Kasungu Agricultural Development Project
The project was to be situated within the Kasungu Agricultural Development Division (KADD). It would be part of the National Rural Development Programme (NRDP) and comprise the Kasungu, Mchinji and Dowa East Rural Development Projects. KADD covers 14% (13000km2) of the country and contains 11% (700000) of Malawi's total rural population. The average household is about five. Most of the project area falls under customary or communal land tenure where only cultivation rights, rather than legal ownership, is granted by the village headman. Within most of the project area matrilineal inheritantship of cultivation rights prevail.
Kasungu RDP has a total area of about 550400ha, which includes a large state sector and the Kasungu Flue-Cured Tobacco Authority (KFCTA). Of the 416000ha of potentially cultivable land, 273000 ha supported (in 1984/85) a smallholder farming sub-sector of 63600farm families distributed over six EPAs. Farm holdings are slightly higher than the national average. Soils are reasonably fertile and there is much potential for further agricultural development through increasing the yield level of existing crops (maize, groundnuts, tobacco, beans) and for broadening the range of crops grown (oil seeds). Maize production occupies 70% of the cultivated area followed by groundnuts (12%) and tobacco (3%). Livestock is important although remaining comparatively underdeveloped. Mchinji RDP has a total area of about 334600ha, of which about 151000ha was available to a smallholder population of 49700 farm families. Farms are small and at least 70% of the holdings are less than 2ha. Maize occupies 69% of the land while groundnuts occupy 16% and tobacco 3%. Livestock is more numerous than in Kasungu but remained relatively underdeveloped. Dowa East is the smallest of the three RDPs with 136600ha, of which 79900ha was farmed in 1984/85 by 25200 smallholder families. Farms are small and at least 70% of the holdings are less than 2ha. Maize cultivation takes up about 80% of the farm land, groundnuts 5% and tobacco 4%, the remainder being taken up by root crops, pulses, wheat and cotton. There is also a significant, mainly small stock, livestock population.
Project objectives and design
The primary target group consists of smallholder members of farm clubs. Government policy decrees that all seasonal crop production credit (which is the central component of the project) be channeled through these clubs and similar farm groups. At appraisal it was estimated that there were about 600farm clubs in the three RDPs with around 19200 members. The secondary target group consists of smallholders, whether club members or not, to whom the benefits of improved extension services, veterinary facilities, roads, water supply and farmer training can be extended through the respective project components. The average household income at appraisal was estimated at about MK180 (USD135), some 60% of which is derived from food and cash crop production, 7% from livestock and the rest from other sources. Less than 30% of the population has improved water supply from covered wells or boreholes. The rest relies on open wells or streams.
Objectives and components
The project objectives were to focus on rural development in Kasungu, Mchinji and Dowa East RDPs with particular reference to: (a)increase the self-reliance of the rural poor in food production; (b)promote production-oriented investments and essential infrastructure; (c)strengthen the institutional development of the Kasungu ADD; and (d)minimize the burden of recurrent costs.
Components. The project was to be carried out over a five-year period and comprises the following components: (a)extension; (b)credit, a substantial seasonal credit fund would be earmarked for the purchase of seasonal inputs (fertilizers, seeds, insecticides). Medium-term credit was to be provided for the purchase of farm carts, work oxen, ploughs and other farm implements; (c)a pilot nutrition programme to assess the extent of malnutrition and organize farmer-training courses; (d)training; (e)land husbandry to reduce erosion particularly on hillsides and over-grazed areas of Dowa East and Kasungu RDPs; (f)livestock production, livestock enterprises were to be supported as part of mixed farming systems on smallholdings. Credit and specialist technical support was to be given for improving pastures and use of crops by-products; (g)marketing support to deal with input and output supply, the locations of market sheds were to be selected on basis of crop volumes produced and distances from farming villages; (h)roads; (i)water supply; and (j)management support.
The project was managed solely by national staff. Although the management performance has been satisfactory; nevertheless it has been negatively affected by a weak management of information throughout the life of the project.
Expected effects and assumptions
The main objectives of the project are to improve the productive capacity and the socio-economic welfare of the smallholder farmers in the area. More intensive crop extension efforts, improved veterinary services, along with credit facilities and better social services, are expected to expand the productive capacity and generate economic benefits. The benefits from increased crop and livestock production are quantifiable.
The basic assumptions of the project design were: (a)that area-specific extension messages would be made available to the producers; (b)the markets would be developed early in the life of the project through farm-to-market roads construction and improvement to ensure timely and cost-effective distribution of inputs and efficient transportation of produce; and (c)the Government would introduce a pricing approach that would take into consideration farmers' produce margins.
The Interim Evaluation Mission which consisted of six experts in the fields of economics, sociology, agronomy, farming systems, nutrition and monitoring and evaluation visited Malawi during August/September 1991. The mission spent about 20days in the field as well as around one week visiting with government officials. The mission had access to various project reports and benefited from a number of field surveys and studies undertaken by the M&E. The mission also met and discussed with government and project authorities as well as with donors.
Malawi is a landlocked country, a fact which has important implications for the supply of farm inputs and the marketing of the export crops. To increase the effectiveness of extension services, the GOM restructured its extension services on a geographic unit approach, based on ecological principles consistent with administrative boundaries. The 180 Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) will be grouped into 40 Development Areas. The project would provide assistance to agricultural extension through the EPAs under the KADD administration.
The project would be implemented within the context of the National Rural Development Programme (NRDP), designed to provide a more extensive level of services to a larger population. NRDP would increase smallholder production through the provision of input and farm services. NRDP is financed by a host of bilateral and multilateral donors.
Research. During the course of the project an adaptive research team has been established. This was intended to complement the work of the commodity teams at the main research stations. Details of a few of the experiments which had been carried out were available. The quality of presentation and analysis of the data is variable, but unfortunately none of the work of the past seven years has provided extension staff with any new technical information which would assist farmers in overcoming their constraints. This activity is part of the national research programme and modifications which might make it more effective will have to come from the national level.
Extension. The extension service was expected to continue to work with the modified Training and Visit (T&V) system which forms the basis of the national programme. Most attenders of meetings are members of credit clubs so that the system is not fulfilling its objective of reaching out to the poorer members of the community. Part of the reason for this is that a good deal of the instructions relates to crops (hybrid maize, tobacco) which are not grown by the poorer families, and to practices (the use of fertilizer and manure) which are beyond their resources. There are considerable weaknesses in the content of the messages being passed on to farmers. It is only in the case of hybrid maize that the farm household/baseline survey data indicates that yields of fertilizer users are 37% higher compared to non-users, i.e., 1600 versus 1170 kg/ha.
The land husbandry component was expected to strengthen KADD's capacity to assist farmers with the control of soil erosion. The land husbandry technical assistants were to be supported by 20field assistants trained in the use of hand levels. They were to help with the re-alignment of ridges along the contour.
The land husbandry section of KADD claims that between 1985 and 1991, 398.6km were pegged and 70.7km of marker ridges were constructed. Assuming 0.5km of marker ridge per ha this means that approximately 800ha were pegged and ridges were actually re-aligned on some 140ha. Two facts stand out from these figures. The first is that the area covered in five years is such a small fraction of the cultivated land in need of contour ridging that a continuation of this strategy would require several generations to cover the whole project area. The second is that on a high proportion of the fields that are pegged out by the staff the farmers do not re-align their ridges so the staff's efforts are wasted.
Among the reasons for the low level of actual ridge re-alignment following on the pegging of marker ridges is a policy of focussing attention on catchments which are particularly prone to erosion. A whole area is pegged irrespective of whether farmers have requested such action on their fields. Apart from the marker ridge strategy the land husbandry division has tried small experiments with Leucaena bushes on farmers fields. These were intended both to raise soil fertility and provide a live barrier to protect the soil. The plants have not grown well (a combination of acid soil conditions and termite attack) and the strategy has been abandoned.
Credit. Recovery rates on both seasonal and medium term loans have fallen during the life of the project. On the basis of a recent KADD Credit Default Study, undertaken as a result of IFAD's 1989-MTE of the project, and from discussions in the field, it appears that a number of factors have contributed to the increase in arrears experienced since 1987/88. These include: (a) poor club appraisal, management, supervision and training, (b) willful defaulting, (c) embezzlement of funds by club officials, (d) misuse of inputs by Field Assistants and Credit and Marketing Officers and (e) illegal tobacco growing and/or the diversion of inputs into estates. As a result of these findings a number of measures have been taken to improve credit recovery. These include tightening up loan administrative procedures, training club members and project officers and devising a systematic means to reschedule loans to recover past arrears.
Input Supply and Marketing. All of the marketing facilities have been constructed and are in use. The centres are staffed and the Agricultural Development and Marketing Cooperation (ADMARC) is financing the operation and maintenance costs. Fertilizer and seeds are supplied by
ADMARC on the basis of demand forecasts made by KADD and ADMARC for credit and cash sales. There has been a shift away from cash to credit sales. Farmers have often complained that fertilizers and other inputs have been inadequate in terms of total amounts, sizes of packages and timeliness of delivery, especially in areas where sheds have been closed to reduce costs.
Effects, assessment and sustainability
Beneficiaries and Income Effects. In the absence of a baseline study of beneficiaries targeted by the community development component, one can speak of impact only in general terms. Unless hybrid maize yields can be increased significantly, for example through a better application of fertilizer, it seems preferable for the smallholder to grow local maize as returns are higher compared to all but one of the hybrid maize alternatives. The exception is the high yield alternative (optimistic scenario) with a gross margin of MK447 per ha and a return to labour of MK2.85per day. The gross margin for the local maize alternative (given a yield of 900kg/ha based on KADD observations over a number of years) are MK211 per ha and MK1.23 per labour. In contrast with the above figures are the results for burley tobacco: a gross margin of MK2149 and returns to labour of MK13.78. These findings assume a price of MK4 per kg which the Government agreed to be paid by ADMARC to smallholders in the 1990/91 season. If farmers could sell directly to the auction floor at MK7 per kg, labour returns would peak at MK21.63 per day. From the above it is obvious that burley tobacco is by far the most profitable alternative.
Effects on Nutrition and Food Security. In general, 79% of all households run out of local maize by December. The households that run out of maize the earliest tend to be non-credit club members, non-hybrid maize growers, female-headed, non-fertilizer users, and households with less than one hectare. To compensate for maize shortages, households in the project area pursue a number of strategies to meet their consumption needs. These include crop diversification, Ganyu labour (i.e., casual labour), estate work, handicraft and livestock sale. The nutritional impact of the project is difficult to measure. Since the IFAD project was originally designed to target farmers in credit clubs, many of the food insecure households have remained outside the reach of project activities.
Over 70% of the male children and 55% of the female children in the project area are nutritionally stunted. To compensate for this, the KADD staff have put together a plan for reaching the poorer households in the Division. Building upon the information generated by various surveys, a strategy has been developed to identify the food-insecure households. Households are to be selected by local committees consisting of village headmen, field assistants, and family heads using a checklist of characteristics. The households selected will be organized into groups for targeted interventions. The evaluation team feels that this is a good start.
Specific Effects on Women. In general the women programme is fairly uniform across all RDPs. It consists of forming women's groups, attempting to target them with credit, activities related to crop improvement and home economics, introducing Income Generating Activities (IGAs), and training programmes. The number of women's credit groups has fluctuated during the life of the project, but with the exception of Mchinji it has not increased. There is no obvious factor, excepting the increase in arrears in general among all clubs. Conventional wisdom insists that women clubs are better at repaying their credit than men. However, the Smallholder Agricultural and Credit Administration (SACA) notes that there is no evidence to support this assertion and project data have not been desegregated to test the hypothesis.
Environmental Effects. The project did not provide any alternative to continuous cultivation. It did increase the supply of fertilizer to the area. Under existing circumstances this led to the growth of stronger plants which contributed to an increase in organic matter in the soil (particularly through the increased root growth). It would not have counteracted the decline in soil pH and only marginally reduced soil loss. The land husbandry initiatives would have reduced soil loss but only on a tiny fraction of the area. The increase in tobacco production stimulated under the project would have increased the demand for fuelwood. The project had no major component for counteracting this trend.
Effects on Local/National Development Trends. The rehabilitation of roads and the improvement in marketing infrastructures have had a positive impact on the economy of three RDPs. Attempts at diversification of crop production should improve the local economy and assist the national policy aiming at the development of the rural areas.
Credit. By 1991, credit targeted only 25% of all farm households in the project area. Credit still reaches only a small percentage of farmers in each RDP. Farmers visited generally indicated that their income had increased as a result of having received credit under the project. There are doubts, however, that the credit component reaches the poorer farmers. The administrative costs of the small loans served are likely to be high.
In the absence of a baseline study of beneficiaries targeted by the community development component, one can speak of impact only in general terms. Given the National Credit Committee's refusal to raise interest rates, the long-term costs of such lending, its effect on the viability of the revolving fund, and the likelihood of its ability to improve the well-being of smallholder farmers must be carefully considered. Finally, considering the rather poor performance record of farmers clubs in recovering credit, one must naturally ask if one extends credit to more marginal farmers than those previously targeted by the project, would clubs be even less well disciplined, inducing even higher arrears than in the past. This raises the more general issue of whether targeting smallholders through clubs with credit is the most effective and efficient way to reach Malawi's poorest smallholders.
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). The quality and usefulness of the M&E system has been mixed. On the one hand the M&E unit produced useful studies and survey results, in particular the Credit Default Study, the Household Food Security Surveys and recently the Farm Household/Baseline Survey. On the other hand, however, the data management and reporting system has been experiencing several problems. Data from the RDPs suffer from a lack of comparability, standard formats are lacking and reports/data are difficult to retrieve. Progress reports are often submitted too late to be meaningful. They provide a lot of details but essential data are missing. A system of beneficiary contact monitoring (including for example a tracer study of credit recipients) has never been established. Part of these problems can be explained from the high staff turnover during the first years of the project and from the limited M&E staff available. However, more staff will not solve the problems unless the skills of the staff are upgraded through training and technical assistance (with on-the-job training).
Sustainability. The project as designed was complex with about thirteen components. Hence its implementation was the responsibility of many agencies. Though its integration within the structure of the existing institutions would supposedly ensure its future sustainability, a critical factor in this respect would be the GOM price and marketing policies both at the economy level and cropwise. Unless the flow of inputs, particularly fertilizer and seeds and the input/product price ratio remained favourable to smallholders, they would more likely revert to subsistence production. In this respect the development of markets, through investment in infrastructure and equal opportunities to all producers, are requisites for sustainability of project benefits.
