppers or as a mixture of all three. In 1991, 44% of all farms were less than one feddan in size and 81% were under three feddans. The cropping pattern (at SAR) was based on a well established two to three-year rotation which had, until recently, been determined by government policy. The main crops are wheat, cotton, berseem, broad beans, maize and soybeans. Livestock are important, with 245 000, 305 000 and 604 000 cattle, buffalo and small ruminants respectively reported in 1991. This reflects a marked increase since the early 1980s in cattle and buffalo and a decrease in camels and donkeys, as a consequence of mechanization.

Project design and objectives

Target group

Smallholder/tenant farming families cultivating holdings of less than three feddans, with an average per capita income, from farming, of USD 75 or less were the target group. While the project was designed to allow extension services to make contact with virtually all farmers in the project area, only about a third (115 500 farming families) were expected to actually benefit from contact with project activities. As well, institutions and their employees are expected to benefit from training, better operating means and incentive payments additional to their salaries.

Objectives and components

The SAR stated that the project "supports the major objectives of the Government's agricultural policy which is to attain as much self-sufficiency in food as possible and to generate foreign exchange". Furthermore, the project was to provide the agricultural sector with the means to increase farm incomes and the standards of living of the people. Crop production increases were to be achieved primarily through improved farm practices rather than increased inputs. The contention was that currently available technology for crop production was adequate but that many farmers needed access to it. To provide access, the project was to re-organize the extension (and to a lesser degree, research) service using the Training and Visit (T&V) System of Extension. To ensure that the recommended crop packages could be implemented, the project was to strengthen some aspects of crop inputs supply and credit facilities. By taking these actions, the project would assist the Government of Egypt (GOE) in implementing its policy of merging research and extension at the governorate, district and field levels.

The project was to achieve its objectives through investment in institutional strengthening; provision for a better supply of a range of agricultural inputs; and through credit. Project activities were to be phased over a six-year period to ensure that sufficient time was allowed for the installation of the T&V system and the procurement and physical construction of all the necessary infrastructure. The following components and sub-components were to be included:

Agricultural development

  • Extension
  • Research
  • Rural stores credit
  • Farm development machinery credit
  • Machinery repairs shop credit
  • Seed processing
  • Seed testing and inspection

Livestock development

  • Rabbit production
  • Chick rearing units
  • Animal health service
  • Abbassieh vaccine centre
  • Artificial insemination
  • Feed mixing plant

Project Coordination Unit (PCU)

Technical Assistance

Expected effects and assumptions

In terms of production, the project was expected to increase the output of most crops grown for which a proven technological package of improvements already exists. By project maturity (Year 9), average increases for all crops were to be about 25% and would range from 44% in the case of maize to only 11% for cotton which has good potential for yield increase but whose production was constrained by government policies. Production benefits from ruminant stock were to result principally from improved fodder availability and improved reproduction performance. Meat production was expected to increase by 40% and milk by 21%, while poultry meat production was expected to increase by about 22%. It was expected that net income increases for farmers highly responsive to project activities would rise by 92% and, for those below average receptivity, by 33%.

The existing extension service was to be reorganized and the T&V system introduced under the guidance of an internationally recruited T&V extension specialist. Where possible, women extension agents were to be recruited to promote small livestock enterprises and better nutrition. Village Extension Workers (VEWs) were expected to reach women engaged in farming activities through their contact farmers. The replicability of the T&V system for other parts of Egypt was to be assessed on the basis of its performance under MADP.

Links between extension and two research centres were to be strengthened through the training and the development of on-farm research based on assessments of farmers' needs.

Evaluation

In accordance with the terms of reference the mission focused on agricultural development essentially as affected by the project's innovative extension system, the appropriateness of crop recommendations developed by research, the extension/research link and the projects' credit component. Agricultural development was taken primarily as crop development; though not part of the focus of the evaluation, some consideration was given to livestock and project management as well. Major policy changes have taken place in Egypt since the inception of the project ten years ago; thus what may have been considered to be appropriate at appraisal may not be appropriate today. For instance, agricultural input supplies were largely government provided and the large-scale commercial production of livestock was in government hands, two situations which are being changed. The mission has tried to keep policy changes in mind during its deliberations.

