Integrated Rural Development Project (1991)

Dominica  
April 1991

Mid-term evaluation

This report distils and synthesizes the principal findings and recommendations of partial evaluations by IFAD consultants of the Integrated Rural Development Project (IRDP), co-funded by IFAD and Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica (GOCD). It also incorporates a mid-term partial evaluation and baseline survey conducted by OAS in 1990.

Project background and objectives

The IRDP was formulated in concert with the GOCD's overall objectives of agricultural diversification, income growth, reduced unemployment, increased exports, and overall economic growth. The project aims to achieve its objectives by supporting the settlement of former estate workers with the provision of credit, inputs, technical services, and infrastructural improvements.

IFAD funded the IRDP as a follow up to its previous support to the agricultural sector through the Agricultural Credit for Food Production and Related Services Project (hereafter IFAD-1).

The IFAD loan to the Commonwealth of Dominica for the IRDP has a 20 year term, a grace period of 5 years with an interest rate of 4% per annum. The total planned project cost is US$ 2,996 million; of which IFAD is financing US$ 1,502 million, or 50%, with the remaining 50% financed by the GOCD.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is the cooperating institution, and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) is the main executing agency. The Dominica Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank (DAIDB) is responsible for administering the credit fund for small farmer lending. The project commenced officially in November 1986, and has a completion date of December 1991, although it is likely to be extended.

Target group

The project is targeted to approximately 640 settlers/farm households on the former Geneva and Castle Bruce estates; most of them were landless or near landless, and were plantation labourers. Their per capita income was estimated at US$ 180 per year, as compared to the gross national per capita income of US$ 970 (1983), and below the absolute rural poverty per capita income level of US$ 185. 90% of the target group cultivated less than 2 acres of land. Credit was targeted to roughly 600 project participants outside the estates, mostly artisanal fishermen, small agro-processors, small farmers with less than 10 acres of cultivable land, and rural people with gross family incomes of less than US$ 2,000 per year. 28% of the proposed settlers were women and heads of households, in a country where women make up 35% of the labour force. Other participants included fish vendors, hucksters, landless livestock rearers and cottage industry workers.

IRDP components and implementation

Development of the estate settlement areas, through developing agricultural stations, with input supplies, training centres, farm settlement access roads, marketing facilities, and slaughter houses Physical improvements have essentially been completed on both estates. Farm lots were assigned and approved by 1986 in Geneva, and by 1988 in Castle Bruce. Approximately 371 farmers with lots ranging in size from 0.4 to 9.7 acres are settled in Geneva, and 235 farmers with lots from 0.1 to 14.6 acres are settled in Castle Bruce. Land was allocated on the basis of existing holdings, and on the recommendations of a committee made up of small farmers and government officials. 26% of the lots in Geneva and 20% in Castle Bruce were allocated to women.

The agricultural research stations have been upgraded on both settlements, and the plant propagation unit has been upgraded to introduce new crops such as hot peppers, passion fruit, papayas, mangos and avocados. Farm settlement roads have been completed on Geneva, providing all farms with ready access to roads. The access roads in Castle Bruce are almost completed, leaving all farms except for 23 across the river within 100 meter access to the roads. Implementation has been delayed by the conflicting demands for equipment and labour from the institution responsible for road construction and maintenance. Road maintenance, envisioned to be conducted by project beneficiaries, is deficient. Marketing facilities are operating in Geneva, and are under construction in Castle Bruce, with expected completion by the end of 1991. The proposed slaughterhouses have been given low priority as farmers have much greater interest in crop production.

Credit provision

The credit component consists of approximately US$ 1.2 million, representing 73% of IFAD's contribution to the Project, and 37% of total project costs. Credit was expected to reach approximately 1,100

borrowers; 500 settlers, and 600 non-settlers. 43% of these funds were targeted to estate settlers. Additionally, US$ 218,518 (20% of credit funds) are to be lent from DAIDB to the Dominica Cooperative Credit Union League (DCGUL) for on-lending through its 23 credit union affiliates. This agreement has only recently been effectuated ~May ~, 1991), after four years of negotiations over the interest rate to be charged the final borrower by the credit union. The Appraisal report included the participation of credit unions in credit delivery under IRDP, as in IFAD-1. However, the credit unions were requested to lend to the final borrower at 12% annual interest rates, which they felt would put them in unfair competition with DAIDB who lends IRDP funds at an annual interest rate of 8.5%. Under the current agreement, the credit unions will be lending at 9.5 - 10% annual interest rates. The credit unions' refusal to participate in IFAD-1 was due to the lack of an insufficient spread to cover costs.

DAIDB currently administers 8 lines of credit for agriculture, each with its own specific target groups, lending criteria, and interest rates. IFAD funds accounted for 49% of the bank's agricultural credit portfolio in 1983, and for 25% in 1990. IFAD accounted for 68% of the number and 28% of the value of agricultural loans from July 1989 to June 1990. The average loan size was US$ 1,185. The main loan activity was for bananas (80% of the number and value), root crops (6% of the number and 5.5% of the value), and livestock (3.5% of the number and value).

Lending rates charged by commercial banks and DAIDB have been positive in real terms over the IRDP life to date.

DAIDB measures up adequately to standard financial indicators. Asset and capital formation have both been increasing. DAIDB has generated surplus income in all years from 1984 to 1990, except for 1985 and 1987, although a large proportion is from non-lending activities.