Sustainability of credit operations would depend on the farm clubs. The evaluation revealed an inefficient performance in terms of deliveries to the intended beneficiaries, the low recovery rates, the non-responsible conduct of the office bearers and the consequent lack of sense of ownership among the members. In such situations, the sustainability of credit, input supply and other project services would be in jeopardy.
Main issues and recommendations
Macro-economic policies effects on farm sector, in particular, permission for smallholders to grow export crops such as tobacco, the marketing arrangements and the pricing system have a profound effect on the small sector development and commercialization. In any future projects, the impact of these macro-economic policies on project performance should be carefully analyzed during the design stage. Alternative scenarios should be drawn and examined and discussed with the concerned government.
To create a rural financial system to reach the target group, a number of measures should be pursued:
(a) the system should respond to beneficiaries demands which means that some need assessments/diagnostic surveys are essential;
(b) a target group oriented delivery mechanism should be established. Since the farm clubs are not effective in reaching the most vulnerable segment of the rural poor, credit groups in which these poor participate should be formed; and
(c) loans repayments are low and farm clubs, particularly office bearers, have high delinquency rates. To improve repayments, there is an urgency to train and develop groups (training, savings mobilization, collective action) to a high level of commitment for peers pressure to become effective in repayments.
For effective extension, the requisites are:
(a) a clear extension message which is responsive to individual farmer needs and constraints;
(b) improving contacts with low resource farming households, since contacts are maintained with about 40% of better-off households;
(c) need for training of extension staff and providing them with appropriate technical messages; and
(d) availability of attractive input/product price ratio through allowing smallholders to grow burley tobacco on customary lands, improved delivery mechanism, marketing and pricing.
For household food security, rural households apply a number of survival strategies and policies and projects should be designed to augment the returns from their alternative activities.
The effects which macro-economic policies are likely to have on project sub-components should be thoroughly investigated. The Malawi's land tenure, marketing and price policies as well as its general support to the estate sector have adversely affected smallholder crop production.
The need for a more dynamic, competitive and promotion-oriented marketing system and a farmer-centered approach to development.
A sustainable rural financial system which starts with savings mobilization, is demand led, and seeks to promote and develop a viable rural banking system. The recent Credit Default Study indicates that once credit became supply led farmers clubs expanded too rapidly and lost their cohesion. The lesson learned is that group credit through clubs may have its limits and alternative avenues and institutions through which to target farmers with credit should be investigated in the future. Major project components, such as credit, should not be implemented without a tracer study of those targeted.
The active participation of the beneficiaries in the design and implementation of the project is essential. There is much more scope for encouraging active participation of beneficiaries in all project activities.
Fayoum Agricultural Devleopment Project (1992)
Interim evaluation report
The Fayoum governorate is located in a depression of about 179 500 ha south of Cairo and 25 km west of the Nile River. It is a clearly defined basin, with sloping and rolling topography, with heavy and medium-textured soils derived from Nile alluvium. The soils are inherently excellent for agriculture although there is some soil salinity and sodicity in limited areas. Winters (November to March) are cool, while summers are hot (May to September). Rainfall is negligible. The population in 1978 was 1.22 million.
The majority of land is cultivated by small farmers operating as owners, tenants, and sharecroppers, or as a mixture of all three. The SAR indicated an average farm size of about 2.9 feddan, with 86% of farmers owning less than 5 feddans. The average cropping intensity over the 302 500 feddans (127 200 ha) was 196% but this varied markedly between areas. As in other parts of the Nile Valley, the cropping pattern is based on a well-established three year rotation system which had, until recently, been determined by government policy1 . The main crops were wheat, berseem (winter) and cotton, maize and sorghum (summer). Broadbeans, tomatoes, melons and rice are significant as well. In 1981 there were an estimated 120 500 cattle, 77 000 buffalo, 95 500 sheep, 63 300 goats and 80 000 donkeys in the governorate and commercial poultry production was rising rapidly. The LPIP2 formulation report noted that 85% of the cattle and buffalo were on holdings of less than five feddan with one or two animals owned by each farmer.
Smallholders/tenant farming families cultivating holdings of less than five feddans, with an average per capita income, from farming, of USD 120 or less, were the target group. This group was thought to account for 86% of farmers and 42% of the land farmed in the governorate. Although the project was designed to allow extension services to reach all farmers, only about a quarter (31 000 farming families) were expected to benefit from contact with project activities. As well, institutions and their employees were expected to benefit from training, better operating capacity and incentive payments additional to their salaries.
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 projects were 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:
- Extension and Research
- Irrigation and Water Management
- Animal Husbandry
- Farm Mechanization
- Agricultural Credit and Marketing
- Project Coordination Unit (PCU)
- Technical Assistance and Training
- Monitoring and Evaluation
In terms of output, the project was expected to increase the production of most crops grown in the governorate for which a proven technological package was already known. By project maturity (Year 9), average production increases over the without project position would vary from 13% for onions to 78% for Nili maize. As well for 15% of livestock in the governorate, milk production was expected to increase by 12% from buffaloes and 6% from cows, while increases in meat production were expected to range from 33% for buffalo calves and baladi bulls to 8% for buffalo heifers and 22% for baladi heifers.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation's (MOALR) capacity to provide extension services to farmers was to be drastically upgraded through intensive staff training, better office facilities, transport and operating means and the use of T&V extension methodology. The suitability of the T&V system for other parts of Egypt was to be assessed.
The appraisal expected net incomes of farmers with 1.2 and 3.0 feddans to increase from Egyptian Pound (LE) 522 to LE 758 and LE 381 to LE 2084 respectively.
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 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, particularly in agricultural policies, since the inception of the project eight years ago; thus what may have been appropriate at appraisal may not be so now. For instance, agricultural inputs were largely government-provided and the large-scale commercial production of livestock was in government hands, two situations which the government is reversing. The mission has tried to keep this in mind during its deliberations. The assessment of FADP was conducted together with a similar evaluation of the Minya Agricultural Development Project (MADP) so that the experiences from the projects could be taken into account for a forthcoming LPIP appraisal.
To assess the overall status of the project, the mission reviewed IDA's six monthly supervision reports and progress reports prepared by the FADP itself, together with activity-specific reports prepared by consultants contracted by the project. The mission spent eight days in the project area during which it visited the five districts, held discussions with the credit bank, senior staff at governorate district level and visited contact and non-contact farmers.
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 the end of March 1992 (over six years after project effectiveness and 15 months after the original closing date), only 51.7% of the IFAD loan had been distributed. Inordinate delays in decision-making by the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) coupled with delays in effective delegating financial authority to governorate level severely hinder implementation. Problems with inadequate local financing (which the mission suspects could have been lessened by appropriate action at central government level) and delays with decisions relating to procurement and contractual matters were major problems.
As with its sister project, the MADP, the project helped increase farm output and strengthened, through the introduction of the T&V extension system, the MOALR's advisory service. However, the base for the strengthened extension service, as it stands, is fragile and dependent on regular injections of incremental funding.
Infrastructure. Although delayed, the extension centres have been successfully completed; they provide suitable bases for district staff to operate from, as well as locations for routine Village Extension Worker (VEW) training.
Staffing. The projects successfully recruited VEWs3 from within existing complements of field staff. In July 1992 there were some 600 VEWs working with the FADP project. 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 has substantially improved the ability of the latter to teach VEWs existing and new agricultural technologies. Intensive training has increased the confidence and ability of the VEWs, and this, combined with incentive payments, better working conditions and a set programme, has motivated and enabled the extension service to communicate better with farmers.
Contact with Farmers. The numbers of contact farmers increased from 1 929 in 1985/86 to nearly 12 000 by June 1990, while the numbers of farmers under the auspices of the project were 24 110 and nearly 120 000 for the corresponding times. No conclusive dates are available on the quality of the VEW/farmer interactions.
Credit. To May 1992, the project had processed over 19 000 loans, for agricultural purposes, amounting to over USD 11 million. Some 17 500 loans (95.6% and 97.8% in number and value respectively) were for buffalo or cattle. While an estimated 51% of these livestock loans were fraudulent, in that they were used for purposes (generally agricultural) other than specified, they were all given to farmers with less than five feddans of land who, therefore, were members of the target group. Repayment has been satisfactory and the loans, reportedly, did represent an injection of capital into productive ventures.
Monitoring and Evaluation. The SAR's expectations that the MOALR's MEU in Cairo should be responsible for M&E did not come to fruition. Several studies concerning the project's extension and credit components were commissioned by FADP. While these provided some useful information, M&E was not used as a managerial tool during project life.
Effect on Production. Total crop production showed substantial increases from pre-project levels. Of the three main crops, the average period for the three years 1989 to 1991, wheat and maize output increased by 124% and 18% over the 1984/85 levels respectively, while cotton remained unchanged. Statistics for livestock production are not on hand, but, even allowing for the fraudence of some livestock loans, an estimated 16 800 buffalo and cattle would have been purchased through the project's credit facility. While some of the livestock purchases would merely represent transfers of ownership within the governorates' existing inventory of livestock, substantial number were, reportedly, bought into the governorate. Thus a substantial increase in milk production would have occurred.
While much of the upsurge in production must be attributed to non-project factors, the improved extension service, even if only through the extensive promotion of demonstrations using cooperating farmers, would have made a substantial contribution. Demonstrations covered 17.3% and 14.5% of total winter sowing (1990/91) and summer area (1990) respectively and involved 18 954 and 11 645 farmers in the respective seasons. As the demonstrations out yielded non-demonstration sowing substantially, incremental project promoted output from this activity alone was considerable.
Effect on Farmers' Income. The mission estimated that the income (excluding livestock) of a progressive farm farmer with 1.2 feddan was about LE 2 000, while the average farmer would earn at least LE 1 700. Taking into account the progression of the consumer price over the period, the figure of LE 1 200 appears to be approximately equal to the SAR average target of LE 600 (1984 prices) for farmers owning 1.2 feddan. The fact that production has increased at a substantially higher rate than population implies that a positive effect on food availability has occurred; this, coupled with a substantial increase in farm incomes, would suggest that the living standard of the target group has increased.
Effect on Institutions. The MOALR benefitted both in terms of infrastructure and staff development. The six Extension Centres built by the project provided a much needed based from which extension staff could operate and interact with their field staff.
A particular achievement of the project has been the intensive training provided to SMSs and subsequently by SMSs to VEWs. On many occasions, VEWs during meetings with members of the mission reflected that prior to the project they were poorly equipped in terms of knowledge but now they were adequately trained. A number of more senior staff have benefitted from longer term training both within institutions in Egypt and overseas.
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 dependent on 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 levels to sustain the T&V system in its present form.
The MOALR within the governorates is grossly overstaffed (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.
The rationale between the LPIP and the FADP is, in essence, the same. The following recommendations apply to the LPIP and similar rural development projects.
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, an 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 in the FADP, 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 interests of the project.
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 smallholders 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 marginalised 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 the 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.
Although an estimated half of the funds for the main activity (purchase of buffaloes/cows) was frudulently used for other purposes, all loans were issued to farmers with five feddans of land or less and repayment rates have been, overall, satisfactory. This would indicate that the bank's mechanism for lending to specific groups was effective and, provided that activities suited to borrowers could be identified, small farmers could successfully service loans. Given the basis of overall FADP experience the following recommendations are made:
- 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-heizah4 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 smallholders 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.
Given that a T&V system along classical lines (ie low VEW for 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' interest 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.
Generation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology and Seed ProductionProject - PROGETTAP (1992)
Interim Evaluation Report
Agriculture is the main sector of the Guatemalan economy, accounting for about 26% of GDP and providing employment for over 50% of the population. Census figures (1980) indicate that there were at that time over 450.000 small farmers (less than 3.5 ha), and estimates are that over 550.000 small farms exist today. These small farms make up over 80% of the total number but occupy only 10% of the area in farms.
Most small farms are concentrated in the highlands, the Altiplano, where the population is predominantly of mayan ancestry, and in the East or Oriente, whose population is mixed or mestizo. Increasing population pressure is forcing a major migration to the lowlands of the Peten Region. Strong cultural traditions exist among the people of the Altiplano, protected mainly by their use of various indian dialects, although now most male adults also speak Spanish as a second language. Both in the Altiplano and Oriente as well as Peten, rural poverty is widespread. Nationwide it was estimated (1980) 71% lived in poverty and 40% in extreme poverty.
The majority of small farmers produce food crops, most of which they keep for their own family's consumption, selling off some in order to buy other needed goods. In some areas of the Altiplano, where the average size of farm rarely exceeds half an hectare, families compensate by working off-farm and doing artisan work in textiles, pottery and other activities. The main food crop is corn, with beans, wheat, sorghum, potatoes and faba beans.
After a long period of violent disturbances, especially in the Altiplano, which were put down by successive military governments in the early 1980's, Guatemala entered a period of freely elected government in 1986, which substantially reduced restrictions in the countryside. Government development policies have emphasized export led growth, basically seeking to open the economy by creating incentives to export new products, mostly of agricultural origin. At the same time however, in order to improve internal food production conditions, public sector resources were focused on small farmers and poor rural dwellers, especially on those in the Altiplano. General economic policies however, did not provide incentives to food producers, as prices for most products tended to lag behind the general price level until 1990.
The Generation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology and Seed Production Project (PROGETTAPS), was designed in the late 1970's in response to policies directed at increasing food production and income of small farmers. Low farm productivity was identified as a major problem for making better use of resources by small farmers, so that the development and transfer of improved farm technology for this type of farmer was made the focus of this new project. PROGETTAPS was first of all to develop the institutional capacity to provide effective agricultural services, by creating the means to integrate research with extension. Secondly, PROGETTAPS would set up an efficient technology transfer system, thus ensuring that farmers received a continuing technological support for their production activities.
The original proposal for the project was presented to the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) and accepted in 1983, when the Bank and the Government invited IFAD's participation in the project. Project appraisal was completed and loans approved by the Bank and by the Fund's Executive Board by late 1984. Actual project implementation started only in early 1986 and after approval of various loan extensions, IFAD funding is expected to end in 1993. Project implementation was assigned to ICTA (research component), DIGESA and DIGESEPE (transfer of technology components) ICTA/DIGESA (seed production component); administrative coordination and monitoring and evaluation activities were to be handled by USPADA.