In order to assess the overall status of the project, the mission reviewed IDA's supervision reports, progress reports prepared by the project and reports prepared by consultants contracted by the project for specific activities. The assessment of the MADP was carried out together with a similar assessment of the Fayoum Agricultural Development Project (FADP) so that experiences from these projects, which have many similarities, could be taken into account by a forthcoming Livestock Production Intensification Project (LPIP) appraisal mission. The mission spent nine days in the project area during which it visited all the nine districts, the two relevant research stations, credit banks and conducted a workshop on T&V experiences which included senior staff at governorate and district levels.

Implementation context

In the context of the general economy the project was conceived at the end of a period of economic boom but implemented during a period of relative austerity. This situation almost certainly contributed to problems with local funding.

By August 1992, some 62.7% of the IFAD loan had been disbursed. Major delays in utilizing funds (particularly the "unallocated" category (not used at all), credit, vehicles and equipment) were caused by government bureaucratic procedures, inter-ministerial delays and difficulties with the letting of tenders under internationally competitive bidding. During the first half of the project life, implementation was constrained by interrupted flows of local funds for incentive salary payment to extension staff, lack of funds for the strengthening of research and extension linkages and for the establishment of the M&E unit (MEU). This situation seriously impeded the proper implementation of the project.

In order to overcome this financial constrain, a grant of USD 752 000 was provided in December 1986 by the Government of the Netherlands through IFAD. The grant was used to complement the local fund contribution of the GOE by financing part of the incentive payments to the extension service staff, all research and extension linkages incentive payments and other recurrent costs incurred by the research scientists and all expenses of establishing an MEU under the PCU.

Project achievements

The project has been instrumental in increasing farm output and strengthening, through the T&V system, the MOALR's advisory service. However, the base for the strengthened extension service as it stands, is fragile and dependent on regular incremental funding.

Infrastructure. The extension centres (and a training center in Minya) have been successfully completed; they provide suitable bases for district staff to operate from, as well as locations for routine VEW training. The MADP had enormous difficulties, however, in implementing activities which involved the production of detailed engineering designs and advertising tenders according to internationally accepted standards and procedures.

Staffing. The project successfully recruited VEWs from within existing complements of field staff. In July 1992, there were some 1 300 VEWs working with the MADP. As well, the necessary numbers of Village Extension Supervisors (VESs to supervise VEWs) and Subject Matter Specialists (SMSs to train the VESs and VEWs) were successfully recruited. Training of SMSs by researchers substantially improved the ability of the latter to teach VEWs existing and new agricultural technologies. Intensive training increased the confidence and ability of the VEWs, and this, combined with incentive payments, better working conditions and a set programme, motivated and enabled the extension service to communicate better with farmers.

Monitoring and Evaluation. The establishment and re-location (from Cairo) of the MEU has added a valuable dimension to the project. Regular surveys on adoption and re-adoption of recommendations as well as farmers' attitudes have been conducted since project inception. However, survey results need more critical evaluation so that full benefits can be made of the mass of data collected.

Effects assessment and sustainability

Effects on Production. Total production has increase very substantially. While much of this upsurge in production must be attributed to other factors, including better varieties and better crop prices, the fact that yields for wheat and maize exceed national averages and the fact that adoption and re-adoption rates for extension recommendations are high strongly points to substantial project impact. The fact that production has increased at a substantially higher rate than population implies that a positive effect on food availability has occurred. Average farm incomes have risen substantially in nominal terms. The deflated income increase for a typical form model corresponds approximately to the SAR's target. There are no data available on what proportion of the increased production was generated by the project's target group, i.e. farmers with less than three feddans of arable land.

Effect on Institutional Strengthening. The project directed substantial attention to supporting the extension activities, both in terms of training and the provision of better operational facilities. As well, the technical capacity of the project's VEWs has been raised, and they are now in a much more secure position when interacting with farmers. While still less than desirable, the linkage between extension and research has been improved, mainly with regard to training. The MADP showed that direct contractual links with research institutes were an effective way of developing specific crop packages and conducting on-farm trails. This example should be generalized for further improvements in future.