The credit component encouraged DAIDB to lend to small farmers. However, although DAIDB has been implementing agricultural credit programs for 10 years, it has not acquired the characteristics necessary for lending to small farmers; rural presence either through branches, vans, or extension staff; character and feasibility based lending; group lending; etc.

IRDP loan ceilings are viewed as a constraint by DAIDB which claims that borrowers usually seek larger loans. At times, therefore, a borrower may receive 2 loans from 2 different credit schemes to make up the amount sought.

Farmers with larger land holdings received a greater proportion of loans. Whereas 62% of the farmers have under 2 acres of land, the remaining 38% of farmers with 4 or more acres of land received 60% of the total number of loans. This concentration of credit is due to the fact that those with larger holdings can meet DAIDB's collateral requirements more so than small farmers, and are in an overall better position to qualify for credit from the bank.

Women headed households which account for 28% of the farms in the settlement areas received ll% of total loans disbursed. Women's access to credit is constrained by a lack of awareness of the IRDP credit program, and lack of assistance in accessing it.

It is generally felt that the lack of credit union participation from project inception has excluded women and smaller farmers from being benefited, particularly since 60% of the credit unions' membership base is made up of women. In addition, the credit unions have several comparative advantages in terms of reaching the target group; flexibility, more convenient operating hours, island-wide penetration, a membership base from over 50% of the population, less stringent collateral requirements, diversified range of services, and a community orientation. However, they are also over-leveraged, and lack significant experience in agricultural or targeted lending. Given the credit union's recent agreement to participate in the project, which had been pending on the resolution of lowering the interest rate charged to borrowers, it is expected that larger numbers of the target group will be reached.

Arrears as a percent of principal outstanding has increased from 11% in 1985 and 1986 to 35% in 1989 and 45% in 1990. Again, in the period 1985-1990, in 4 of the 6 years over 70% of the delinquent loans were in arrears of over 12 months, indicating the lesser probability of recovering them.

The increase in arrears can be directly attributed to changes in staffing patterns and arrangements from IFAD-1 to present. Under IFAD-1, PIU staff were housed in DAIDB, and directly appraised, approved and disbursed loans, as well as provided continuous and close supervision, resulting in rapid approvals and disbursements, and high repayments. The PIU has since been moved to the MOA. Although DAIDB has replaced IRDP staff, these replacements were not individuals with the same sensitivity and knowledge of small farmer credit needs. The departure of the credit RDO in 1988 has left a void unfilled by either IRDP or DAIDB.

The increased borrower transaction costs, the lack of supervision, and communication, and the separation of responsibilities for loan disbursement and loan collection in 2 divisions in DAIDB exacerbates the arrears problem.

DAIDB assumes a higher transactions cost than its other lines in processing the small loans stipulated by IRDP. It is not compensated by a higher interest rate it can charge on these loans, which may be an automatic disincentive for promoting the IRDP credit line.

DAIDB's low profitability of lending operations can be attributed to several explanations: high operating costs and inadequate spreads to cover them, high arrears, low lending volumes, and under-utilization of staff resources.

The subsidy per borrower, given average loan sizes of US$ 1,185, is approximately US$ 148, which is equal to 9% of per capita income in 1989. This transfer of resources has affected 575, or 8% of the farmers in Dominica.

Improvement of fish landing sites

At project appraisal, this component involved the improvement of 18 fish landing sites, including eight sites where work would complement improvements already introduced under IFAD-1.

This component has since been absorbed by a US$ 2.9 million WFP and GOCD funded fisheries development project, administered by the Fisheries Division of MOA, with no formal links with IRDP.

Assistance to promote an agro-processing sector

This component has been relatively inactive, in large part due to personnel shortages within the agro-processing laboratory. It is managed separately from the IRDP. This component has not led to the development of new products for local processing or for export.

Project organization and management

IRDP management has benefitted from the continuity of competent staff from IFAD-1. At project initiation, the project manager, two rural development officers (RDOs) for Geneva, and the project secretary were appointed. This group made up the same group that managed IFAD-1.

However, IRDP has been under-staffed over its course. At inception, staffing plans included a project manager, and 4 RDOs: 2 marketing specialists and 2 credit/extension specialists, 1 of each per estate, and a project secretary. For instance, the Geneva credit/extension RDO has not been replaced since his departure in 1988. A marketing assistant, not an IRDP core staff member, has been assisting in the development and marketing of ginger at Geneva. The full time marketing officer is on a training program in the U.K. One RDO with livestock expertise was assigned to Castle Bruce in late 1989. It is planned that the marketing RDO for Castle Bruce will be hired once the marketing facilities are completed. It should be noted that the project manager is also responsible for the Melville Hall Estate Project, funded by the CDB which is modelled on the IRDP.

Monitoring and evaluation

This component is financed by the Organization of American States (OAS), and is the responsibility of the Economic Development Unit (EDU) within the Ministry of Planning. To date, a baseline survey and a mid-term survey of the Geneva settlement area has been conducted. The M&E officer from EDU has been sent on several training programs.

The M&E component has not served its role as an important management tool. While the M&E system has complied with project plans, the design of this function in the project itself was inadequate. The M&E function has not fully assisted project management. It has acted instead as a recipient of consolidated reports prepared by the project manager, instead of the collector and provider of this information to the project manager.

Key issues and recommendations

Targeting issues: appropriate criteria and credit policies: Through applying a low loan ceiling, IFAD appears to have 'democratized' the credit operations of DAIDB, where loans were made with IFAD funds to small borrowers who would have been excluded by the criteria of the other lines. However, although loan ceiling have directed credit to smaller farmers, low loan ceilings in of themselves do not limit loans to the smallest borrower. Borrowers often receive 2 or more loans from different credit schemes to make up the amount requested. Limiting all loans to those with under 7 acres of land would be a more effective targeting tool than loan ceilings, provided that actual land holdings could be estimated, and differences in land quality be taken into consideration.