The project rationale was "to support and strengthen both the existing research and transfer of technology efforts by consolidating the dispersed and scarcely coordinated actions, in order to maximize the impact of those integrated services on small (and some medium) farmer's incomes and food production". (IFAD. Report and Recommendation of the President to the Executive Board, August 1984, p.8).
Entering its last year of implementation, PROGETTAPS has substantially achieved its objectives. It has:
a. Strengthened the agricultural public sector's capacity to generate and especially to transfer new technology to small farmers;
b. Developed an effective methodology for integrating research and extension activities, which the Ministry of Agriculture is now seeking to extend to cover the whole country;
c. Managed to provide effective services to a large number of small farmers (some 30.000 directly, and many more indirectly).
PROGETTAPS has achieved the above, while using less than the US$ 24.2 million originally budgeted for the project. Even taking into account that the project implementation period increased from four to eight years, total cost is estimated to reach some US$ 21.9 million on completion in 1993. Devaluation of both the Quetzal with respect to the US dollar and of the US dollar with respect to the SDR, made it possible to stretch local funds. The IDB loan was cancelled partially in early 1992, as the remaining funds were considered undisbursable before the end of the loan. In regards to IFAD's loan, a substantial amount will also remain undisbursed by 31 January 1993, which is the present closing date for the loan.
Concerning project design
The project was kept reasonably simple, with just four components. The design feature helped to keep project coordination within acceptable limits and the project coordination system, based on one executive and one technical committee, served adequately throughout most of the project period, to successfully integrate the institutions involved.
The strategy incorporated in the project design was vindicated, specifically in regards to the premise that there existed a sufficient accumulated supply of technology, such that it could be used to promote an important change in the technology employed by small farmers. The project provided important support and resources to mobilize those public sector institutions involved in technology generation and transfer (TGT), basically by supplying funds to cover operational expenses, such as per-diem expenses of extensionists, fuel for vehicles and particularly agricultural inputs to allow for the setting up of technology transfer plots in the farm communities involved. The project thus allowed those institutions to make full use of their trained manpower (researchers, technology validators and extentionists), new integrated work methodology, and accumulated technology, to offer small and medium farmers substantially better production possibilities.
Another important project premise confirmed, was that the existence of improved varieties was a key factor for introducing new technology, and that availability of seed of these varieties was critical. ICTA's research before and during the project, made available new improved varieties. However, it was not PROGETTAPS's seed production component, designed to produce certified seed which eventually provided the required input, as this seed proved to be costly and not physically accessible to small farmers. Instead, the adoption of a grassroot proposal to have the project farmers produce their own seed, provided PROGETTAPS with a very important tool to involve the farmers themselves more directly in the TGT process to develop a new production alternative for some farmers (i.e. seed production), and to ensure the supply of sufficient good quality seed at a reasonable cost at the community level.
The modular approach on which PROGETTAPS based its work in the field, allowed it to expand its area coverage without much effort, once this expansion was accepted by the cooperating institution. This expansion was very substantial, as originally it was to cover only five sub-regions, and by 1992, it had reached 15 sub-regions.
The PROGETTAPS methodology
Through PROGETTAPS, the institutions involved with TGT for small and medium farmers, managed to develop a methodology for working together and for sharing responsibilities in regards to those phases where two or more institutions were involved. This methodology is now shared between ICTA and DIGESA (crops) and to a lesser extent by DIGESEPE (animal husbandry). Acceptance of the methodology by the professional and technical staff, especially in ICTA and DIGESA, has led them to develop a TGT institutional culture, in which they share certain common planning, operational and review procedures. In addition, it has lifted the status of the extension workers, by training them in the use of certain basic research tools, thus allowing them a greater participation in the TGT process than ever before, increasing their degree of self esteem.
The PROGETTAPS methodology for crop production: In the case of crop production, the methodology was evolved from that already in use by ICTA for carrying out farming systems research. This initial methodology provided for agro-socio-economic surveys (sondeos) to be used by multidisciplinary teams to identify with farmers the problems they faced, whereupon researchers would begin to investigate technically and economically feasible solutions, and the research results would be put to trail, especially in farmers fields to check results. ICTA's methodology provided for the next step of carrying out validation trails with farmers, but went no further towards transferring the new technology to other farmers. PROGETTAPS improved and innovated, by completing the design, so as to, on the one hand, involve extension staff in the last steps of the research process (on-farm research plots and validation trails), and providing them with an effective method for reaching farmers with a clear message whose results could be demonstrated (transfer plots); and on the other hand, systematically involving ICTA's technology validation teams in the follow-up of results, by working closely with the extension workers.
The initial joint ICTA-DIGESA methodology has proven its worth and although some modifications have been introduced, it operates essentially as designed. Targeted to reach upwards of 40.000 small farmers, it has nearly achieved this goal. Its success is based both on the simple technology being transmitted (improved varieties in almost every case) and in its ability to incorporate and take advantage of new tools that appeared as it was implemented. One, already mentioned was the artisanal production by small farmers of their own seed of improved varieties (PASM). The rapid expansion of the PASM programme after 1987 with the full support of PROGETTAPS, was instrumental in the widespread diffusion of new varieties that is now observed in the project areas. It also is generating a new production activity: seeds; a new source of income for small farmers who receive technical assistance to carry it out.
The other was the rapid and full incorporation into the methodology of the "representantes agricolas" or RAs, a mechanism developed by MAGA to better link the sector institutions with the farm communities where they worked. PROGETTAPS had a similar type of agent included in the original methodological proposal, who it was expected would serve in a relatively modest as an assistant to the extensionists. However, in practice the role of the RA has become of much greater importance to PROGETTAPS than originally envisaged. It was through the RAs, that the project managed to gain the confidence of the farmers, and by ensuring that, these in fact were considered good representatives of the communities they served, PROGETTAPS has been successful in reaching an approximately 30.000 or more farmers with the new varieties.
Finally, the methodology has also been flexible and adapted to others beyond the original group of farmers it was intended to serve. Thus, in 1988 PROGETTAPS's activities were extended to cover the whole of the extension agency's clientele, including both women groups and youths. Now both types of beneficiaries are receiving seeds of improved varieties and are planting them in individual or communal plots. In practice, however, not all aspects of the methodology were as well applied. The socio-economic data collected have not been consistently used to improve project performance as designed, and there is insufficient evidence to substantiate some project claims, such as adoption rates, productivity and income increases.
The PROGETTAPS methodology for animal production: For animal production, the method differs significantly. The techniques that were to be passed on to medium and small cattlemen comprised a complete and relatively expensive package, which meant that no simple transfer plot would suffice to show the benefits of the new technology. DIGESEPE in addition had no substantial experience in transferring technology to farmers and ICTA had no major stock of new techniques, the proposed technology depending on results obtained by a previous ICTA/CATIE project.
This project component targeted a relatively small number of producers (560), seeking the full incorporation of the proposed technical package. In fact, the method had to undergo substantial changes, since it rapidly became clear that the package was too expensive for the beneficiaries. During the third year of project implementation, a change was made to limit technology transfer to introducing animal feed for the dry season as the basic component. This has been diffused to small/medium cattlemen with substantially positive results. The work relations between ICTA and DIGESEPE, while adequate, lack the degree of coordination found in crop production. No attempt was made to incorporate the RAs as a tool for transfer of technology. Thus the method for animal production still requires review before it can be extended to a substantially greater number of producers.
Results obtained through 1992
As stated in the previous section, the project managed to design and institutionalize a working methodology, and in doing so integrated research and extension work procedures at the field level, as well as achieved a substantial degree of institutional coordination at higher levels, through the participation of high level staff from each institution in the project's coordinating committees. Its relative success in this area is reflected in the decision to expand coverage countrywide. The project allowed a substantial re-equipping of ICTA, DIGESA and DIGESEPE, with vehicles and other equipment, as well as providing for graduate-level training for an important number of technical staff. PROGETTAPS also provided indispensable funds to cover participating institution's operating costs in the period since 1986. Where it was not successful, was in reverting the tendency to reduce government funding for TGT in real terms. The sustainability of PROGETTAPS in the future is thus linked to obtaining continued external funding.
Changes in crop production
Changes in technology generation capacity: The project has supported ICTA's crop production research both through direct funding of research operations, as well as through specialized training received by its staff. Much of the available technology at the start of the project has now been disseminated to farmers, and while not too many new varieties were generated in 1986-1992, the Institute carried out a continuing improvement of existing varietal lines. New materials are now undergoing trails and are expected to be released in one or two years time, thus assuring a continued supply of improved or more resistant varieties.
Crop production and technology adoption: The 1986-1992 implementation period has been marked by important geographical changes in Guatemala's food crop production. Generally, the areas covered by PROGETTAPS have increased crop production less rapidly than new areas on the Pacific coast (which substituted corn and other grains for cotton which practically vanished as a commercial crop) and in the Petan (newly opened as the agricultural frontier). Thus in terms of its contribution to increased production of food and grains, PROGETTAP's role has been minor in the aggregate.
Exceptions to this did occur. Thus the bean producing areas of the Oriente, where PROGETTAPS was very active, have increased their share of national production. More important, however than its contribution to national production levels, has been the adoption of improved varieties by small farmers. In corn, improved varieties have been adopted in a widespread manner, especially in those areas under 1.300 meters. At higher altitudes ICTA's varieties while adopted to some extent, are not markedly superior to local material, with adoption rates being probably not higher than 15%. However, in areas of the Altiplano where intensive horticulture for export is been introduced, ICTA's short-cycle materials are being preferred, as this allows for second cropping. In beans, adoption rates have been higher, perhaps as high as 30%, as ICTA varieties show more resistance to disease than local varieties do. In other crops such as potato and faba beans, PROGETTAPS has obtained success in having new varieties adopted, but its main impact has been in introducing these as new crops (potato in the Oriente), or in re-introducing important food crops abandoned in the recent past (faba beans in the Altiplano).
Yields: While partial data available would suggest that significant yield increases have been obtained by using PROGETTAPS's varieties, much work has still to be done to substantiate this.
Changes in animal production
In spite of its smaller size, the animal production component has reached only some 360 small and medium producers, less than its target figure. However, among those, the effects obtained from the adoption of improved cattle feeding in the dry season were very substantial, both in terms of milk production and of income. If DIGESEPE has shown greater interest in improving its technology transfer capacity, probably a much greater number of producers would have adopted the improved techniques.
Overall the coordination of project activities functioned as designed. The Executive Committee made up of the principal officers of all four participating institutions (including USPADA), however, did not meet as often as planned thus limiting its usefulness in solving important problems. Only after a General Coordinator was named in mid-1991, did many planning, budget and loan disbursement matters receive the required attention of the Executive Committee. The Technical Committee on the other hand, functioned well throughout much of the implementation period, formulating annual programmes, handling day-to-day technical matters, and carrying out a supervision based on periodic visits to the field, to observe project activities and discuss these with regional and local staff.
The channelling of project funds and handling of reimbursement requests to IFAD and IDB were generally unsatisfactory. Since no overall high-level coordinating body existed prior to mid-1991, the project's Administrative and Financial Coordinating Unit (UFCA), established since 1986 was ineffectual. IFAD funds assigned for a special account were never used as a revolving fund to facilitate implementation. Insufficient authority of UFCA over the financial and administrative units of ICTA, DIGESA and DIGESEPE, meant that these were often very late in providing reimbursement requests for IDB and IFAD loan funds, thus reducing funds available for field operations. Other problems arose with construction works funded by IDB, that were not completed, and with the late purchase of vehicles with IFAD funds. Some improvement is noticeable in project administration with the designation of a General Coordinator in 1991.
IDB acted both as co-financier and as cooperating institution. Project supervision was carried out by IDB's Office in Guatemala. In general, supervision on technical matters was of good quality, especially from 1988. The assistance provided by IDB's agricultural loan officer was widely recognized as being helpful by the implementing agencies. Considerable flexibility in interpreting the project concept by the loan officer, resulted in expansion of the project area, in including women and youths as beneficiaries, in developing the artisanal seed programme, etc.
Problems were detected, however, in regards to loan disbursement procedures used. IDB requested too much detail in loan reimbursement requests from the project, thus unnecessarily increasing paperwork and being in addition very rigorous, by returning reimbursement requests which contained only minor errors that could have been handled as routine amendments to the documents. The non-use of IFAD's special account would indicate that the Bank office was not familiar with this long-standing Fund procedure.
Monitoring and evaluation
In spite of an early attempt in 1985 to establish an adequate M&E system, PROGETTAPS functioned throughout many years without an effective monitoring mechanism. Only since 1989 has the M&E Unit been fully operational. When designed, the M&E Unit was assigned duties beyond that of following up on PROGETTAPS, as it was also given functions as a sector M&E Unit. A number of useful studies have been made in monitoring project activities, and the Unit is considered as being very useful by the General Coordinator. A number of problems raised by the interim evaluation mission, indicate that it is necessary for the M&E Unit to improve its data gathering and in particular its data analysing and synthesizing functions, controlling also the reliability of the data.
For PROGETTAPS's completion
Scheduled completion of disbursements with IFAD's loan is 31 January 1993. The mission considers that by that date very substantial funds will still have remained uncommitted. On the other hand, additional government or other external funding to finance operational expenses of agencies participating in TGT efforts for small farmers will not be forthcoming in the short-term. Taking into account the substantial achievements of PROGETTAPS, it is recommended that the Fund and the Government negotiate an extension of the loan disbursement period, in order to allow Guatemala to continue to implement PROGETTAPS during part of 1993. Probably as much as the equivalent of US$ 1 million would be undisbursed by the present closing date. In case an extension is granted, it is strongly recommended that conditions be attached so as to ensure that priority be assigned for the full financing of operational expenses at the sub-regional level. Additionally, project resources should be used to carry out the following activities.
The project Technical Committee would carry out a review of the PROGETTAPS methodology, with the intention of analysing a number of variations that have been introduced informally as the project developed, but which have not been scrutinized in detail in order to determine how they relate to, or modify, the existing methodology on paper. The latest official documents defining this methodology date back to 1986, making it imperative that it be updated.