Sustainability. One of the objectives of the projects was to develop a sustainable T&V system which could be replicated in other governorates. While there is no doubt that the T&V system is a substantial improvement on the pre-project situations, it has been dependant on substantial incentives and to a lesser degree, expensive inputs of transport. The mission accepts that with the very low wages, incentives are essential (and, indeed, can be usefully manipulated to improve performance) but doubts whether the GOE is prepared to fund and maintain them at a sufficiently high level to sustain the T&V system in its present form.

The MOALR within the governorates is grossly over-staffed (there are numerous employees outside the T&V system). A much smaller cadre of T&V workers who are better trained, better paid and adequately equipped is likely to be more cost-effective in transferring technology. However, it is unlikely that the authorities would accept substantial sudden staff reductions to allow the establishment of such a T&V force. This is a critical issue as to whether an effective extension system can be developed and sustained. Without project funding the T&V system in its current form is not sustainable.

Main issues and recommendations

The rationale between the LPIP and the MADP is, in essence, the same. The following recommendations apply to the LPIP and similar rural development projects.

Organization and Management

The operation of the project was hampered by MOALR's hesitancy in delegating the authority for implementation to the governorate. The two major lessons learnt are, firstly, that the authority and full responsibility for decision making and financial expenditure should be with the governorate, and secondly, that projects should have effective representation at national level. An effective National Coordinating Committee (NCC) could have dealt with the issue of GOE local funding. Thus, projects should ensure that project control (both the financial and implementation authority) is at governorate level. However, to ensure that the projects programs can be implemented, co-operation (particularly regarding financial cash flows) needs to be secured at national level. For this purpose, a functional NCC should be set up. It should be possible to improve the implementation efficiency in future projects by streamlining project organizational arrangements. In particular, the position of Project Coordinator, which is redundant should be suppressed. The PCUs should continue to act as service units run by Managers while Governorate PCCs should assume the full and ultimate authority for the coordination of project implementation. The line agencies would bear full responsibility for the implementation of their programs.

To facilitate relationships between the NCC and the project, a Project Services Office (PSO) should be located with the MOALR's Foreign Agricultural Relations Offices; it should not have financial control for the project. Its responsibility would be to provide services for the governorate PCUs.

The project would have benefitted had its senior officials been better briefed about organization and management; a short-term "project (turn-key) start up" contract, to translate the SAR into a working document and to organize workshops for senior field staff would have been useful. Thus, the appointment of a short-term "turn-key" rural development consultant at the commencement of new IFAD projects is recommended.

As the procurement of vehicles has been a major bone of contention, the purchase details for vehicles have to be accurately defined at SAR; conversely there must be some flexibility in the ability of a project and IFAD to agree on the purchase of alternative vehicles locally in the interest of a project.

Technology Transfer

While the project adopted and modified the T&V system, a considerable number of problems and weaknesses occurred which led to delays in, and modification to, the programs of work. However, the high level of activity attained by the VEWs and increased production by smallholder provides a clear indication of the merits of the system for Egypt.

The immediate weaknesses to be resolved in the extension system are the increased involvement of farmers in localized adaptive-research constraints analysis and on-farm trials; the broader development of the contact farmers and their individual sub-societal farmers' groups away from the co-operatives to be more representative of the marginalized communities; the establishment of a lasting and effective working research and extension at governorate level; the establishment of a permanently staffed agricultural extension training center for staff and leading farmer training; the establishment of a productive Development Support Communication Section; the development of a well researched women's extension programme of activities; the provision of transport and an operational budget including, in the prevailing economic situation, incentives; an overall improvement to the system and effectiveness of organization and management, and the frequent, objective, monitoring and self-evaluation by management of field programme activities.

Whilst many of the above mentioned weaknesses can be rectified, the major improvements can never be achieved until such time as GOE is able to undertake a complete revision of the civil service bureaucracy, reducing the number of extension field staff by at least 75% and increasing the salaries and allowances within the service to levels appropriate to the economy, in association with the provision for locally planned annual work programs with adequate operational funds and transport.