DAIDB should consider establishing positive market interest rates. It is more expensive to process small loans than large loans, and being required to charge a lower interest rate for costlier lending operations acts as a disincentive for the bank to promote the IRDP credit line, given its relatively low ceilings on loan size. DAIDB interest rates under IRDP could be revised upwards to 10%, comparable to the rates on the other DAIDB lines, and to the credit unions' rate to be charged under IRDP, to make the IRDP line more attractive for DAIDB to promote. IFAD funds are competing with higher interest earning credit lines within DAIDB. The issue of credit for the rural poor is often a question of timely access to rather than the cost of credit.

Appropriate implementing institution: Given that DAIDB has failed to adopt the characteristics necessary for small farmer lending, the question arises as to whether DAIDB is the appropriate primary lending channel to reach IFAD's target population. Perhaps the total remaining undisbursed loan funds could be channelled through the credit unions, BASED on their performance in managing and monitoring the first tranche of funds under the project. In addition, alternative sub-contracting arrangements discussed under New Directions could be explored.

Lack of savings mobilization: DAIDB currently does not mobilize savings, in large part since it believes not to be ready to manage this function well. DAIDB must learn to operate on the basis of mobilized

savings and earned income, to progressively reduce dependency on external donor capital infusions.

Increase gender equity: IRDP has not been very successful in targeting women directly, although un-single women benefit indirectly through improved household income. Although 26% (96) of the lots were allocated to women on the Geneva settlement, and 2% (8) were jointly held, only 4 women have received credit. Although there is no overt discrimination on the part of project implementors, there has been no overt steps taken to increase women's direct participation. There is a need to include a 'compensatory bias' so that women are encouraged to access project resources.

Improve borrowers' credit access: An important factor determining farmer access to credit is the current lack of credit supervision to farmers. No or minimal extension services are provided to farmers by

DAIDB, which, according to persons interviewed, has lost its orientation and mandate to service the small farmer. There are no credit experts on the current IRDP team to provide this supervision. The IRDP project needs to address this critical 'missing link' to ensure project impact. This can be addressed by hiring staff with credit expertise, and/or training current staff in credit management and loan feasibility analysis. Ideally, DAIDB should be the institution providing this expertise, given its mandate.

Project contribution to agricultural diversification: IRDP is contributing to agricultural diversification, particularly through introducing ginger, as well as through assistance in passion fruit and hot pepper production. Although agricultural diversification from bananas was stated as an objective at the time of appraisal, it was not specific about what crops to diversify to. IRDP has been successful in identifying and promoting crops suitable to Dominica with export potential.

The diversification process has been slower than expected due to the rise in banana prices over this period, and farmers' obvious response to market forces. Consequently, almost 80% of all loans approved from IRDP sources in 1988-1990 were for bananas. The introduction of new agricultural crops is constrained by the efficient infrastructure provided farmers for bananas by the Dominica Banana Marketing Corporation (DBMC).

Project management: Staff continuity of the project manager, and of the credit RDO initially, and the competence of the project manager have enhanced project management. However, the project has been understaffed over its course. Staff levels were not maintained as originally planned, and key staff departures were not replaced by persons of similar technical capabilities.

Participatory approach: IRDP has benefitted from incorporating a participatory approach in the preliminary stages. The project manager was brought on board during the design stage, and was key in contributing to the project formulation, drawing on hi~ experience of having managed IFAD-1.

The participatory means through which land distribution and settlement was decided upon gave project beneficiaries a sense of ownership of the project.

Institutional development and sustainability: The IRDP has made some important strides towards institutional development and sustainability. IFAD funds have contributed to sustaining DAIDB. The bank measures up adequately to standard financial indicators. Asset and capital formation have both been increasing. DAIDB has generated surplus income in all years from 1984 to 1990, except for 1985, and 1987.

IRDP has assisted in the formation of Farmer Advisory Groups, resulting in the development of a strong group at Castle Bruce. At Geneva estate, ginger producers have organized a Ginger Producers' Group, which currently has 23 members, and is seeking cooperative status. It is expected that this group will take over all ginger marketing activities after project end. Increased production has also encouraged a private exporter of fruits and vegetables. Farmer ownership of the project is already occurring, through the progressive phase-out of earlier subsidies provided for inputs, transport, and marketing.

IRDP: replicability and demonstration effects: IRDP has served as the pilot test, and is currently the model upon which other rural development projects are being designed and implemented in Dominica.

Impacts: The IRDP is making a significant contribution to national agricultural output. The Geneva settlement area alone contributes a significant proportion of the national production for ginger (27%), dasheen (5%) and avocados. Ginger production increased from 15.5 tons in 1988/89 to 57.9 tons in 1989/1990.

Fifty one percent of farmers surveyed felt that their standard of living was higher since joining the project, and 39% felt that it remained the same. 45% of women respondents felt their living standards had improved, compared with 53% of men. 38% felt that they enjoy a better standard of living than non-project farmers. In fact, farmers doubled their stocks of consumer goods since the baseline survey conducted in 1987. Roughly 70% of the settlement population have doubled their income since appraisal, from approximately US$ 93-185 per month to US$ 220-370 per month. 98% of fishermen surveyed felt that their standard of living improved since project initiation.