Since during implementation PROGETTAPS introduced a number of new activities (artisanal seed production, incorporation of RAs, inclusion of women and youth programmes), it is recommended that studies be carried out on how these functioned and what impact they have had on the overall project. In addition, due to insufficient attention paid during implementation, a new and more critical look has to be taken at the data concerning technology adoption rates, as well as goal achievements, that seem to include some duplication. A third area in which work is recommended, concerns the developing of a guide for M&E activities based on the PROGETTAPS experience, which would be useful for other projects, including on-going and future IFAD projects in the country.
Concerning IFAD on-going and future projects
PROGETTAPS and its relation to on-going or approved projects: The Fund has two other projects in Guatemala providing extension services to small farmers; the Zacapa-Chiquimula Small Farmer Agricultural Development Project (Loan 251-GM), and the Cuchumatanes Rural Development Project, under approval. Since in their design, both projects use modified versions of the PROGETTAPS methodology, it is recommended that a comparative analysis be made of all three projects, in order to identify the possible and actual effects of the proposed changes, and put these at the disposal of all three projects.
An expanded future PROGETTAPS: The Ministry of Agriculture, with technical cooperation from the Organisation of American States (OAS), is beginning the design of a possible new project based on the PROGETTAPS experience. The new project should focus on the technology generation and transfer activities that PROGETTAPS did best, avoiding the complications that would result from introducing additional components.
Integrated Rural Development in the Department of Paraguari (1992)
The objectives of the Study were to analyze the positive and negative impacts and effects of the actions displayed within the frame of the Integrated Rural Development Project in the Department of Paraguari, and to extract lessons from the experience that should be taken into consideration for the implementation of future rural development projects.
The Project goals were to improve the funding structure, increase the agricultural productivity, of the small industry and the craftsmanship, through the use of credit, the organizational promotion and the expansion of the infrastructure works (roads and rural electricity). In addition, it has been a central objective of the Project to extend the health and education services to the discriminated sectors and groups of the rural population.
The Project was designed and executed based in the structure of eight sub projects.
The central coordination and execution of the Project was assigned to Consejo de Fomento de la Producción Agrícola Nacional (CFPAN), which delegated its functions to a Central Coordinating Unit (UCC). An executing agency was assigned to each sub project.
In spite of some limitations found along the Project execution, it was concluded that, in general, the original Project goals had been satisfactorily accomplished and in some of the sub Projects, the previsions had been surpassed. The strongest positive effects have been the ones resulting from the carrying out of the infrastructure works and the use of its concomitant services. In this sense, the global result of the Project can be evaluated as the expression of a primary modernization.
Within the most important lessons learned from the evaluation of the Project, it can be pointed out that it is fundamental that the main coordinating and executing institution counts with the necessary experience, the resources, and sufficient autonomy to be able to perform its work properly; it is important to demand and guarantee that the credit components and the technical assistance be designed and applied in a coordinated and complementary manner; it is necessary to prioritize the assistance and technical training actions together with the evaluation and monitoring tasks, with the purpose of avoiding the dispersion of efforts, increase accomplishments and minimize errors; and, last but not least, it is important to separate the monitoring and evaluation functions by having the former integrated to Project Management and the latter delegated to an independent institution.
Smallholders Services Rehabilitation Project - Mid-term Evaluation(1992)
Mid-term Evaluation Report
The project is national in coverage but some components are directed to three districts in each of Eastern and Luapula provinces. Since almost all of rural Zambia is eligible for project assistance, the six districts are selected for special development effort on the basis of the following criteria: (a) drought proneness and/or persistent food supply problems; (b) the proportion of subsistence and women farmers; (c) satisfactory agricultural production potentials and (d) relatively good access to provincial centers. In Luapula the climate is subtropical. Rainfall varies between 900 and 1 300 mm/year. The main growing season is the hot/wet period October to April. Cassava is the staple diet, while fishing is for both household consumption and cash. In Eastern, the climate is hot and humid, with rainfall of 500 to 800 mm per years. The major crops grown are local maize, sorghum, millet and rice in flood areas for subsistence. Groundnuts as well as sunflower and cotton are grown as cash crops.
Project design and objectives
The project is designed to facilitate expansion of the cooperative services to reach the poorest segment of the rural population. More specifically, the project is expected to benefit primarily subsistence and marginal farmers in the selected districts with farm sizes ranging between 0.5 ha and 2 ha. The total numbers of targeted households are estimated at 45 000. However, at an adoption rate of 60% about 27 000 households would directly benefit in the 8th year of project implementation. In particular the project would attempt to reach the female headed households, comprising about 40% of all households in the selected areas of the Eastern Province. This group is among the most disadvantaged in terms of land allocation and all services. Project would give special attention to the nutritional status, particularly of the children, of whom 83% are below the normal weight. The project design contained several innovative features specifically designed to reach the target group. These are reflected in the mechanism for local cost funding, provision of group credit in a participatory mode and the Development Fund.
Objectives and components
Objectives. The project aimed to unblock the input delivery chain through the cooperative movement nationally, and to support rural development in key districts. It would furnish the regional impetus for shifts in resource allocation in the context of macro-economic restructuring including liberalization of inputs and products markets. Small farmers would be assisted in diversifying crop production in line with regional comparative advantage in production. To enhance the adjustment process, the project will provide the scarce foreign exchange for importation of farm input. Finally the project would reduce the national dependance on food imports and save foreign exchange.
Components. The project would finance: (i) input supply and credit services through providing funds to the Zambia Cooperative Federation Commercial Service (ZCFCS) to procure and distribute more efficiently farm inputs at the national level and utilize the revenue for local cost funding; (ii) provision of credit through ZCF Finance Services (FS) for processing enterprises; (iii) support of extension in Luapula Province in addition to promotion of cooperative services in both selected province; the Loan Agreement was subsequently amended to cover the financing of extension support in Eastern Province, too; (iv) up-grading of feeder roads and (v) establishing a fund to finance any development effort closely related to project objectives. The fund was designed as a window for flexible lending (and grants) to finance smallholders micro enterprises.
Project implementation would be supervised by a steering committee headed by the Permanent Secondary of Cooperatives. The Project Coordinator (PC) would be responsible for field implementation. The selected provinces would establish Coordination Committees to coordinate project activities at provincial level. The concerned line agencies, particularly the ZCF and its affiliations would execute their respective components.
Expected effects and assumptions
The expected results consist of benefits to smallholders in terms of increased agricultural productivity, value added from processing of farm produce and saving in transportation of inputs and products. Furthermore, households nutritional status should improve. Food security at the national level would be enhanced; and foreign exchange for food imports would be saved. The project would furthermore facilitate the implementation of a number of measures involved in the liberalization programme e.g. phasing of subsidies on maize.
Design Assumptions. Project implementation has suffered primarily because the assumption that the economic restructuring would start and take off was not valid. The continuation of the pan territorial pricing leads to serious misallocation of resources; and to inefficiency in maize marketing and fertiliser distribution. The continuation of subsidies lead to high inflation, making it difficult to maintain producer incentives in real terms. Finally the continuation of large subsidies on maize adversely affected demand and production of traditional foods such as cassava, sorghum and millet. Farmers' exposure to risk in maize cultivation increased yet further (late delivery of inputs, collection and payments); conversely the attraction of alternative crops increased, which was a costly and inefficient process of adjustment especially for the target group. Moreover during implementation, it became clear that the planned World Bank Research and Extension project tied to IFAD project, would not materialise and that the Department of Agriculture (DOA) could not provide adequate support from its own resources. There were therefore good reasons not to proceed with the project in its original design.
The evaluation team visited the six districts in which the project is active and held meetings with Provincial and District officials involved in project implementation. Emphasis was placed on direct contact with project beneficiaries, and a high proportion of the mission time in the field was devoted to individual and group meetings. The project staff participated fully in the field work and provided much of the information required by the mission. Requests for data by IFAD prior to the mission were made, and detailed reports had been prepared by most of the Provincial and District staff implementing the project.
In Spring 1990, a field survey of households was conducted in Luapula project districts as part of the evaluation of the project. The MTE mission was supplied with descriptive data by district. The survey provided the base with which to analyse constraints and preliminary impacts at the group and farm level. Similarly, baseline surveys had been undertaken by the M&E Unit, but were only partially analysed and reported. There was little, if any, objective M&E data on project impact, and this restricted analysis by the evaluation mission.
The implementation of the project has been clearly linked with the macro-economic policy reform aimed at correction of distortions, liberalization of markets, curbing of inflation, assertion of comparative advantage in production and hence improving food security. As such the project has been part of a package, the success of which is dependent on the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) as well as donors commitment to its realization. The slow down of the implementation of reforms reflected negatively on project achievements.
The Project Facilitation Unit (PFU) is located in Lusaka, far from project activities; not less than 30 different line agencies are involved, across the two provinces and in the six districts. Nevertheless the PFU has set up a functioning financial management system and procurement system in spite of project complexity. But the PFU has not been able to provide leadership and guidance with regard to the overall development process.
Limitations to Increased Production. Farmers face three major constraints: first, an agronomic non-suitability of continued monocropping of maize on commonly acidic soils in the absence of liming; second, collapsing systems for input delivery and maize marketing; and third, rising cost of fertiliser because of price liberalisation and subsidies reduction. Maize based farming will continue but with comparative advantage in areas closer to markets and points of input supply. With reduced fertiliser use, and the shift from intensive towards extensive cultivation methods, availability of labour and land became more binding constraints.
At the time of project initiation, Luapula was a serious food deficit area because of the ravages of the cassava mealy bug. This disease was later controlled by the successful application of IFAD funded Biological Control Programme developed by another IFAD project in the country, which resuscitated cassava production in the province. In Luapula, prospects for improved production and income are limited, except for the cassava based systems, vegetables in wetlands and along rivers, and possibly for maize grown close to semi urban centers. The situation would become brighter if the government actively encourages cross border trade with Zaire, where maize fetches a far higher return than in Zambia.
Progress with extension methodology. Notable progress has been made in creating an extension organisation in Luapula that has adopted a methodology based on small micro plots (spats) more responsive to the needs of small farmers. The T&V approach has been modified, but not sufficiently: the system of visits built upon individual contact farmers has been repeatedly proven ineffective. The T&V approach was implemented without training and support for diagnosis and feed back from extension workers to headquarters. A core team of extension workers should have been selected and supported to diagnose adoption rates, current trends in farming systems and constraints, and to report to their superiors and to researchers.
The decision to support extension in Eastern Province, for which the original loan agreement was amended in September 1988,is perhaps understandable since expected World Bank funding fell through, but there is no evidence that the implications and returns were properly studied. To add a further layer of complexity for the PFU was not justified. The benefits of the provided extension support in this province are uncertain or negative.
Credit use in line with intentions. The credit has been used for fertiliser application and not been diverted into consumption. The statistical analysis shows that adoption of fertiliser is positively associated with use of credit. Similarly the use of credit resources to support fisheries production through the Development Fund and for hammermills although late deserves much praise. The latter save labour in processing and transportation, especially for women; the technology is particularly applicable for remote locations.
High risk maize production supported by seasonal credit. The support of small or marginal producers, in a context of severe distortions in pricing and marketing structures, has meant that maize is produced in locations with little or no economic comparative advantage in production. At least until recently, credit in kind for fertiliser on maize was an economic package. The fertiliser subsidy compensated during the late 1980's for a price of maize that was not always aligned with increases in the general price level. The relative price of maize to fertiliser fluctuated widely in the 1985-90 period, but did not deteriorate markedly until the 1989-90 season. In this season, the price of maize rose by 127%, whereas prices of urea and compound D, increased by 300% and 440%, respectively.
The seasonal credit assured access to inputs of fertiliser for maize producers in locations where such service support and comparative advantage in maize production were uncertain. The supervised credit, highly subsideised with negative real interest rates exceeding 50% in the 1987-89 period, raised the probability of timely delivery of input (and assured easy repayment in king). But assisting small producers in distant locations means that maize production was encouraged in sites where input delivery was uncertain and not assured, and where maize had little or no comparative advantage as a cash crop, once project support and/or subsidies on transport and fertiliser would be removed.
Group formation and participation. The rationale for organising farmers into groups was to achieve cost-effectiveness in the use of credit, transport and farm input supply and marketing services. Once groups were formed, credit would be extended for bankable projects. The group would borrow as an entity and use social collateral as security. Approval of subsequent loans would depend on the group's repayment performance. A similar system had been used by ZFC FS, under the Cooperative Credit Scheme, with formally registered primary cooperative societies as the target groups. But, reportedly, there was no defined ZFC FS strategy and time table set for achieving such transition. Modules were not developed for the gradual progression of groups towards more participation and for gaining an increasing measure of participation.
The group promotions approach has been quite successful in terms of quantity of members enrolled and credit uptake and recovery at least until shortly before the MTE. But the attempt to create a cadre of credit agents that would deal at the village level with issues beyond rural and financial intervention has failed. This means that the regular government extension services will have to handle these non credit promotion aspects.
Input supply programme. The input supply component, although in principle sound, has had its limitations. With a low economic demand for farm inputs in the project districts, local funds generated were less than the local project costs to be met. In line with intentions, farm inputs (except for fertiliser) sold nationally, outside of the project area, have contributed to generate required local funding. But there are three limitations to the operation of this mechanism. Firstly, it presumes that foreign exchange for the import of farm inputs remains scarce. Secondly, there needs to be an economic demand for such imported inputs; the market demand for inputs directed at the target group has to be very carefully assessed. Thirdly, because of high inflation rates, profitability, savings mobilization and working capital is eroding; and the resultant-cash flow problems have led to the suspension of disbursements to ZCF.
Roads and processing plants. The performance of the roads and the processing plant programmes have not been in line with expectations. Although culverts and drifts were constructed, a mere km 67 of roads or 7% of target had been built at the time of MTE. The three multipurpose processing plants have been established, but two have proven uneconomic and/or have a too low capacity utilisation, the exception is the hammermill.
M&E Limited information base. The information base did not materialise with which to adjust project design. Rapid diagnostic surveys from the field could have furnished the necessary data with which to redesign the project at an earlier stage than the MTE to minimize the cost of continued distortions in production. But the M&E unit failed to deliver farm level data and information on adoption rates. The Management Information System (MIS) never became operational. As too often is the case, the project was implemented in line with assumptions that were not being tested on reality.
Effects sssessment and sustainability
Beneficiaries. The project has had a positive impact on smallholders in the project area, who have received advice, access to inputs and some services. In a situation with a severe scarcity of foreign exchange, inputs have been targeted reasonably successfully to smallholders in the project area, estimated at 73% of farm chemicals and 54% of equipment.