In line with the GOE's policy of reducing the number of public servants and in recognition of the fact that a small but well motivated and better trained extension force could effectively man a modified T&V extension system it is recommended that the ratio of VEW to farmer be increased to at least 1:500.

To allow such a modified system (or indeed any T&V system) to function on a sustainable basis, the following key subsidiary recommendations are made:

funds for realistic levels of incentives must be secured. At negotiation this must be a "critical issue";

payment of incentives for all personnel involved in the project must be linked to performance be it in training or field performance; or both;

all SMSs and VEWs must be trained to a higher level in areas specifically related to the project;

the responsibility for agricultural regulatory functions must be transferred away from T&V VEWs;

a fully illustrated T&V extension manual should be developed for the LPIP project illustrating the system of operations; and

technical material should be developed (and/or simplified) and distributed as well as illustrated technical packages to farmers and village schools. Much more use must be made of communication through radio, television and the audio-visual media.

As a prerequisite to implementing productive women's activities, the following steps should be taken:

a well qualified and experienced woman should be appointed as the women's development advisor to each of the governorate's PCCs; whilst at the same time advising the Directors of Extension and the Heads of Women's extension programming;

the involvement of women should be developed and managed through the formation of a Women's Working Group at governorate level, combining the available resources of extension with those of all the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in the governorate working on women's activities at village level;

a detailed socio-economic survey of the rural women's situation should be undertaken. The results of this survey together with a "pooling" of locally available experience and the identification of reasons for the failure of women's activities would establish a more solid basis for project activities; and

the proposal, in the LPIP, to establish women's centres (ten in each district of the three governorates) should be placed in abeyance until the actions recommended have been undertaken and conclusions drawn.

Regular monthly workshops should be held at district level involving senior extension staff, district SMSs and all other agencies, including Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit (BDAC), involved in development to formulate detailed monthly work programs which would then be implemented in a cohesive manner.

The LPIP assumed that there was adequate livestock technology available and that it merely needs to be applied. The appraisal team should check this assumption thoroughly.

Credit

The main credit line (machinery) was ill-conceived, with the result that the 1 000 or so beneficiaries (out of 228 000 farmers in the governorate) received average loans of about Egyptian Pound (LE) 5 600 and represented the largest 3-4% of landowners. Thus, on the basis of MADP experience the following is recommended:

funds should be directed at specified smallholder activities geared to match the resources of the farmers and a ceiling should be placed on the size of loans to help in spreading potential benefits;

while there are proven activities accepted by BDAC, others need to be presented as commercially viable packages while some need further commercial testing. To strengthen BDAC's capacity to update activities and to strengthen new ones, funds should be made available to the recruitment of a practically-oriented person from the private sector specifically for this task; and

a mechanism allowing non-heizah cardholders to access BDAC funds for viable activities should be developed.

With specific regard to credit in the LPIP, the following recommendations were made:

the appraisal mission should firstly confirm that lack of credit is, in fact, constraining smallholder livestock activities. PBDAC has numerous credit lines through its own sources as well as foreign assistance monies available particularly for traditional types of credit such as poultry, goats and sheep. These livestock make up 60% of the proposed loan portfolio in the LPIP;

some of the assumptions made in formulating the lending proposals should be re-examined at appraisal. For instance, the numbers of goats and sheep to be purchased through the project amount to about one-third of the governorates' current numbers; as well, the project is to lend for about 17 times the total number of chickens present;

both financial soundness and logistical supports requirements for smallholder poultry enterprises need to be carefully examined at appraisal. In the light of experience are poultry, given the now high cost of feed, a viable enterprise for small farmers; and

the LPIP Formulation Report concluded that buffalo enterprises are not financially sound; the mission calculated, on the assumption that the animal is fed by farm produced fodder and crop residues (which it did not cost), that the enterprise could accumulate a substantial net benefit. As well, the fact remains that the buffalo is popular with rural dwellers; it is recommended that the appraisal should look more closely at the economic/social importance of the buffalo in the smallholder farming system.