The land settlement was a significant channel for a more equitable land distribution pattern. Prior to settlement only 30% of the population on the estates owned land, while the IRDP land divesture made all settlers on the estates land owners.

The project has stimulated both backward and forward linkages. Increased production has led to increased demand for inputs and tools, provided by other farmers and private traders. In terms of forward linkages, increased output has increased the activity of the hucksters in marketing produce. Given the increased number of farm household members working off the farm since the 1987 baseline survey, increased income, or access to land has permitted farm members to engage in other income generating activities, and in turn hire wage labour to work the farms. Given that labour shortages are repeatedly cited as a major constraint by farmers, it can be assumed that the project has had a positive effect in decreasing unemployment in and around the settlement areas.

Appropriateness of technical packages: The technical packages are considered appropriate by those farmers who received them; primarily men. One hundred ninety seven farmers, 29 of which were women, had adopted them as of mid-1990. Womens' adoption of these packages is constrained by labour shortages, high labour costs, and the length of time (two months) for land preparation for the packages. Proper land preparation and larger plots of land are the critical elements in adopting these packages for new crops. In addition, women's smaller plots make them more risk-averse to allocating scarse resources for uncertain returns. These gender-specific constraints call for devoting specific efforts to women, including the design of a technical package tailored to their resource availabilities.

IRDP has made use of existing technologies in training and extension. It has applied training videos developed by FAO's 'Videos for Rural Development' project in its extension services, and often worked directly with the FAO project staff in identifying needs and providing technical expertise for the production of videos for extension. This has reportedly been highly successful, leading to noticeable changes in farming systems based on the videos, particularly in the case of ginger.

Physical contributions: The project has successfully met planned physical outputs, making adaptations of the original plan as necessary and practical during project implementation. Progress has been slower than planned, due to limited availability of equipment from the Ministry of Communications and Public Works (MCPW). Although most of the planned physical infrastructure is either completed or underway, facilities and roads maintenance is a problem. Although envisioned that project beneficiaries would be responsible for maintenance, in reality this has not yet occurred.

Marketing of agricultural produce: IRDP has been responsive to the marketing constraints faced by farmers. The project has encouraged the development of a private exporter of fruits and vegetables, as well as the development of the Ginger Producers' group, which is expected to take over ginger marketing activities. IRDP has also been successful in developing an agreement with CATCO to export ginger to the U.K., thus identifying a marketing channel for sustained production.

The marketing problems have implications for the crop diversification program. Unless there is a marketing channel like the DBMC or that created for ginger through CATCO, or greater links are developed between the local market and other regional islands for market expansion, the goals of agricultural diversification can not be reached.

New directions

Increase support in agricultural marketing: The marketing of increased agricultural output from IRDP interventions has not been dealt with sufficiently. Discussions with the Dominica Export Import Agency

(DEXIA) highlighted the difficulty in responding to demand for produce, given the basic lack of infrastructure and links set-up from the producer to the distribution systems in other regional islands for Dominican produce. There is a dearth of cold storage equipped transport and storage facilities. A project revision or follow-on should incorporate a component which would assist DEXIA in setting up the links to actually deliver the products it promotes. Possibilities for assisting the National Huckster's Association should be explored, given their role in exporting approximately 70% of the non-banana produce to other islands. These would include adequate grading and packaging centres, as well as cold storage and storage facilities. The possibility of DBMC extending its current services for the banana sector to other crops is being explored by DBMC and the MOA. This appears to be a viable option. The DBMC is well-perceived by farmers, and has an established and efficient infrastructure island-wide.

Include microentrepreneurs in target group: Given evidence of increased off-farm employment, IRDP should seek to reach other participants of the informal or micro and small enterprise (MSE) sector. This group was identified as part of the target group at the time of appraisal. While agricultural diversification has been given priority in the overall development strategy, assisting the MSE sector, to promote off-farm employment and income growth will lead to a more diversified economic base. Given increased information on the structure of rural poverty, an extended approach that caters to the multiple income sources of the poor should be better incorporated and addressed in IRDP.

The expanded target group can be reached through: i) Expanding the credit eligibility criteria currently used by DAIDB to include loans for small enterprise activities; ii) Providing support through local institutions such as the National Development Foundation of Dominica (NDFD), the credit unions, and others already assisting MSEs; iii) Providing training in food-processing to expand the agro-processing sector; iv). Not targeting loan use. Loan use should be left to the discretion of borrowers, with project emphasis on loan repayment rates, to serve as a proxy of productive loan use; v). Publicizing the availability of credit for an expanded range of activities.

Sub-contract service arrangements for project implementation: Given the NDFD's success in lending to MSEs, as well as their proven methodology of linked credit and technical assistance, a possible approach would be to 'sub-contract' the NDFD to manage DAIDB's IRDP portfolio, and thus provide the assistance in promoting services, qualifying applicants, and loan supervision and follow-up. The NDFD itself is too small to manage the entire loan portfolio, but they could provide the expertise necessary for successful implementation of the IRDP credit component. They would in effect serve as the bridge between the target group and DAIDB; a capability currently not available within IRDP ~r DAIDB.

According to the NDFD credit officer (the former IRDP credit RDO), farmers from the Geneva estate are contacting him to receive loans from the NDFD, since they feel they have no access to DAIDB anymore, given the current void in the services initially provided under the project. The explanation offered by DAIDB for low IRDP credit disbursements is that credit demand reached an early saturation point, particularly in the Geneva settlement, and had been over-estimated. This contradiction could be due to DAIDB's concentration on the not-so-poor farmers.