Effects on beneficiaries income. Cotton production has risen rapidly in Eastern Province in part because of insecticides. Cotton inputs were supplied through the SSRP for the 1990/91 season. LINTCO reports that the use of these inputs has increased cotton yields by over 50% and raised quality, which increases price by 3% . Reportedly, an incremental 4 000 ton of seed cotton was produced from 9 866 hectares and was directly due to the inputs supplied by the project. The net benefits from production were estimated at USD 0.9 million. Inputs for other crops have been procured through the project, valued at USD 1.6 million by the MTE. Benefits of these inputs have not been estimated but are likely to be satisfactory.
Effects on nutrition and food security. In 1990, Luapula province, within the project area, had the worest record countrywide in malnutrition. Though provincial level in nutrition data depict Eastern province to be marginally better than Luapula, household data reveal wide spread malnutrition in Eastern Province too. Initially, project aims of improving the food security situation and living standards appear to have been directed at the household level, as reflected in the kind of data to be included in the baseline study. However, as the project was developed at macro level, food security issues have taken precedence and activities have been directed toward the interests of more prosperous farmers. Despite the absence of quantitative data for assessing project progress on Household Food Security (HFS), the Mission was able to obtain indications in one region where project's activities have directly influenced household food supplies. Farmers in the Chama valley area, who received project loans for hybrid maize production, reported having retained the total production for home consumption. Repayment was made in kind using groundnuts, a food crop grown in surplus quantities according to the farmers. A logical conclusion that both larger food quantities and diversification of food at household level have become possible.
Specific effects on women. The target group conforms to the criteria stated for gender, with about one third of those targeted in the two provinces being women. This is in line with the actual proportions of women in the rural population according to the MTE survey conducted prior to the evaluation. This is also consistent with the SAR estimates of 35% of female headed households at national level, though women account for up to 75% of smallhodlers in many rural areas.
Environmental effects. Beneficial effects on the environment have been anticipated from the project interventions. The introduction of improved and tested farming systems would result in better land use as compared to the traditional shifting cultivation and more efficient soil and water conservation practices. However, the MTE reported that current research in Lake Bangweulu in Luapula, which is one of the important lakes in Zambia, indicates that "there is a general trend in declining catches and in mean fish lengths encountered". This situation is not resulting from the project, but it is essential to lay out precautions against any further deterioration.
Effects on Local/national Economic Development Trends. The project has contributed to production increases of cash crops (cotton, and maize) and food crops (cassava); gaining and saving foreign exchange. The provincial economy would benefit from these increases, border trade and feeder roads (though implementation is unduely slow). It has also benefitted from the support provided by the project to the cooperative organization both financially and commercially.
Extension. With continuing high deficit on domestic and external accounts, the standard T&V system is not justified, neither in terms of productivity nor in terms of recurrent costs. There is little reason to believe that the Government can continue to fund recurrent costs once the project is terminated, nor can the vehicles supplied under the project be refinanced once written off. A different type of extension system, more effective and financially sustainable, has to be sought for.
Credit. The focus on credit for high input use goes against farmers' natural inclination to progress stepwise across seasons from zero through low to high input use. In fact, the emphasis on credit-available for only a minority of farmers - discourages the diffusion of stepwise improvements from season to season over a longer time period.
Main issues and recommendations
Focus project resources and decentralize.
Overstretching of management resources is an important problem. A decision should be taken whether to remain in the Eastern province or to concentrate on Luapula Province, a preferred option for all activities except possibly for roads. Such a decision would focus the project managerial and financial resources and lead to proper targeting of project interventions. If project activities should continue in Eastern Province, then it should be in support of others donors interventions and integration of the development activities in the province. This should be preceded with proper need assessment diagnosis of farming problems and a well laid out extension strategy.
The PFU has been over-extended in executing its functions including procurement, monitoring and prioritization of project activities. It would be more appropriate to decentralize through appointment of deputy coordinators for each province. These deputies would liaise directly, as necessary, with the PFU. They would facilitate and expedite activities in each province so as to improve management by objective, participation processes and overall project performance. For further consolidation there is a need for a management advisor in the short-term as well as consultancy services in aspects of need assessment and diagnostic studies.
Support cooperative movement.
Fundamental to the design of the project was the rehabilitation of services through the cooperative movement based on real participation of small holders and independence from Government directives; but the policy agreed upon at negotiations was not adopted. The Government has taken steps to ensure the autonomy of the Cooperative movement and to strengthen the participatory processes as originally intended in project design. IFAD and Government should have an active dialogue to ensure the implementation and effectiveness of these policies and the success of the project.
Design a structured process to participation.
A more structured approach to participation at the district and community levels is necessary. The project should define criteria for eligibility, selection and approval based on economic potential, need of assisting IFAD target group, continued participation reflected in demonstrated self-help activities and/or contributions. The project should build upon the group promotion effort already achieved. A district development plan can be formulated based on the needs of communities where groups are already established. Within districts, subsets of selected communities would provide the focal point for project interventions. This effort should be supported by setting-up teams of service providers at the district level.
Four interdependent steps are required to initiate a planning and implementation based on a participatory process: these are creation of awareness, a need assessment and rapid diagnostic surveys, identification and prioritization of activities and series of workshops for the technical and economic review at these development plans. This process of engineering community development plans by district based on participation and local commitment would become a major priority for the PFU. The approach proposed requires a certain attitudinal change for field staff, in the sense that local communities and farmers would become active in planning and resource allocation.
Increase smallholder productivity.
Promotion of Low Input Technical Packages. Support is required to promote sustainable low input systems since present systems are not considered viable. Possibilities of intensification within the cassava garden system, the introduction of alley tree crop farming, small ruminants and liming represent priority areas which should be studied.
Review the Method of Extension. The extension methodology should be reviewed, the T&V system be reformed and more use be made of mass media. Extension must devote more attention to identify impact points in improving yields and management performance. The MTE survey confirmed that small farmers' demand for improved information on crop husbandry and farming systems is significant. A proposal for a pilot extension programme should be prepared and it should emulate the try-outs with farmer representatives ongoing inter alia in Zimbabwe, reportedly with good results. Fishery extension should be included in the review. Long term plans should include the source of funding of extension staff, which should be at least partly funded by the user.
Feed back and diagnosis within extension is limited and the project should set up two diagnostic teams within the extension system in Luapula. They would have to design recommendations that take into account the spatial dimension, i.e. transportation costs in marketing, assist in generating a flexible multi-season extension strategy that pays special attention to single female headed households. They shwould conduct need assessments and train other extension staff in the use of diagnostic techniques.
Effective utilization of credit and development funds.
Credit funds should be handed over to the ZCF CS and seasonal credit be shifted for medium term credit for tools, but with strict follow up of eligibility criteria. Credit should be provided to single headed households to acquire small ruminants. Lending under the Development Fund should be broadened to incorporate micro projects for the setting-up of simple market structures and lending for trading activities by women should be encouraged.
The Input supply funding mechanism needs careful redesign to ensure that imports reflect the actual demand of the target population for farm inputs, and that the benefiting institution is given incentives to operate efficiently. This has not been achieved in the project.
Effective monitoring and evaluation.
The monitoring cum evaluation of the project needs to be reestablished with first priority for creating a MIS (for process evaluation) and second priority for impact monitoring. Data are required about trends in farmers' resource endowments, adjustments and coping strategies. Data from the representative households should include preferences with regard to overall needs, priorities for investment, extent of own contributions and participation.
Participation. A more structured approach to participation and planning at the district and community levels is necessary. The project relies on district agencies for implementation, but these are not trained and supported in setting priorities on the basis of needs and production potential. There is little evidence of any attempt to carry out such an approach in the project, and no call for it in the project design. Projects that intend to use field agencies for implementation in a participatory mode need to conceptualise and set out the detailed design with which to achieve this objective.
Importance of needs analysis, targeting and Specificity. The Project has undertaken a complex programme but interventions have not been well directed to ensure complementarity between the different support activities. A principal reason is the absence of continued needs assessments with which to target beneficiaries and interventions. For example trends in socio-economic conditions within the project area need to be assessed for project design to address primary issues and constraints. Likewise extension recommendations need to be targeted according to the location of households, especially if agricultural marketing is liberalised. The use of high input systems to produce low value bulky crops, like maize, will not be economic especially in remote areas with difficult access.
Multi-season (year) growth strategies. The demand for credit normally exceeds by far supply and alternative development pathways should be identified and adopted where appropriate, based on surpluses generated for continuous re-investment without external help. This requires a multi-season/year approach in extension advice.
Viability and Relevance of technology. The project design did not set out the recommendations for the extension service to promote crop diversification. Without assured delivery of relevant recommendations, project impact will remain uncertain. Even when technology is available, an economic appraisal is required before it is introduced. For example, the multi-purpose processing plants were found too expensive to be operated by local cooperatives, returns are low or negative; moreover the technical sophistication of the plant in combination with limited market demand makes it impossible to maintain it with local resources. Such an appraisal will have to explore also the capacity utilization of plants already operating in the project area.
Programme de redressement agricole I - Projet Oasis (1992)
Résumé du rapport d'évaluation intermédiaire
La zone du projet comprend un vaste espace constitué par 5 régions (wilayas) sur les 12 que compte le pays. Les oasis, environ 350, sont éparpillées, éloignées des principaux centres urbains, à l'écart des voies de communication et souvent inaccessibles. La mise en valeur des oasis est inégale selon les régions. Elle est relativement intense dans l'Adrar et le nord Tagant et encore timide dans l'Assaba et les deux Hodhs. La production oasienne (dattes, céréales, légumineuses) représenterait 30% de la production agricole du pays, occupant plus de 10.000 familles et contribuant ainsi à la subsistance d'une population évaluée à 230.000 personnes. Plusieurs années de sécheresse, dans les années 70, ont décimé le bétail, accru de façon dramatique l'exode rural et profondément perturbé le système oasien du fait de l'abaissement des nappes phréatiques. Les oasis ont été l'objet d'un regain d'intérêt de la part des populations nomades affectées par la perte du cheptel.
Le groupe cible du projet est constitué par les populations oasiennes (230.000 personnes, près de 11.000 exploitations). Cette population est essentiellement constituée d'éleveurs nomades ayant perdu leur cheptel, de petits agriculteurs et de paysans sans terre.
Le projet a pour objectif principal la réhabilitation du secteur agricole après la longue sécheresse des années soixante dix.
Ses objectifs spécifiques sont:
- l'accroissement de la production agricole, production de dattes, de henné et de légumes;
- la lutte contre la désertification en arrêtant la dégradation des ressources dans les oasis;
- l'amélioration des conditions de vie des populations et l'appui à la sédentarisation des nomades;
- le renforçement des institutions qui fournissent des services aux exploitants et qui interviennent dans la prise de décision et la planification (FND et service du MDR).
Les principales composantes du projet sont:
- des investissements à l'exploitation: fourniture à crédit de produits (ciment, fer, tuyaux PVC) pour le creusement de 3.100 puits et leur équipement de 710 motopompes et de système d'exhaure à traction animale.
- la protection des oasis: fourniture à crédit de 200 km de grillage en vue de la protection de 1.660 ha d'oasis, protection de 16 oasis contre l'ensablement par la stabilisation des dunes et leur fixation biologique par la plantation de 1.200 ha d'espèces forestières;
- la fourniture d'intrants aux exploitations: placement au comptant ou à crédit de semences, engrais, produits phytosanitaires;
- la commercialisation: fourniture à crédit à des coopératives de 2 chambres froides et 4 camionettes pick-up;
- le renforcement des institutions par le financement de constructions, d'équipements, de moyens de transport et de frais de fontionnement;
- la formation et l'équipement d'artisans puisatiers et la formation d'agriculteurs;
- une assistance technique sous forme de 200 mois/homme d'expert et 18 mois/homme de techniciens;
- la réalisation d'études et d'expérimentations intéressant le développement oasien.
L'exécution des diverses composantes devait être confiée aux organismes existants (FND, DA, DPN, DH) dont la coordination devait être assurée par l'unité de gestion du projet. Le FND, à travers la Direction du crédit agricole, devait gérer le crédit agricole et l'approvisionnement en intrants, la DPN exécuter le volet protection contre l'ensablement, la DH le suivi des nappes et la DA tout ce qui se rapporte au développement agricole (études, essais, expérimentation, formation, vulgarisation, protection phytosanitaire). Un comité consultatif présidé par le Secrétaire général du MDR devait superviser l'exécution du projet.
Les bénéficiaires du projet étaient estimés à environ 4.000 familles dont les revenus devaient augmenter entre 130 % et 240 % grâce à une production additionnelle de 3.300 t de dattes, 7.260 t de fourrages, 64 t de céréales, 30 t de légumineuses et 1.000 t de légumes. Les autres bénéfices du projet portaient sur l'amélioration des performances des institutions participant à la mise en oeuvre du projet.
L'hypothèse à la base du projet était que la mobilisation des populations permettrait de mieux tirer profit des ressources que renferment les oasis et qui sont notoirement sous-exploitées.
L'exécution du projet s'est déroulée dans une conjoncture particulière marquée essentiellement par:
- des ajustements structurels au niveau macro-économique;
- une relative amélioration des conditions climatiques par rapport à la sécheresse qui a sévi dans le pays depuis le début des années 70;
- l'invasion acridienne de 1987, 1988 et 1989;
- le conflit entre la Mauritanie et le Sénégal en avril 1989;
- la crise du golfe en 1990-91.
Ont été fournis des crédits pour le creusement de 2.212 puits soit 105 millions d'UM, des crédit pour 662 motopompes soit 25 millions d'UM, des crédits pour 340 km de grillages. Le nombre de crédits consentis n'est pas forcément égal à celui du nombre de puits effectivement creusés ou de motopompes effectivement acquises.
Les quantités d'intrants agricoles cédées aux agriculteurs ont été très limitées (2,3 millions d'UM).
La protection contre l'ensablement à concerné 32 oasis. Cela a été permis par l'aide alimentaire du PAM (175,75 millions d'UM). Le succès de cette opération est attesté entre autre par une demande croissante des populations.
La protection phytosanitaire est restée rudimentaire: lutte chimique avec utilisation de soufre sur les palmiers et lutte biologique par le lacher de 800 coccinelles.