Lessons learned

Given that a T&V system along classical lines (ie low VEW to farmer ratio) cannot be locally funded an alternative system, based on a much wider VEW to farmer ratio, serviced by a better trained, better paid and adequately equipped extension force is likely to be more cost effective. IFAD, in conjunction with other donors, should encourage the GOE to move along these lines. Any future IFAD interventions in extension should gear the size of its operations for the amount of recurrent operating costs that the borrower is able to fund.

Project design should ensure that project control (both the financial and implementation authority) is at governate level. To ensure financial cash flows, especially, projects need effective representation at national level. To facilitate relationships between a functional National Coordinating Committee and the project, a Project Services Office should be located with the MOALR's Foreign Agricultural Relations Offices; it should not have financial control. Its role, solely, would be to look after the projects' interests at national level.

The project would have benefited had its senior officials been better briefed about organizational management. Thus a short-term "project (turn-key) start up" contract, which translates the SAR into a working document and organizes workshops for senior field staff, should be a first step in project implementation.

In the context of the very poorly paid Egyptian public service, realistic levels of incentives must be assured. These incentives must, however, not be seen as "rights" but must be related to performance. Incentives should be a key issue at negotiation.

Producing detailed engineering designs, advertising tenders according to internationally accepted standards and procedures and the procurement of vehicles are major bones of contention. The necessary mechanisms and standards should be clearly defined at negotiation. Realistically, in the matter of vehicles, there should be some flexibility in the interest of a project, should inordinate delays occur in the tendering process, for purchasing vehicles locally.

While projects should endeavour to develop farmer/extension/research linkages as a mechanism for conducting on-farm trials, the mechanism of using contracts between the project and a research institute (without excluding the farmer/extension/research linkage) to conduct targeted research, should be used where appropriate.

In the area of credit it is evident that small farmers can service loans for proven activities. As well BDAC is quite capable of targeting a particular segment of the farming community if given the appropriate incentive. Given this positive situation IFAD should promote the identification and development of more financially profitable activities and, secondly, help BDAC develop mechanisms for increasing its clientele by including farmers, who are not landowners or official tenants, as potential borrowers.

 

LANGUAGES: English

West Beheira Settlement Project (1992)

Egypt  
December 1992

Interim evaluation

Background

The project area consists of about 16 000 feddans and is located about 160 km North-West of Cairo. The topography is flat to gently undulating with soils that are mainly sandy loams (with some clays and medium sands) underlain at depths of 2-6m by medium textured sands of high permeability. Water holding capacity is low and the use of poor quality irrigation water in the past has led to a potential for alkalization. Winters (November to March) are cool, while summers are hot (May to September). Rainfall is negligible.

The main winter crops are wheat, berseem and broadbean with small areas of potato and tomato also grown. Maize dominates summer cropping while significant amounts of watermelon, tomato and squash are produced. At the time of appraisal, yields were quite poor due to problems with drainage, the poor quality of irrigation water and the low use of fertilizer.

Project design and objectives

Target group

The main beneficiaries of the project were to be the 1 620 farm families and 60 families of graduates who were to settle on the reclaimed land, each receiving a farm unit of five and fifteen feddans respectively. Smallholder settlers were to be selected from among applicants currently employed as agricultural labourers or cultivating (as either owners or tenants) small holdings up to a maximum of two feddans in size. In their current occupations, the incomes of these families were likely to fall within the range of Egyptian Pound (LE) 40 - 130 per capita. For comparison, the absolute poverty level of income in rural Egypt was estimated to be LE 60 - 70 per capita. Families were projected to rise to about LE 1 700 per family, or LE 250 - 300 per capita.

Other inhabitants of the project area (and its neighbourhood) would also be potential beneficiaries through improvements to infrastructure, social services and Government services.

Objectives and components

The project area, known as the Mechanised Farm, had originally been developed as a land reclamation venture between 1965 and 1968 through USSR assistance. It was being managed by the West Nubariya Agriculture Company (WNAC) and, in 1977, consisted of some 10 000 feddans. The enterprise, particularly its irrigation and drainage system, had fallen into disrepair and consequently the Mechanised Farm was running at a financial loss. The project was conceived as part of the Government of Egypt's (GOE's) policy to privatize non-profit making public sector activities.