Gender concerns: Increasing Women's Participation: Although no overt discrimination was cited as a factor limiting women's participation, no overt steps were taken to increase it. What is being proposed is preferential treatment of women's constraints. Certain mechanisms for better integrating women in IRDP are: i). Support off-farm and microenterprise activities that up to 40% of women reported to be engaged in; ii). Provide training for project personnel to sensitize them to the productive roles of women, as soon as project execution begins. A lack of gender awareness, knowledge or understanding of women-specific constraints on the part of the PIU limited women's participation; iii). Train extensionists to work with women producers, or incorporate female staff in extension teams. Women 'barefoot extension' workers should be trained among rural women themselves, as a step in a long-term strategy to develop local capacity; iv). Use gender-disaggregated data, in order to track the differential performance of women; v). Promote the project to women through women's organizations, and extension workers, maternal clinics, etc. Lack of information about the existence of the DAIDB credit source was one of the major reasons why so few women approached the bank for loans. Bank intimidation and reticence by women should be overcome by several 'outreach' activities; such as organizing special meetings in the settlement areas at hours convenient to women, such as late afternoon; vi). Minimize collateral based lending, and rely instead on character, prior repayment records, income earning potential, use of an internal guarantee fund, and incentives of future access to credit; vii). Target training programs appropriately to user needs. Schedule sessions at - times and places convenient to women.

Project management: The project should acquire credit expertise through hiring at least one credit expert. The Project Technical Advisory Committee should include representation from the agro-processing laboratory and from DEXIA as originally conceived, given their importance to overall project integration.

Credit targeting and administration: Reflow funds should be added to the IRDP revolving loan fund and lent at prevailing IRDP interest rates.

An appropriate management information system need~ to be established in DAIDB, to help improve the types and quality of information flows.

Loan approval, and collection should lie within the functions of the same department, to ensure accountability. An incentive system which rewards credit officers to make sound lends could be used. Such a system has been used with positive results by an NGO in the Dominican Republic, which makes loans to microentrepreneurs.

Arrears control mechanisms need to be installed. These may be through: hiring/training staff within DAIDB in small farmer lending; loan feasibility analysis-based lending; appropriate loan supervision; making group loans; making more frequent shorter-term loans; and tying current loan repayment to the possibility of more credit. It needs to be assessed whether the increased costs of these measures will exceed the cost of arrears.

DAIDB needs to have a larger rural presence in order to service its client base of the IRDP target group. This does not necessarily imply establishing branches, but could be done through the use of rural credit officers, mobile banks, part-time location at the banana boxing plants on the settlements during banana collections and payment disbursement time.

For most small farmers, reliable access to small and short-term loans is more valuable than having large and long-term loans. These should be tested in the case of Dominica, where current loan terms average two years.

The credit unions should be closely monitored in their administration of the credit funds, given their very recent participation in the project, and their relatively limited experience in agriculture or targeted lending.

DAIDB and the credit unions should be allowed greater discretion in establishing positive market rates of interest, after assuring certain efficiency levels.

If DAIDB does not assume the characteristics of a lending vehicle for small farmers, based on the recommendations of this report, it must be decided whether DAIDB should continue in the project as the primary lending institution. Perhaps the DCCUL could assume this role, based on the quality of its management of the initial tranche of funds.

Loan use should not be targeted. It should be left to the discretion of borrower~, with project emphasis on loan repayment rates, to serve as a proxy of productive loan use. The multiple income sources and fungibility of funds within a farm household often diffuses the impact of targeted loan use.

The use of credit for ginger, and the development of ginger as an export crop, an unplanned yet very positive outcome under IRDP, demonstrates the benefits of unrestricting the actual application of credit. On the other hand, the highest arrears were for loans for food crops for consumption, which were targeted in the Appraisal report. It is a merit of the project and IFAD that the project's flexible approach incorporated activities of great benefit to the target group, which were not initially contemplated. In addition, the credit unions are not experienced in targeted lending, and requiring them to assume the burden of tracking actual loan use would deviate them from more important lending and collecting operations.

Technical assistance to increase farmers', and in particular womens access to credit should be provided both to DAIDB and to the IRDP project management team. The appropriateness of the current criteria used for targeted lending, such as the loan ceilings, need to be tested and possibly revised if necessary.

Further assistance to the sector should promote savings mobilization, and should assist the financial implementing institutions with improving savings opportunities for the rural poor. Further injections of external donor credit prolong the delay in savings mobilization.

Measure project impact: A future project design should include the design and provision for the systematic collection of data that will permit an assessment of project impact. It is costly and near impossible to retroactively reconstruct the dynamic flow of funds and their use and impact on the farm household. Impact with respect to assets, income, education, savings, nutrition, and other variables should be collected and compared with the pre-project status, even though a project can only partially be credited with any positive or negative differential.

IFAD funds should be provided for M&E. IFAD has earned a 'pioneer' reputation in this function, and should draw on its comparative advantage in directly supervising and supporting this function. Again, donor agencies are often concerned with certain impact issues, related to the appropriate allocation of resources for development programs. There is a cost associated with this function, and IFAD should fund this component, given its interest in the results and outcome of its projects for further programming lessons.

Improve project information flows: CDB supervision reports have not been submitted to IRDP project management, and there were extensive delays in the project manager receiving the various evaluation reports and WID case study from IFAD. Delays in information sharing defeat the very purpose for which these reviews are often conducted: improving project performance.