Ont été formés: 115 puisatiers qui n'ont pas reçu de crédit d'équipement, 1164 agriculteurs qui n'ont pas été suivis par la suite, 47 agents d'encadrement, 140 femmes (conservation et stockage des légumes, techniques culinaires).
La vulgarisation a consisté en la formation de 26 associations féminines et l'implantation de 56 parcelles de démonstration pour les cultures sous palmiers.
Le suivi des nappes s'est limité à la préparation de l'installation de 125 points de mesures répartis sur 95 oasis et à l'inventaire des points d'eau dans les oasis de la zone d'intervention du projet.
L'appui aux institutions a porté sur des investissements (construction, acquisition de véhicules et d'équipement de bureau) et sur le financement de frais de fonctionnement de la Cellule de Coordination et des organismes d'intervention.
Il n'y a eu ni étude ni expérimentation. Aucune réalisation dans le domaine de l'exhaure animale.
L'unité de suivi évaluation (USE) a effectué 5 missions sur le terrain et a participé à l'évaluation à mi parcours. Dans un cas comme dans l'autre les résultats pourtant pertinents n'ont pas été pris en compte par la CC.
Il n'existe pas de données qui permettent d'évaluer l'impact du projet. Cependant un accroissement de la production de dattes et de la production maraichère est perceptible. L'impact économique peut aussi être apprécié à travers le regain d'intérêt pour les oasis et pour les transactions sur la terre et les palmiers.
Socialement, le développement des oasis parait avoir permis d'améliorer les conditions de vie de groupes sociaux autrefois dominés. Le dynamisme des groupements précoopératifs est prometteur.
Effets sur les revenus et les conditions de vie des femmes: le regain d'intérêt pour les oasis a eu pour effet d'accroitre la participation des femmes aux activités de production et de protection des oasis. Cette participation plus grande a renforcé le rôle des femmes comme agents de développement. On ignore cependant dans quelle mesure ce surcroit d'activité a permis aux femmes un meilleur accès aux résultats.
Effets sur l'environnement et sur la base de ressource: les travaux de lutte contre l'ensablement et la protection de 32 oasis ont eu un impact écologique positif sur le milieu naturel. L'utilisation importante des motopompes présente un risque d'abaissement de la nappe.
Appréciation de la durabilité du projet: sur le plan institutionnel, l'impact du projet est décevant. La DCA, le CAT et le centre de formation de Sani n'apparaissent pas viables (voir para 29).
Une faible prise en compte des besoins des bénéficiaires et des livraisons de matériels inadaptés
Les motopompes fournies, de qualité médiocre ne sont pas adaptées aux conditions difficiles de cette région: oasis dispersés et d'accès difficile, température élevée, vents de sables fréquents, milieu très sec et poussiéreux, etc.. De plus, ce matériel est livré sans formation préalable des utilisateurs. L'entretien est donc très mal assuré, les pannes fréquentes et l'usure du matériel prématurée. Les mailles du grillage livré étaient souvent trop larges et le nombre de piquets insuffisant. Les "paquets" de produits fournis (ciment, fer, tuyaux PVC) se sont avéré inadaptés aux besoins. l'approvisionnement en intrants n'a pas bénéficié d'une vulgarisation préalable et n'a pas tenu compte des besoins des utilisateurs ; les trois quarts des produits acquis par la DCA en 1990 seraient encore en stock.
Les actions de développement agricole (vulgarisation, formation, protection phytosanitaire) n'ont pas bénéficié d'une conception d'ensemble. Elles auraient pâti d'une certaine improvisation, de l'imprécision des objectifs et des messages techniques, de la faible qualification du personnel et de l'ignorance des systèmes de production oasiens. Leur impact est très modeste;
27. Un taux de recouvrement des crédits très faible: 26%
Plusieurs explications peuvent être avancées:
- l'UBD n'assume aucun risque. Elle n'est pas incitée à recouvrer les crédits oasis;
- les agences régionales ne sont pas convenablement outillées pour le recouvrement (personnel, matériel, formation);
- la dispertion des oasis, les difficultés d'accès, la concentration des recouvrements durant une période très courte rendent à la fois difficiles et couteuses les campagnes de recouvrement;
- l'altération de l'image de l'UDB et de sa crédiblité à partir 1988/89 et l'assimilation par certains bénéficiaires du crédit à un don;
- la mauvaise qualité de certains matériaux fournis, des coûts parfois très élevés et des délais de livraison parfois trop longs ont découragé beaucoup de gens.
Les faibles performances des institutions
La cellule de coordination (CC) s'est heurtée à de grandes difficultés pour maîtriser la gestion et la comptabilité du projet. Elle n'est pas parvenue à assurer correctement la coordination entre les intervenants ni à inscrire dans l'action de ceux-ci la préoccupation d'exécution des actions du projet comme un tout cohérent. Les efforts faits pour instaurer un système de suivi-évaluation sont méritoires mais se sont avérés insuffisants. La CC n'a pas été à même d'utiliser les résultats du suivi et de l'évaluation à mi-parcours pour améliorer la gestion et la connaissance du groupe cible. Les structures créées au sein de la Direction de l'agriculture (DA) destinées au développement oasien, (le Centre d'appui technique CAT et le Centre de formation de Sani) ne paraissent pas viables.
Les espoirs mis dans la création de la Direction du crédit agricole (DCA) comme instrument de gestion et de développement du crédit agricole pour les oasis et pour l'ensemble du pays ont été déçus. Malgré les efforts d'équipement et de fonctionnement consentis depuis 6 ans (197 millions d'UM), la DCA n'est toujours pas viable. Ses frais de fonctionnement (162 millions d'UM) sont disproportionnés par rapport à ses performances (234 millions d'encours). Elle a pâti de la faible qualification de son personnel, de son absence d'autonomie au sein du FND puis de l'UBD et des problèmes de trésorerie et autres qu'affronte cette dernière institution. La DCA n'a pas été en mesure enfin d'adopter et de mettre en pratique une organisation appropriée et, notamment une structure comptable conforme aux exigences d'une saine gestion administrative et financière. Tout cela pourrait expliquer,dans une certaine mesure, les performances médiocres du recouvrement du crédit.
Les réalisations financières font apparaître un coût institutionnel élevé avec 54% du total déboursé dont 16% pour les investissements et 38% pour le fonctionnement (personnel,carburant et pièces détachées); les investissements pouvant être considérés comme productifs (développement agricole) représenteraient 39% dont seulement 17% seraient directement destinés aux populations oasiennes.
Il est recommandé que des actions futures soient orientées vers l'organisation des populations oasiennes de manière à ce que chaque oasis d'intervention puisse être représentée par une structure qui serait l'interlocuteur du projet pour le développement de l'oasis comme unité de référence pour la conception et la mise en oeuvre des actions de développement. C'est à travers la création de ces structures, leur fonctionnement et avec leur collaboration que devrait être entreprise de façon systématique l'étude du milieu oasien.
L'intervention du projet se ferait sur une base contractuelle où tout apport de celui-ci serait conditionné par une contrepartie des oasiens qui, avec l'assistance du projet, définiraient leurs besoins, programmeraient dans le temps leurs actions et les modalités de leur réalisation (dans le domaine du développement agricole mais aussi dans ceux de la santé, de l'éducation et des services).
Les actions de développement seraient conçues oasis par oasis de manière cohérente. L'efficience de certaines actions comme par exemple, la protection phytosanitaire en serait accrue. Si une plus grande initiative de proposition, d'organisation et d'action est laissée aux populations oasiennes et à leurs organisations, l'exécution du projet devrait se faire selon "l'approche programme" susceptible de mieux tenir compte des contraintes et des réalités locales mais aussi, de mieux capter les initiatives locales. Cette approche permettra ainsi de mieux tenir compte des diverses vocations régionales (agricoles dans l'Adrar, pastorales et agricoles dans l'Assaba et les deux Hodhs).
Comme il est apparu que les formes classiques de crédit agricole ne sont pas adaptées aux conditions oasiennes, d'autres formes de collecte et de mobilisation des ressources seraient à explorer. Le projet pourrait par exemple, consentir un fonds de roulement à chacune des oasis d'intervention à charge pour celle-ci de mobiliser les ressources existantes dans l'oasis et de réalimenter le fonds,dans le cadre d'un programme annuel de développement de l'oasis.
D'une manière générale, un plus grand travail d'adaptation des techniques à proposer aux oasiens est nécessaire aussi bien pour l'exhaure à traction animale, la protection phytosanitaire, l'utilisation des motopompes que pour l'économie de l'eau ou les techniques culturales. Ce travail d'adaptation devra permettre de renforcer l'autonomie des oasiens, réduire leur dépendance à l'égard des services extérieurs (éloignés, incertains et coûteux) et de mieux valoriser les compétences locales.
La viabilité à long terme du développement oasien dépendra de la capacité des populations à gérer, mettre en valeur et sauvegarder leurs ressources de manière relativement autonome. L'intervention des services publics dans ce domaine devrait être prudente et limitée dans le temps. C'est ainsi, par exemple, que le suivi des nappes devrait être assuré par les oasiens qui l'intégreront progressivement à leurs préoccupations.
Pour le FIDA, deux leçons de portée générale peuvent être tirées de cette évaluation. La première concerne la démarche de programmation et d'intervention à adopter vis-à-vis des communautés bénéficiaires. Dans les projets à composantes multiples exécutés par des institutions différentes et comportant des actions d'aménagement de terroirs, le développement de services collectifs et du crédit, il y a souvent de gros risques d'interventions non coordonées et parfois contradictoires des différents partenaires institutionnels. Seule une démarche de programmation participative et contractuelle au niveau local permet d'éviter ces inconvénients. C'est pourquoi il est nécessaire d'identifier au niveau de chaque communauté des interlocuteurs représentatifs (désignés par les villageois), d'élaborer avec eux des programmes d'activité intégrés et cohérents au niveau local (pour l'ensemble des composantes du projet), d'exécuter ces actions sur la base d'un contrat passé entre la communauté (ou le groupement) et le projet. Ces programmes d'activités localisés et ces contrats doivent constituer la base du processus de programmation annuel et trimestriel du projet et de l'ensemble de ses partenaires institutionels.
La deuxième leçon, déjà bien connue du FIDA, est relative au mode de financement des investissements et de la production dans les régions enclavées et trés peu développées. Dans de telles région le "tout à crédit" est une solution trés risquée qui peut compromettre par son échec la viabilité de l'ensemble du processus de développement engagé par le projet. La politique d'allocation de crédits devrait être beaucoup plus prudente, se limiter aux activités dont la rentabilité financière et la sécurité sont clairement établies et à la condition préalable qu'un service bancaire opérationnel et efficace soit mis en place. Des taux d'impayés de l'ordre de 75%, comme ceux qu'a connu le projet oasis ne compromettent pas seulement la survie du service de crédit instauré par le projet, mais tout développement futur du marché financier rural dans la région.
Proyecto de Apoyo a Pequeños Productores en el Estado de Sucre (1992)
Sao Tome et Principe: Pilot food crop development project
Interim evaluationSao Tome et principe is constituted of two islands at 300 km of Gabon. The various agro-ecological conditions (930 mm of rainfallsin the north and more than 7 000 mm in the south) ensure a high agricultural potential. After independence in 1975, plantations became state enterprises. In 1985, agricultural policies began to promote farm household and food crop production. Since 1987, the governement implements Structural Adjustement Programmes wich aim at the transformation of the formally centrally planned economy to a liberal market system. The main cultures are: cocoa, coco, palm trees, cafe. Only 10% of the cultivated area is covered by staple food crops. The small scale food crop production is done by plantations workers or independent subsistence farmers. A land reform is planned to allocate land to former workers of state enterprises, young people trained by the agricultural training center, former civil servants, unemployed workers.
Project objectives and design
Project beneficiaries would include plantation workers and independent subsistence farmers, whose number would increase because of expected lay-offs in the plantations and the public sector. Vegetable farmers already benefitting from the Mesquito Centre services would be excluded. The number of expected beneficiaries is about 3 100 people i.e. 35% to 50% of food crop farmers.
The project aims at the development of staple food crops as a means to improve incomes and the nutritional status of poor rural households.
Project components included in the project are:
- A socio-economic study to be undertaken by a socio-economist and an agronomist. Project components could be revised on the basis of the study results.
- Input supply including seeds, chemicals and simple tools would be provided, while storage capacity at the Mesquita Centre would be improved and mobile sales provided for.
- Extension support through the recruitment of six additional agents (five existing), staff training and provision of motorcycles.
- Variety trials and seed selection would improve the quality and the range of available crops, with particular attention to staple food crops. The Poto Research Station would be strengthened to carry out soil and fertility tests on demand by the project.
- Seed multiplication to be undertaken to reduce the dependence from outside sources. Technical assistance would be provided.
- Training would include staff training for extension workers, with the help of short term consultants, covering fields such as soil conservation, storage, simple accounting, etc. Farmer training would take place through field days and demonstration plots.
- Groups, Credit. Existing experience in group support would be strengthened through the setting up of extension groups. Technical assistance would be provided to define the modalities and assist in the implementation. Input credit in kind would be tried out on a pilot basis.
- Technical Assistance. An assistant would be recruited for the trials and multiplication activities, and he would function as the deputy project director, the Mesquita director being the project coordinator. Short-term consultancies for training and for group formation has been included
The project design included an comprehensive approach to the development of staple food crops and was intended to be integrated in the already on-going programme of the Mesquita Centre. However, from the beginning in 1989, representatives of the Centre, the FAC, the Cooperating Institution and IFAD, because of the multitude of sources of financing in support of the Centre, agreed on a division of labor. Decentralized extension infrastructure, studies, institutional strengthening, seed selection, multiplication and storage and if needed, input supply were to be financed by IFAD. The FAC would continue to support extension, input supply, marketing, technical assistance, training, and farmer group formation. UNCDF would support irrigation development.
The project would have a significant impact on the income and well being of the beneficiaries and would demonstrate to government and donors that smallholder food production, if properly supported, can contribute to income growth and to increasing the domestic supply of food stuffs, without significantly reducing labor availability in the plantations. Yields would increase of 50%, farmers' income of 180 to 197%. About 3100 households, including 750 plantation workers, 250 independent farmers and 2100 producers already supported by Mesquita, would produce an additional 350 tons of maize, 1000 tons of root crops, and 800 tons of vegetables. This would allow a gradual reduction in food aid.
The asumption was made that a broad based food sector support project would constitute a basis for a dialogue with the government on food policies.