The fundamental concept of the project was to rehabilitate the existing irrigation and drainage infrastructure, provide housing and install adequate infrastructure, such as roads, running water and sewage, to permit the settlement of former employees of the WNAC and other ‘fellaheen' from the surrounding area on the land as farmers. The State Farm was to be transferred to WBSP. Such an approach was consistent with wider economic and agricultural policies of the GOE, which sought to foster the private sector, to withdraw from loss-making public sector enterprises, and to increase food production.

In summary, the objectives of the project as formulated by the Staff Appraisal Report (SAR) were to increase agricultural production; improve income distribution and generate employment by settlement of smallholders; initiate a process of restructuring and strengthening agricultural institutions in the reclaimed lands; and to demonstrate a technical solution to problems of waterlogging and salinity in reclaimed land.

The rationale for attaining the project's objectives was based on the assumption that provided the problems of waterlogging and salinity were overcome through project financed drainage and water supply works, small farmers would utilize land much more effectively than a state owned venture.

The project was to consist of the following main complementary components:

  • construction of a new lined canal to convey irrigation water from the Nasr Canal to the project area;
  • rehabilitation of existing irrigation and drainage works and installation of a buried-pipe drainage system by which an area of 9 013 feddans (net) of reclaimed land would become capable of sustaining an intensive agriculture;
  • land levelling of all farm fields to obtain constant slopes for irrigation and drainage;
  • settlement of 1 620 smallholders and 60 graduate farmers in five villages (one new and the existing four expanded) with extension and rehabilitation of infrastructure (roads, domestic water supply, electrician and telecommunications) social services (schools, health and community development facilities) production and administration facilities (offices, workshops, veterinary clinic, milk collecting etc.) and housing for the smallholders and for the project staff;
  • provision of farm machinery, maintenance of equipment and vehicles; and
  • establishment of an agricultural extension service of the "training and visit" type.

Expected results and assumptions

Settler incomes were expected to rise from a range of LE 40 to LE 130 per capita to LE 250 to LE 300 per capita.

In terms of production the SAR predicted that final yields would approximate the national average despite the much poorer soils. This view was justified by the substantial crop research, training and extension inputs incorporated in the project. An increase in cropping intensity from 155% to 200% was anticipated.

Livestock production was to be dominated by cross-bred (Baladi X Friesian or Brown Swiss) dairy cattle production at full development, and it was assumed that about 80% of the producing cattle would be cross-bred. Production of milk and meat from buffalo or Baladi cattle was to supplement this production. Early and regular meat production was to be provided by rabbits. Rabbit keeping is common in new lands but improved breeds would be introduced to increase production. As with rabbits, new local poultry breeds were to be promoted. It was assumed the project would support about 2 100 cross-bred adult cattle plus their followers, 650 buffalo and 490 Baladi cattle and followers. Some 3 600 mature female rabbits and 40 000 hens were to be kept annually. More than 3 000 beehives were to be located in the project.

Evaluation

Bearing in mind the project's initial difficulties and the resultant reduction in scope, the mission's purpose, in summary, was to draw lessons emerging from the implementation of the WBSP, to assess the impact that the project's components have had on the quality of life of the projects beneficiaries and to brief an appraisal mission1 of the New Lands Agricultural Service Project (NLASP) in order that its findings of the interim evaluation could be taken into account during the appraisal stage of that project.

The Interim Evaluation Mission (IEM) visited the WBSP area for six days in October 1990. Upon returning to Cairo, the mission de-briefed the Appraisal Mission for the NLASP for two days.

Because of the relatively short time available both for field visits and report preparation, the mission was unable to obtain some of the relevant quantitative information. Some of this information was either unavailable, inadequately collated or needed approval from Cairo before it could be released. Accordingly, the findings of the draft Interim Evaluation Report released for comment within IFAD in January, 1991 were necessarily tentative.