Conclusion

It is expected that incorporating the recommendations outlined above will further improve the IRDP's performance in delivering services and generating benefits for the rural poor of Dominica.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Projet de Développement Rural de l'Atacora

Benin  
March 1991

La zone du projet, la préfecture d'Atacora, est caractérisée par une grande diversité agro-écologique. Elle est en fait constituée de 4 sous régions très différentes:

  • la zone cotonnière à l'Est avec une pluviométrie de 800-1.200 mm, une densité de population faible (13 hab/km2), des systèmes de production basés sur les céréales (sorgho et mais) et le coton;
  • la zone Nord Ouest menacé par la sahélisation avec des pluies aléatoires de 800 à 1000 mm, des sols souvent dégradés, une fertilité médiocre, une densité de population élevée (30 hab/km2), un système d'exploitation exclusivement vivrier après l'arrêt de la culture d'arachide en 1988. Le parc bocager est en cours de destruction et le striga très présent.
  • la zone centrale avec 800-1.300 mm, une densité de population élevée et un système d'exploitation vivrier. C'est une zone fragile.
  • la zone Sud, 1.100-1.400 mm, peu peuplée (6 hab/km2), des sols fertiles et des productions vivrières (igname, mais, manioc, sorgho).

Conception et objectifs du projet

Groupe cible

La population cible était constituée de 21.000 exploitations soit 35% des agriculteurs de la région. Aucun autre critère ne définissait plus précisément le groupe cible.

Objectifs et composantes

L'objectif général du projet était d'améliorer les conditions de vie de la population.

Les objectifs spécifiques du projet étaient: i) d'augmenter la productivité du travail pour les cultures vivrières; ii) d'améliorer la productivité de l'élevage bovin; iii) de faciliter l'accès à l'eau potable; et iv) de renforcer l'institution CARDER.

Les composantes du projet ont été les suivantes:

  • vulgarisation des techniques agricoles à travers un système T&V et mise en place d'essais multilocaux de démonstration (4 sites expérimentaux de 8 ha chacun, 80 champs d'essai en milieu paysan de 0,1 à 0,2 ha)
  • distribution d'intrants et de matériel de culture attelée: construction de magasins, distribution de 1.700 charrues et de 1.725 canadiens, financement de la SONAPRA pour des achats additionnels d'intrants à concurrence de 440 millions de FCFA et de la CRCAM/CLAM à travers la CNCA pour un montant de 20 millions de FCFA.
  • assurer le crédit de campagne et d'équipement;
  • produire les semences améliorées nécessaires à la ZP. La ferme semencière de Donga devait produire 64 t de semences en fin de projet.
  • construire une centaine de puits;
  • construire 20 barrages collinaires (pour des retenues de 20.000 m3) et en reconstruire 5.
  • aménager des bas-fonds (500 ha au total);
  • appuyer l'élevage bovin (campagnes de vaccination et équipement de postes vétérinaires);
  • renforcer les infrastructures du CARDER (bâtiments, véhicules);
  • créer une cellule de S&E pour fournir des indicateurs clés donnant l'impact du projet sur les agriculteurs, des statistiques agricoles, une enquête de base.

Une assistance technique importante était prévue (192 h x m).

Effets attendus et hypothèses

On attendait du projet une production additionnelle de 3.400 à 5.300t de mais, 2.300 à 4.200t d'arachide, 4.100 à 7.500t de sorgho, 3.600 à 6.000t de paddy et un accroissement des revenus des agriculteurs de 30 à 50% selon les zones.

La facilité de trouver pour les produits agricoles des débouchés à des prix rémunérateurs était une hypothèse faite par le projet.

Évaluation

Evolution du contexte en cours d'exécution

La mise en oeuvre du PDRA a coincidé avec le début d'une grave crise économique entrainant un fort déficit des dépenses publiques et de la balance des paiements. A partir de juillet 1989, on assiste au désengagement de l'Etat de nombreuses activités et à leur transfert au secteur privé. Les perspectives économiques de début de projet s'en trouvent bouleversées: disparition de filières de commercialisation et de transformation jusque-là structurées par l'Etat (arachide, riz); liquidation de la CNCA et re-création d'un réseau mutualiste dans le cadre d'un projet de réhabilitation; projet de restucturation des CARDER prévoyant de fortes compressions des effectifs du personnel et le démantèlement des activités ne relevant pas strictement des fonctions habituelles du secteur public.

Réalisations du projet

Le CARDER a exécuté le projet en suivant fidèlement le plan d'opérations initial, tout au moins jusqu'à fin 1987; après, le manque de financement l'a amené à arrêter certaines activités (hydraulique rurale) et à en réorienter d'autres (vulgarisation-formation et recherche).

La mise en oeuvre de la vulgarisation a été caractérisée par son ciblage sur des paysans regroupés sur des blocs de culture, un rôle polyvalent des AVA qui assuraient bien d'autres fonctions que la seule vulgarisation (recensement des superficie cultivées, expression des besoins d'intrants, suivi de la commercialisation, alphabétisation), des champs de démonstration avec des protocoles très complexes, conçus comme des essais multilocaux plutot que comme des tests simples et démonstratifs en milieu paysans.

Ont été distribués pour l'essentiel dans les zones de production cotonnière: 2.149 t/an d'engrais, 2.538 charrues, 2.199 butteurs. Les cultures vivrières n'ont pratiquement pas bénéficiées des fournitures d'intrants.