Since 1989, the vegetable market has been saturated. The maize market has been disturbed by the WFP importations. There were a general falling of the real purchasing power of households and a rise in the price of inputs, due to the continuous devaluation of the local currency.
(a) Socio-economic study was carried out in 1989/90 and it analyzed several aspects of the smallholder household. It made several specific recommendations, most of which have not been implemented.
(b) Input Supply. IFAD funds have been used on an ad hoc basis when other sources were not available. Sales receipts in domestic currency were intended to be used for the construction of storage with farmer groups. Due to the lack of operating funds at the Centre, these funds had to be used for this purpose and no support to groups for storage materialized.
(c) Extension. This activity has been financed by the FAC and IFAD support was only marginal. In 1991, on-farm trials were initiated and at present, some 60 of such trials are ongoing.
(d) Variety trials and seed selection was the main activity of the project. A total of 7 food crop species (maize, cassava, rice, soya, igname, potatoes), 12 fruit species and 36 vegetable species, including 309 different varieties were put on trial and by 1992, a total of 400 varieties would have been tested. The required material was obtained in different countries in the region and through direct imports from Europe.
(e) Seed multiplication has remained at a level to allow further variety trials and demonstration but has not yet reached significant levels for distribution to producers, with the exception of maize and sweet potatoes.
(f) Training. A total of 62 man-months were available for overseas training, of these, three short training courses have been used: two on data processing, in relation to the socio-economic survey, in Portugal, and one on seed selection and multiplication, in France. Extension training has been realized by the AFVP technical assistance, funds for short term consultancies for group formation and credit have not been utilized, mainly because other donor's grant financing was available and because CLUSA implemented a programme for that purpose.
(g) Support to Poto Research Station was provided as planned. However, the capacity of the Poto station to provide pedological and phytopathological analyses on demand by the project is still very limited. Some of the project trials have been carried out on the station.
(h) Technical assistance in variety trials and multiplication has been in place since 1990 and has limited its scope strictly to this activity, the coordination with other activities of the Centre being difficult because of the lack of consensus on the objectives and methods. It has not taken up its role of deputy director of the Centre as foreseen.
Beneficiaries: beneficiaries of the extension and input supply activities of the Centre have been about 1200 farmers, mainly engaged in commercial vegetable p_oduction. Several farmer groups growing maize in the Centre and the North of the country have also been reached.
After only two years of effective project implementation, the project impact is limited.
Effects on beneficiaries incomes: it is obviously too early for the elaboration of an estimate of the expected project impact on national food production and on farmer incomes, the more so as the functioning of the different farming systems in place is not sufficiently known.
Effects on the environment: the trial programme has significantly increased the genetic capital in the country by the introduction of numerous species and varieties.
The institutional impact of the project includes the establishment of an applied research and multiplication service, which is a precondition for the improvement of the domestic food production. Its impact has however been limited by the lack of coordination with other services, due to weak management capacities at the Centre, but also to personality issues. The project has contributed to the institutional strengthening of the Centre by the provision of the required equipment and infrastructure.
A number of unforeseen factors have affected the project, including: a higher than expected level of productivity in existing farming systems, growing basic foods like banana, breadfruit and manioc; an early saturation of the vegetable market and a falling real purchasing power in other markets; a rise in the price of inputs, due to continuous devaluation of the local currency; and delays in the implementation of the land reform programme.
Lack of understanding of the rural sector
Because the lack of understanding of the rural situation, a socio-economic study was planned. The results would have allowed to define what were the activities and services needed by the target group and thus to orientate projects components. This study had been done and presented several usefull recommendations about extension, commercialization, credit, farmers' organizations, monitoring and evaluation unit. But, the results were not taken into account. The FAC, cooperating institution and IFAD agreed on a division of labour before results of the socio-economic study were available.
With the division of labour between representatives of the center, the FAC and IFAD, the IFAD project shift from an integrated rural development project to a seed selection and multiplication project.
Implementation of this approach has been constrained by: i) the lack of a single, well defined strategy and priority setting mechanism at the Centre, which would have allowed to orient the different donor support and apply similar implementation approaches; ii) the lack of a coordination mechanism; iii) the delay in the implementation of the land reform programme, reducing the number of potential smallholder beneficiaries.
The recommandations for the short term are:
- Trials and selection needs to give priority to crops for which farmer demand exists: tomatoes, beans, potatoes, bananas, maize and igname. Participatory research, based on farmer identified constraints, needs to be initiated. Multiplication of available material needs to be expanded.
- Support to input supply needs to be increased, focussing on regular supplies of essential inputs.
- The Centre needs to privatize the last 50 ha on which it presently undertakes crop production. The remaining 15 ha are required for trials and multiplication.
- A six month training consultancy should be undertaken to train the accounting staff and to assist them in implementing the recommendations of the most recent audit. An overall training programme for Centre staff and farmers needs to be drawn up and implemented.
- Urgent maintenance work on the existing infrastructure needs to be undertaken.
- A Monitoring and Evaluation system needs to be set up based on the informations kept on each farmer supported by the Centre and on a sample of farms designed according to the recent National Agricultural Census. Consultant support may be provided for this.
- Studies on the market potential of domestic food crops and of smallholder export crops need to be undertaken urgently. This is a top priority if a new IFAD project has to be prepared.
- Together with CLUSA, specific support to farmer groups in input supply should be defined, e.g. local storage construction, in order to prepare for increased participation of groups in input supply.
- In discussion with the government, FAC and IFAD, some measures to strengthen the extension service need to be undertaken, such as the decentralization and the provision of transport.
- A participatory research programme on farming systems (Research-Development) needs to be initiated on crop profitability, soil conservation, and fertility, integration of livestock and agriculture, storage, marketing, etc.
The elaboration of a future programme would need to be coordinated with design exercises of other donors, notably the French FAC and CCE. For this new programme, the target group will be newly settled farm households on distributed land and existing smallholders producing for subsistence. Particular attention will be given to resource poor households such as landless and female headed households. About 6000 households could be supported in a seven year period, including 4500 newly settled households. The objectives will be to promote not only productive activities in food crops but also diversified export crops and non-farm activities; to promote autonomous farmer groups, able to manage their own development, to develop complete and sustainable "filières" for input supply and agricultural products, processing and marketing, and to improve the standard of living of the poor rural households.
The proposed approach aims at integrating newly settled and existing smallholder households in economically viable activities and to improve the basic services and the social environment through self-managed structures. In priority setting and implementation, a participatory approach would be adopted.
i) The coordination with donors engaged in the same sector is very important. This coordination should be effective in project design in order to elaborate commun strategie and during project implementation to ensure a good working of the project.
ii) To ensure an operational use of initial socio-economic studies, a mechanism has to be designed to operationalize the findings, such as through a restitution mission, a workshop on the results, a programming meeting and integration in the M&E system.
iii) pilot projects need to be linked to a sufficiently developed M&E system which will improve the understanding of the sector and the socio-economic conditions.
iv) In the case of unknown situation such as Sao Tome small holder agriculture,it is essential to propose a more active beneficiary participation in the design and the monitoring of the project and even a participatory research.
v) In general, in countries undertaking structural adjustment programmes, the mobilization of the government contribution to the project is often difficult. Mechanisms may be designed, which avoid projects to stall because of delays in the mobilization of these local funds.
Southwest Region Agricultural Rehabilitation Project
Although agriculture is the dominant sector of Uganda's economy, less than 30% of the total arable area is presently under cultivation. The country suffered considerably in the 1970s under the effects of political mismanagement, and the 1980s were characterised by efforts to restore the economy, which included large successive devaluations. In 1990 the Government of Uganda (GOU) obtained a major agricultural sector credit loan from IBRD, but inflation continued at high levels, estimated at 50% in 1992 (at the time of the MTE). The Southwestern Region, which borders Tanzania, Rwanda and Zaire, had a population in the 1991 census of 2.66 million people, in about 400,000 small farming units. The terrain ranges from rolling savannah to high mountains; rainfall tends to increase with altitude, and varies from less than 900 mm to more than 1350 mm in the highlands. Mixed farming predominates in the area, and three cropping regimes can be identified, depending on altitude. In the high altitude mountainous areas, which comprise steeply contoured hillsides, double cropping is common, and crops include maize, sorghum, millet, beans, sweet potatoes, and Irish potatoes. At mid altitudes similar crops are grown, but the main food crop is bananas, and coffee is an important cash crop. In the lower areas, where rainfall is least, the soils are quite poor and this area is mostly used for extensive grazing of cattle, sheep and goats, with very small household plots of food crops (bananas, cassava, maize, groundnuts and sweet potatoes).
Project design and objectives
IFAD's involvement in Uganda began in 1981, when food supplies were still severely disrupted after years of turmoil and destructive civil strife. As a result IFAD's emphasis was on the production of food crops and food security measures. Two ongoing projects in the mid 1980s, the Agricultural Reconstruction Programme and The Agricultural Development Project concentrated on input supplies and aimed at the rehabilitation of basic agricultural services and the provision of limited credit. The IFAD-initiated Southwest Region agricultural Rehabilitation Project (SWRARP) was intended to continue and enlarge these basic themes.
The population of the Region comprises six interrelated tribal groups, all speaking the same vernacular. The average household size is seven persons, and family groups operate smallholdings of 1-2.5 ha; there is an increasing problem of land scarcity with the result that farming methods are becoming more intensive and steeper land areas are being pressed into production. Income levels in the Region are about USD 100 per caput, which is less than half the national average. Although poor, nutrition is not a major problem throughout the Region. The target group consisted of virtually the whole population of the Region, as most people would benefit from the large road component by improved public transport, better marketing opportunities, and easier access to services, however the appraisal specifically estimated that over 28,000 farm families would benefit from the extension and research component, and over 270,000 farm families from the input supply component. Food crop production is predominantly undertaken by women; other tasks are collecting water and fuelwood and marketing. Since women constitute over 70 % of the agricultural workforce, they form the largest section of the target group.
Objectives and components
The main objectives of SWRARP were to: (i) increase food security and improve nutrition through increasing production; (ii) improve the incomes and living standards of small farmers in the Southwest Region, who constitute the large majority of the population; (iii) strengthen rural institutions; and (iv) provide the technological base to improve agricultural productivity and halt environmental degradation. These goals were to be achieved through support for adaptive research and extension, procurement and sale of inputs, rehabilitation of rural access roads, and support for project management including a small community development fund with a credit component. Total project base costs were estimated at USD 23.4 mn. and contingencies added a further USD 3.8 mn. The project consisted of six components, as follows:
Rural Access Roads USD 11.19 mn (48%)
Agricultural Input Supply USD 6.95 mn (30%)
Adaptive Research and Extension USD 3.36 mn (14%)
M & E USD 0.65 mn (2.6%)
Management Support USD 0.82 mn (3.5%)
Community Devt/Small-scale Enterprise Fund USD 0.40 mn (1.9%)
The rural access roads component was to be financed mostly by IDA (64%) and the GOU (20%), IFAD was more committed to the financing of the agricultural inputs (82%), the M&E (67%) and the management support activities (53%). The project duration was expected to be five years.
The rural roads programme was intended to provide engineering and financial support for a programme of rehabilitation and repairs to critical parts of the 2000 km of rural access roads not covered by other projects, and to provide strengthen the Ministry of Local Government's (MOLG) district-level road maintenance capacity (with equipment, tools, operating expenses and training). The identification of roads to be included in this programme was to be undertaken by means of an inventory and infrastructure evaluation study as part of the project start up. Criteria for selection included socio-economic aspects, the requirements of the agricultural extension and research programmes and linkages with other road rehabilitation projects; the work was due to begin in year two and be completed by year five. The agricultural inputs supply component was concerned with the procurement and sale of hand tools, seeds, bicycles, wheelbarrows, small threshers and flour mills and agricultural chemicals, and also with equipment (vehicles, materials etc.) needed to improve the marketing facilities in the Region.
The adaptive research and extension component was intended to establish adaptive research programmes at selected stations, and included an outreach programme for farmers. Emphasis was to be placed on the major food crops of the Region, with soil conservation and fertility improvement being priority factors. The Regional Home Economics Units of the MOA would be integrated into the extension component in order to provide a channel to and from women's groups so that women's needs could be catered for in the programmes developed. Technical Assistance and training would also be provided under this component. As most institutions were moribund as a result of the civil disturbances, institutional strengthening was required in a number of ways to assist project implementation and sustainability. Management support was to be supplied to the road maintenance units of MOLG, the extension and research service, the MOA and the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, which would be established in the Regional headquarters of the MOA. In addition community development through the formation of appropriate groups and the promotion of small-scale entrepreneurial activities (which included the provision of medium term credit) would be undertaken by seconded staff from the Ministry of Community Development; the project would support the organisation and training of these groups and would provide small equipment and materials to assist with the start-up cost of entrepreneurs.
Expected effects and assumptions
Project benefits were expected to flow from expansion of the cropped area, the increased availability of inputs, increased productivity (from extension and research activities) and improved market access as a result of road rehabilitation. Most benefits to farm families would be in the form of better food security (incremental food production was estimated to reach 120, 000 mt by year 5). Transport costs were expected to decline by between USD 0.05-0.20 per mt per km, giving the possibility of higher farmgate prices. Cash incomes were expected to rise by about USD 117 per farm family (up 74%) for food secure families and by about USD 83 (up 36%) for farm families in food insecure areas/. The most important assumptions made in the project design concerned the GOU's ability to (i) procure the large quantities of inputs needed and (ii) to complete the tendering procedures required for large (road) contracts in a timely manner.
The MTE mission took place in October and November 1992; the multidisciplinary mission met with central government agencies and other donors in Kampala, then split into four groups for field visits to cover (i) adaptive research and extension, (ii) community development and women (iii) roads, buildings and credit, and (iv) management and institutions. Discussions were held with project staff, government field staff involved in the project, farmers and other beneficiaries. Final meetings took place to discuss the findings both with the project management in the Region and also the government agencies in Kampala.
Many external factors, some related to the country's efforts at restructuring and rehabilitation following 15 years of turmoil, had a delaying effect on the project. Among these were:
- the government's decentralisation programme, which required time-consuming reorganisation of the project management structure;
- the civil service reform, which prevented the realisation of certain objectives of institutional strengthening and rehabilitation;
- the varying performances of the Cooperative Bank and the Uganda Commercial Bank (UCB) over time, requiring repeated reassessment of possibilities for collaboration in the pilot credit scheme and causing delays in scheme start-up;
- the rapid devaluation of the Ugandan Shilling, from U sh 60 per USD at appraisal in 1987 to U sh 1200 per USD at the time of the MTE, with its effect on project local costs and the counterpart funding burden on GOU;
- the 1989 collapse of coffee prices (the main export crop) and consequent reduction of government revenues;
- the war in Rwanda, and its impact on the southernmost districts of the project area.