This follow-up report has made use of information2 that has become available since the IEM (October 1990) and has taken note of comments on the draft report from within IFAD. The annexes, as presented in the draft Interim Evaluation Report, have not been significantly amended to include information obtained since the IEM's visit. Such information has, however, been incorporated into the Main Report. The report points out that missions which are somewhat hastily convened with restricted time for field work and background study in order to meet the deadlines of other missions (i.e., the IEM with reference to the NLASP appraisal) have, through their very nature, limitations imposed on them.

Project implementation context

Although the project became effective in August 1981 project implementation suffered delays of nearly five years due to bureaucratic wrangling over civil work design, awarding of contracts and supervision. By then, the cooperating institution judged that there would be cost overruns and recommended (and IFAD agreed) a reduction in project scope. Once civil work contracts under the reduced project scope were let in 1986, implementation appeared (according to Supervision Missions) to have progressed well.

Project Achievements

Despite very substantial delays to project implementation and design, the project has significant achievements to its credit. Settlement has been completed basically along the lines advocated in the SAR and farmers' incomes are substantial in comparison to their pre project earnings; the irrigation and drainage works were well designed; the layout of the canals is good and the construction work has generally been of satisfactory quality; the construction of the infrastructure has been well carried out; and environmental impact has been positive.

Drainage and Irrigation. A new Link Canal was successfully completed by the Ministry of Irrigation by 1985, while a total of 9 050 feddans had been reclaimed and rendered productive by May 1991. As well, an additional 1 000 feddans were developed to allow on existing areas to be retained by WNAC for fodder production. The new systems were working satisfactorily at the time of the mission and the water, supplied through the link canal, was of good quality.

Settlement. While the settlement schedule as desired at appraisal could not be adhered to partly because of construction delays and partly because of management's disinclination, at times, to facilitate settlement, some 1 710 farmer employees (1 620 smallholders and 90 graduates) had been allocated farms by 1992. The draft Completion Report (DCR) noted that "at the closing of the project, the settlers were doing well and were producing a variety of crops and livestock, thus it became a model area for agricultural production...".

Infrastructure. By 1992, the project had constructed 495 houses and, at least, 180 private employees under the project had been given "soft loans" to build their own houses. The general infrastructure contract (roads, potable water supply, sewerage and electricity) was completed within a revised contract period and within the budget; no particular difficulties had been experienced and the work was of adequate standard.

Production. The DCR noted that cropping intensity had risen to 200% and that yields were much higher than those estimated at appraisal. The SAR, for instance, predicted maize yields of 1.3 t/feddan whereas yields in 1991 were averaging 3.5 t/feddan.

Monitoring and Evaluation . There is no evidence that M&E was used to any degree as a management tool.

Project effects - immediate and lasting

Effects on Target Group. By 1992, 1 710 farmer WNAC employees had been allocated farmers. According to the DCR surveys net incomes of smallholders have risen to over LE 8 000 per annum which, even allowing for inflation, is above the SAR estimate of LE 1 500. Thus a substantial group of former government employees appear to have been blessed with an alternative (and relatively lucrative) livelihood.

Effects on Production. The DCR noted that the decision to use tile drainage instead of open field drains increased the irrigable area by 10% up to a total of 9 050 feddan. As well, rehabilitation of the overall irrigation network had raised cropping intensity to 200%. Actual yields of traditional field crops were higher than those estimated at appraisal. The DCR noted that production patterns in the area had shifted several times in response to changing commodity prices and new opportunities with 25% of the summer crop area planted to high value seed crops. More fodder crops and less barley had been grown. Independent extrapolations by the IEM concluded that the production increases projected at appraisal had been very substantially exceeded. The incremental meat and milk production is less than anticipated at appraisal probably as a result of delayed settlement. The DCR thought that the SAR production targets would, however, be eventually exceeded.

Effect on Environment. The environmental impact of the project has been clearly positive. The quality of both irrigation and drainage water has improved; thus the possibilities of soil salinity or soil sodicity have been largely eliminated. As well, the improved drainage installed has reduced the danger of high watertables causing waterlogging. The lining of canals appears to have been instrumental in reducing the incidence of bilharziosis, while reduced ponding and waterlogging as a consequence of improved water supply and drainage, is expected to decrease the incidence of mosquitoes and hence malaria.