Le crédit de campagne est passé de 59 millions de FCFA en 1983-84 à 516 millions en 1989-90. Le taux de remboursement varie entre 70 et 85%. Le crédit moyen terme est passé de 2 millions en 1987-88 à 52 millions en l'année suivante puis à 47 millions de FCFA en 1989-90. Le taux de remboursement varie entre 30 et 48%.

La production de semences en station n'a pas été satisfaisante (mauvais taux de pureté, mauvaise qualité, prix de revient trop élevé). Elle a été abandonnée en 1986 et transférée à des groupements de production. Le taux d'utilisation des semences améliorées est resté très faible.

L'hydraulique villageoise a enregistrée un taux de réalisation très bas: construction de 25 nouveaux puits, réfection de 3 puits.

En ce qui concerne l'hydraulique pastorale, 5 nouveaux barrages ont été construits et trois anciens réhabilités.

Deux bas fonds ont été aménagés dont un seul de 10 ha est en exploitation.

La composante production animale n'a pas rencontré de difficultés particulières. Elle a bénéficié de la collaboration avec le PEA (Promotion de l'élevage dans l'Atacora).

Le suivi-évaluation, d'abord situé à l'extérieur du projet, n'y a été intégré que tardivement (1985). Doté d'un réseau d'enquêteurs, il n'a pas bénéficié d'assistance technique.

Appréciation des effets du projet et de leur pérennité

Les effets du PDRA au niveau du département sont difficiles à estimer dans la mesure où l'Atacora a bénéficié pendant la même période de nombreux autres projets de développement rural dont les résultats ne sont pas distingués de ceux du PDRA dans les statistiques agricoles du CARDER.

Bénéficiaires: ils se limitent aux producteurs de coton (la moitié des agriculteurs de la zone cotonnière, soit quelque 4 000 à 5 000 familles) et aux producteurs d'arachide groupés en bloc de culture jusqu'en 1988.

L'effet le plus notable sur la production agricole n'était pas prévu: la forte augmentation des surfaces et de la production (+8.000 tonnes) de coton, multipliées par 4 en cours de projet, et ce malgré le gel du prix du coton-graine et l'augmentation du prix des intrants (+50%). Cet effet du projet concerne une zone bien déterminée: trois secteurs de l'est de la ZP caractérisés par un taux de terres disponibles très élevé (pas plus de 10% des terres sont défrichées) et par une densité de population rurale très faible (8%). Une autre culture de rente, l'arachide, a connu une augmentation comparable jusqu'à l'effondrement de la filière huile en 1988. Il semble que ce soit pour cette culture que les gains de productivité aient été les plus importants. En ce qui concerne les cultures vivrières, il convient de distinguer le cas du maïs. Intégré à l'assolement coton, il a bénéficié à la fois des arrières-effets de la fertilisation (légère hausse du rendement moyen) et de la diffusion de la culture attelée (forte augmentation des surfaces). On peut estimer la production additionnelle de maïs due au projet à environ 8.000 tonnes (+54%) localisée pour l'essentiel en zone cotonnière (est). L'effet du projet sur la production des autres céréales est faible: de l'ordre de +3.000 tonnes pour le sorgho (+10%) et de +2.800 tonnes pour le mil. Le PDRA n'a pas eu d'effet sur les productions de tubercules et racines.

Mis à part le cas de l'arachide (et, dans une moindre mesure, du maïs), les rendements moyens n'ont pas augmenté significativement. Les augmentations de production ont résulté pour l'essentiel de l'augmentation des surfaces.

Effets sur les revenus: une augmentation des revenus monétaires s'est limité aux producteurs de coton et aux producteurs d'arachide groupés en bloc de culture jusqu'en 1988. Dans l'ouest et le nord-ouest de l'Atacora (où est concentrée la majorité de la population), la plupart des paysans interrogés par la mission considéraient que leurs revenus avaient baissé depuis 1988.

Effet sur l'organisation du monde paysan: le projet n'avait pas d'objectif spécifique dans ce domaine. Globalement, on ne constate aucune dynamique d'autopromotion paysanne (même s'il existe quelques exceptions généralement appuyées par des ONG).

L'effet sur les conditions de vie a été très faible car seul 10% du programme d'implantation de points d'eau a été réalisé.

Effets sur l'environnement et sur la base de ressource: Après 1987, le projet a largement réorienté ses thèmes de recherche vers les problèmes de protection et de restauration de la fertilité des sols. Mais, les moyens budgétaires étaient trop faibles à tous les niveaux pour que des résultats significatifs aient pu être obtenus.

Appréciation de la durabilité du projet: à rédiger

Principaux problèmes rencontrés

L'absence d'une composante commercialisation

L'hypothèse initiale sur la facilité de trouver des débouchés à des prix rémunérateurs pour les produits agricoles s'est révélée fausse. L'absence de débouchés commerciaux pour les cultures vivrières n'a pas incité les producteurs à les développer; l'augmentation des surfaces a suivi l'augmentation de la population, l'utisation d'intrants et de la culture attelé est restée faible. En revanche, les paysans ont été très rapides à accroitre leur production, surtout par augmentation de surfaces quand ils avaient l'assurance de pouvoir la vendre. Les investissements en engrais et matériel pour l'arachide et le coton ont été importants tant que les circuits de commercialisation fonctionnaient: doublement des superficies d'arachide jusqu'à l'arrêt de la commercialisation par le CARDER en 1988, multiplication par 4 des superficies en coton jusqu'à la baisse du prix mondial en 1989.