Due to excessive delays at start-up and during implementation, the project was at least two years behind schedule. The reasons for this were processing and procurement delays, delays in establishing institutional operations and snail-paced disbursement, due in part to inadequate provision of local counterpart funding. The project's largest component, rural roads rehabilitation, was yet to begin, and the most optimistic date for start-up was spring 1993, a full four years behind schedule. However, project implementation appeared to be taking a turn for the better, partly as a result of the recent arrivals of a new Financial Controller and a new Project Coordinator (PC). The new PC had already started streamlining management and coordination activities, and financial controls had improved significantly, with the management information system developed by the M&E Unit being effectively utilised for management purposes. However, under the present circumstances SWRARP could not meet the closing date of June 1994.
GOU funding has proven to be a major delaying factor in implementation; at the time of the MTE the GOU had only provided 33% of the funds required by the loan agreement for the agricultural component. The procedure for releasing funds was complex and led to considerable delays. The situation has been worsened by government cash flow problems and the continuous devaluations and high inflation experienced during project implementation. The UCB, appointed as procurement agent, proved unable to fulfil this role without the benefit of a proper procurement unit. Procurement delays, such as the late arrival of vehicles, equipment and inputs, have severely delayed project implementation. According to UCB, the procedure for ICB procurement needed at least 10-12 months, but frequently took more time (up to 25 months in one case).
Feeder Roads and Buildings. There was no physical progress on the construction of feeder roads at the time of the MTE. Without the feeder road rehabilitation component, the full potential of the input distribution, and research and extension components cannot be realised. Long delays occurred in the appointment of consultant engineers, completion of the Roads Inventory Document and preparation of tender documents. The start of the actual road rehabilitation was four years behind schedule at the time of the MTE, and as a result actual cost estimates have risen so much that the target has been reduced from 2000 km to just 763 km. With the slowness of progress in the procedures to subcontract rehabilitation works, a plan was prepared for some road rehabilitation to be undertaken directly by the project. The project was also to provide funds for the renovation and construction of offices, staff housing, research station buildings and a warehouse for inputs. However, due to GOU liquidity constraints, the building programme has been divided into two phases; the first phase was near completion now, and phase two was expected to start in 1993.
Input Supply and Distribution: The objective of this component was to provide agro-inputs to small farmers in the Region in a timely and accessible manner. By the MTE, two procurements had been completed and over 90% of the inputs procured had been sold out of rented warehousing facilities. The combined third and fourth procurements were expected in early 1993. In order to promote input supply privatisation, market-based pricing of inputs and input retailer registration were included in project design. While the registration of input retailers by itself does not represent a major contribution to privatisation, mobilising and training retailers is an important contribution to sustainability of the service. The project's most important contribution, however, will come from its effect on the expansion of input and product markets.
Adaptive Research and Extension. The activities of the adaptive research unit have been satisfactorily implemented for five seasons; the programme has been able to recommend adoption by farmers of several improved varieties of Irish potato, wheat and maize, a chemical treatment for banana weevil, the use of multi-purpose trees in agro-forestry activities and low-cost seed storage facilities. The recommendations include the alternatives of low and high-input technologies. Outreach (on-farm) trials have also been carried out to test research station recommendations. The extension sub-component has been less active and further behind schedule due to poor mobility, lack of training and shortage of operational funds. However, a training programme addressing the needs of both extension staff and farmers was in place and a supervision mechanism had been developed, although to date, extension activities have been limited. An action plan to integrate SWRARP's extension activities with the National Extension Project supported by the World Bank was being prepared.
Monitoring and Evaluation. By MTE the monitoring and evaluation system was well established. Staff has been adequately trained, the MEU has received 19 months of apparently high quality technical assistance and transport and computer facilities are satisfactory. A number of useful surveys and activities have been implemented by MEU including a baseline and a mid-term household survey (which, however, are not structured in a way that permits direct evaluation of project impact), a well-prepared mid-term evaluation report, and quarterly input and marketing surveys. Because the day-to-day monitoring system was not having the anticipated effects, an "M&E awareness seminar" was organised, which improved understanding of the purpose of the monitoring system. There appeared to be a strong collaboration between the MEU and project management, with regular meetings held to discuss MEU findings and PMU needs: both sides appear satisfied with this interaction.
Community Development. This component has two parts, a grant fund of USD 95,000 to assist 40 groups selected by the project, and a loan fund of USD 500,000 for the establishment of a revolving credit fund to finance individual income-generating activities. This component suffered from a very delayed start, which, in addition to general project implementation delays, was largely due to its hasty inclusion in the project design after appraisal. Extensive group training activities have been carried out energetically and effectively, mostly through day courses. A Pilot Credit Scheme has been added during project implementation.
The Women Organisation Unit (WOU). Although not provided for at appraisal, the PMU established the WOU to facilitate the execution of women's activities in the project. The unit is very active, having organised over 140 day courses in various subjects, mobilised women and women's groups to take part in the on-farm adaptive trials of the ARU, assisted women's groups to participate in project input distribution, and developed a network of contacts for funding of women's small-scale income generating projects. In addition, the WOU monitors all other project units to promote the involvement of women in all SWRARP activities.
Effects assessment and sustainability
In view of the delay in project implementation, it was too early at the time of the MTE, to judge the extent to which the project was achieving its objectives. However, where feeder roads had been reopened and rehabilitated (by other projects), farm-gate prices had increased significantly, inputs had become more available on the local market, in part due to project importation, and a significant network of retailers was being consolidated. This argues for the continuation of the feeder road component, even though it is now totally unsynchronised with the other project activities. The adaptive research component has assisted in the introduction of improved varieties of various food crops and the control of some diseases, although, despite considerable investments in the extension service, more efforts are needed to disseminate varieties, improve farming practices and induce farmers to use modern inputs including fertilisers. A lack of credit has constrained farmers' ability to acquire inputs or adopt improved practices. The community development component has significantly assisted in the mobilisation of community groups and provided support to limited numbers of groups.
Targeting The assumption in the appraisal that all households in the Region should form the target group, because of the low income levels, was not confirmed by the baseline survey, which identified families with very small land holdings or no land at all. No suitable targeting mechanisms were included in the project design specifically to reach such groups. The criteria for road selection for rehabilitation did include social targeting, so these roads should be in the poorer areas of the Region. Lack of GOU funds has resulted in extension workers only being able to work in the location adjacent to their houses, which could lead to penalising of more remote areas.
Comparative Indicators Comparison of relevant indicators (these covered such items as meat consumption, radios, bicycles etc.) included in the baseline and mid-term surveys suggested a rise in household incomes. Such improvements cannot solely be attributed to the effects of the project, because the overriding factor has been an improvement in the security situation in the Region, but nonetheless a positive trend is indicated.
Effects on Women The project's main effect on women has been through the group formation schemes implemented by the Community Development Support Unit and the Women's Organisation Unit. In the project area women do not have ownership or inheritance rights to any type of property. The baseline survey found that FHHs (14% of the households in the project area), had less land and were generally poorer than other households; this section of the community is especially vulnerable. The self-help groups formed by women tended to be aimed at productive activities, including communal cultivation of members' fields; the project has assisted by providing training in a wide variety of subjects, from agriculture to child care. There is evidence that women's social position has also improved as these economic activities have become accepted, and that the groups are providing a platform to give women a stronger voice in community affairs.
Environmental Effects. The Extension Unit of the project has established soil conservation demonstration plots on farmers lands, but in general these have been poorly managed and used because of inadequate technical knowledge, and shortage of transport. However there is general awareness and concern about soil conservation matters. There is also a shortage of firewood in some areas of the project, with the result that animal manure, which was used as a soil conditioner, is being used for cooking. In some areas intensive farming methods, involving multiple cropping, are leading to depletion of the soil fertility.
Agricultural Production The field distribution of inputs commenced in 1990; at the time of the MTE nearly 50% of the total quantity of project inputs had been dispersed. Despite this, there were no indications of major improvements in production, as yet. This is probably because the extension messages which might influence seed choices and use of fertilisers are so far very limited: the factor which emerged from the latest survey as being the greatest influence was farm gate prices, which directly points to the need for improved marketing. The extension service has yet to deliver to farmers the technological packages developed by the adaptive research; the majority of farmers in the project area still believe that the only way to increase production is to expand the area planted. This indicates lack of awareness of the potential of the newer varieties and practices which have been developed. No revised yield data is as yet available for the project area, hence the potential impact of this component (or changes in incomes) could not be surmised. However, the evaluation noted that newer methods of row planting and conservation were being used in some instances, along with manual methods of weevil control in bananas, indicating that some extension messages had been received.
Roads Rehabilitation. Because this component has not started, there were no reported effects.
Community Development. Group mobilisation and training under the project have had a significant effect in the project areas. Membership of groups has increased to nearly 50% of women and 24% of men (results from the mid-term survey). In addition, the project has given increased support and training to existing groups. The fact that grant were available for community groups, once formed, may have been a stimulus to this development.
The issue of sustainability cannot be over-emphasised. Several of the project's activities will have no lasting impact on the Region unless effective ways are found to: pass project management responsibilities to the appropriate government offices; sustain incentive payments to ensure continuity of government services; maintain the quality of financial management and control after the termination of the technical assistance; continue the supply of inputs to project beneficiaries; and, finance and ensure the maintenance of rehabilitated roads.
Main issues and recommendations
The major recommendations put forward by the MTE were as follows:
- At this late stage the procurement system should be retained, bu there should be much greater collaboration between the project's input supply unit and the UCB to try and expedite procurement processes.
- The ARU should continue to concentrate priority crops and farming systems only. On-farm trials should be extended to areas where extension support is adequate.
- The extension service, with its limited resources, should give greater priiority to working in selected areas and should emphasise low-input technology packages, e.g no fertilisers, animal manure composts, row planting techniques etc.
- During the final year of the project the balance of five months of M&E related TA should be used to assist MEU with the design, implementation and analysis of a completion household survey and to provide guidance on the finalisation of the sustainability study.
- Participatory evaluation techniques, in which beneficiaries (and non-beneficiaries) are asked to give their own evaluation of project activities, need to be introduced into impact evaluation exercises such as the household surveys and planned beneficiary contact surveys.
- Strong emphasis should continue to be placed on group training activities as the most effective use of limited resources and limited training and extension staff in reaching the largest number of farming men and women. Ways should be explored for using existing networks and institutional resources to increase reach and coverage of group training.
- Within the 40 selected groups, further training should be given in basic planning and management to back up the grant funding and the future credit scheme. The groups and group members should be encouraged to express their needs and constraints more freely and democratically, having a voice in project decision-making where it concerns them rather than being mainly receivers of project advice and financial assistance. For these groups and for all group training, there is a strong need to promote the concept of self-help, and to attempt to reduce the mentality of dependency on projects and free goods.
- The SWRARP Pilot Credit Scheme should coordinate with and use the experience of current credit activities of other IFAD and IDA projects in Uganda, especially the ADP pilot credit scheme and the credit component of the Hoima project.
- The World Bank rule stipulating the purchase of generic products has partly resulted in a quantity of unsold chemicals as farmers are reluctant to purchase chemicals of unknown brands. SWRARP must step up its publicity campaign to familiarise farmers with the new chemicals. The availability of credit and demonstration activities by the extension service would help to promote the use of these chemicals.
- To enhance input supply privatisation, the government should contribute positively in three ways: (i) financial intermediation at all market levels, but particularly for the importers in terms of foreign currency and credit, and for farmers in terms of rural credit; (ii) phasing out of public sector importation of agricultural inputs. (In cases where grants of inputs are donated in kind to the country, their distribution should be market-price based to avoid subsidisation. It would be appropriate to auction these commodities to private dealers); (iii) drawing up and enforcing strict regulations on the agro-input trade to ensure quality to farmers, reduce hazards and protect the environment.
- Future variety trials should place additional stress on disease resistance, (especially with respect to Irish potato), as well as shorter maturity periods, low-input technology, and the study of the impact on banana yield and quality and on soil degradation of intercropping nutrient-depleting crops, such as maize, cassava and potatoes, under banana plantations.
When the Co-operating Institution is also a co-financier, then different institutional mandates and methodological orientations can result in insufficient concern by supervision missions for the issues which are at the heart of IFAD's work in rural development. In the case of SWRARP, the World Bank's own role in the project (mainly concerned with the financing of physical infrastructure) and in Ugandan national development efforts in general (mainly concerned with macro-economic policy issues) affected the priorities given in supervision activities.
The SWRARP case shows that without detailed road design studies, the appraisal of this component is ineffective. The implementation schedule of the feeder road component was drawn up without a proper road inventory or feasibility studies, and the result has been overly optimistic planning and inappropriate phasing of other project components..
The component for women's activities was introduced by the project management, following successful group formation exercises. It is clear that women should have been a specific target group in the original design, and this points to the dangers of targeting being too general, as in this case, and missing not only an important group, but not identifying the greater development potential afforded by this group.
This project was severely affected by lack of or untimely release of local funds. It should have been clear from quite early on, by holding a dialogue with GOU, that this situation was going to affect the implementation of the project. There seems to be no point in merely stating that the government is not meeting the requirements of the loan agreement, a much more positive approach is required which might involve rescheduling project activities or agreeing to meet a larger proportion of the local funding costs.
Implementation schedules need to be based upon realistic estimates with regard to the time required for governments to complete procurements, if project phasing is not to be adversely affected. It appears that appraisals do not give this sufficient priority, or bother to check the actual procurement record with other projects or donors.
The community development component showed that the criteria for group selection for project assistance need to be developed with a clear understanding of who will be excluded. In an attempt to guarantee results, project designers tend to incorporate prohibitive conditions for group eligibility. Care must be taken to avoid excluding poorer groups which have the potential to become valid and viable organisations with the help of outside facilitators and trainers.
The most important stimulus to encourage the adoption by farmers of new crops or farming methods is the farmgate price. There is no point in developing the most complete extension messages and training extension agents unless the stimulus of prices is also correct.