Effect on Institution Strengthening. There was no evidence of any significant strengthening of institutions which was an objective of the project.

Recommendations

Undoubtedly, the project, despite major delays in construction, has been successful in achieving its main objectives which were to divest the GOE from a non profitable public sector farm by successfully re settling some of the farm's former employees on individual landholdings. To achieve this, the project rehabilitated some 9 050 feddans of land through the construction of an improved irrigation and drainage system. Although some aspects of project implementation were less than satisfactory, the technology used in the imposition of the necessary supply and drainage works indicates that methods of overcoming waterlogging and salinity are available. The project thus fulfilled its role, be it at a substantial cost, as a pilot scheme for future replication. As designed the per capita cost of the project would have been about USD 3 290.

Taking into account the high per capita cost and IFAD's mandate to concentrate its efforts on the poorest sectors of the rural communities, IFAD should continue to pursue its policy of shifting away from lending on capital-intensive large-scale projects which have high per capita investment costs and are, inevitably, subject to major implementation delays.

The project's basic rationale which assumed that, provided the problems of waterlogging and salinity were overcome through project financed drainage and water supply works, small farmers would utilize land much more effectively than a state owned venture, proved correct. In retrospect, given Egypt's history of long delays in tendering of contracts requiring international tendering procedures, the appraisal appears to also have been optimistic with regard to the timetable it set for actual works construction and settlement.

Managerial and institutional factors of inertia should be taken into account at the design stage. If major managerial changes (although desirable) may be impossible or very difficult to implement, planners should recognize this and not include such proposed changes in design.

The following recommendations, which are really basic principles for project design, arose from the WBSP's experiences:

  • administrative complexity should be avoided whenever possible. Where a state company is involved, its role should be clarified at the outset of project design and a well defined and strong project administrative unit should be insisted upon. Project objectives should be simplified whenever possible to avoid coordination problems;
  • monitoring and evaluation activities should be insisted upon starting at project inception. Baseline surveys should be conducted at the beginning of projects and time series data or key parameters should be kept throughout the life of the project;
  • training should be continuous, rather than a "once for all" experience. It must be focussed on the beneficiaries' perceived needs; and
  • with regard to smallholder irrigation, the formation of Water Users' Associations should be a pre requisite to project design together with assurances that realistic operation and management charges be imposed as soon as water is supplied to assure sustainability

Lessons learned

Agricultural service projects which are heavily dependent on the prior completion of extensive (and expensive) infrastructural construction activities should be avoided, particularly in countries which have a civil service culture similar to Egypt.

Coordination among different ministries both at National and Governorate level is fraught with difficulties. The more complex the project design, the greater is the need for coordination, and the greater the resulting problems. Projects should be kept as simple as possible.

From the outset of the project, monitoring and evaluation must receive more attention from management. With no or little feedback, management is put at a severe disadvantage. Baseline surveys and the collection of data on basic parameters (particularly) throughout the life of the project is essential if project impact is to be evaluated in a meaningful manner.

As average GOE wages are low, incentives are a reality of public service life if performance in line with project expectations is to be achieved. An assurance that project implementers are provided with incentives should be a key element in the design of a public sector project in Egypt.

IFAD faced a dilemma during the course of the project in that the GOE changed its mind after project start up as to the manner in which it was to privatize WNAC. Perhaps IFAD should develop a basic policy as to how to deal with such a situation.

Training activities are well received by settlers, particularly when the activities meet their specific needs. Such activities should be based on settlers' actual expressed desires, be timed to minimize interference with farm activities and be a "process", rather than a "once for all" training session.

If a project seeks to implement change, it must recognize that old habits are firmly ingrained. If change is desired, adequate support for managerial interventions and continuous practical training must be provided.

A final lesson, directed at IFAD's management, is that sufficient time should be allowed for evaluation missions to complete their work satisfactorily and that such undertakings should not be mounted in haste to meet the schedule of other IFAD missions to which its findings may be relevant.


1/ The Appraisal Mission was to reach Egypt while the Interim Evaluation Mission was being undertaken.

2/ Including a preliminary Draft Completion Report (World Bank, dated 13 July 1992).

LANGUAGES: English