Une vulgarisation peu efficace

Les techniques culturales vulgarisées: remplacement du billonage traditionnel par le labour à plat et semis en ligne ont été très peu adoptées par les agriculteurs. Dans la zone cotonnière, la culture attelée a eu un effet d'extensification et le billonage est resté la règle. L'utilisation de pratiques culturales et d'intrants susceptibles d'améliorer la productivité n'a été obtenue que pour les cultures qui, à un moment donné, offraient une garantie de commercialisation avec possibilité de bénéficier d'un prêt de campagne en nature. Chaque fois que cette possibilité a disparue, l'utilisation de facteurs modernes de production a régressé au niveau avant-projet. Le système de vulgarisation, de type "formation et visite", très lourd et avec une conception "descendante" de messages techniques normatifs n'a pas pris en compte les priorités et possibilités des agriculteurs et la diversité de leur situations. A l'exception de la zone cotonnière, le PDRA n'a pas réussi à déclencher une dynamique de développement agricole autonome, ni à stopper le processus de dégradation des ressources foncières et végétales.

Un système de suivi-évaluation peu performant

Le niveau très bas du recrutement des enquêteurs, un manque de supervision et de contrôle des résultats a conduit a un manque total de fiabilité des données collectées. Ceci a été aggravé par la lourdeur des questionnaires d'enquêtes et les tailles trop importante des échantillon. Les Directions opérationnelles du CARDER n'ont pas cherché à obtenir des informations qui leur soient utiles. Le partage entre suivi du projet et élaboration des statistiques agricoles a été difficile à faire.

Recommandations et leçons à tirer

Plus généralement, une deuxième phase du projet devra appuyer: i) les agriculteurs à s'organiser et à se former pour assumer progressivement ces nouvelles responsabilités; ii) le CARDER à renforcer sa capacité à remplir les fonctions de planification et de suivi du développement agricole; iii) la région Atacora à améliorer ses infrastructures; iv) l'ensemble des acteurs économiques ruraux (CRCAM/CLCAM, commerçants, artisans, transporteurs, groupements villageois, etc.) à renforcer leurs relations et à améliorer la qualité de leurs services.

Le PDRA II devrait s'organiser en sous-unités de projet (une par grande région), chacune étant responsable dans sa sous-région de la planification et du suivi des activités de développement. Cette formule permettrait de mieux coller aux réalités du terrain, mais aussi de donner la responsabilité du développement aux quelques cadres du CARDER qui, en première phase, ont fait la preuve de leur capacité de "développeur".

Une concertation avec les autres bailleurs de fonds préparant actuellement de nouveaux projets dans l'Atacora est indispensable pour le FIDA lors de la préparation de cette deuxième phase du PDRA. Le FIDA devrait logiquement affecter l'essentiel des moyens du PDRA II dans les secteurs ouest et surtout nord-ouest où est concentré son groupe cible prioritaire et où le processus de dégradation des ressources foncières est le plus alarmant.

Les conditions resteront difficiles en deuxième phase: concurrence des céréales importées à bas prix (riz, maïs, blé), baisse tendancielle du prix du coton-graine, de l'arachide. Le PDRA II aura parmi ses objectifs principaux de monter des mécanismes permettant d'améliorer les conditions de mise en marché pour les paysans. Un certain nombre de pistes devront être explorées:

  • l'organisation de la collecte primaire et le stockage, au niveau de groupements de producteurs pour reporter la vente à une période de cours plus élevée, devraient bénéficier d'une promotion active, à travers: i) le financement de fonds de roulement et de capacité de stockage; ii) la formation des comités de gestion des groupements. Cette promotion concernerait les deux céréales, qui enregistrent les plus gros différentiels de prix saisonniers: a) le maïs dans la zone cotonnière en vue d'une commercialisation en dehors de l'Atacora, b) le sorgho et le mil dans le nord-ouest en vue d'une revente sur place en période de soudure;
  • d'autres actions devraient être soutenues par le PDRA II, telles que l'information des paysans sur les marchés des principaux produits agricoles, la prospection commerciale de nouveaux débouchés, la transformation.

La vulgarisation-formation restera une responsabilité du CARDER restructuré, mais ses thèmes et ses modalités doivent être complètement repensés: thèmes visant l'augmentation de la productivité du travail dans la zone cotonnière, la protection des sols dans les régions du nord ouest, l'intégration de l'agriculture élevage et la diversification des production animales; approche moins directive et descendante; méthodes de diffusion plus diversifiées en fonction des cibles et des problèmes posés; formation des intervenants en fonction de leur role dans l'appui au monde paysan et avec des agriculteurs relais des vulgarisateurs.

Le développement de Centres de promotion rurale (CPR) devrait être une composante-clé du PDRAII.

L'appui aux groupements va devenir une tâche essentielle en deuxième phase du projet. Il est urgent de la préparer dès à présent par: i) l'inventaire des structures existantes (nature et volume des activités des groupements, qualifiant le niveau de maîtrise atteint dans la gestion); ii) l'élaboration d'une stratégie détaillée pour la relance de la promotion de groupements paysans qui sera testée de façon pilote avant le démarrage de PDRA II.

Le crédit agricole: La conception du PDRA II devra être propre à renforcer la restructuration des CRCAM/CLCAM. Un effort particulier devra être fait, sous l'impulsion du CARDER et du MDRAC, par tous les organismes ditribuant du crédit dans la ZP (ONG et projets divers), pour harmoniser les approches en matière de taux d'intérêt et de conditions d'attribution du crédit.

Le désengagement du CARDER des fonctions d'approvisionnement et de commercialisation nécessite la prise en charge par des acteurs privés de certains services ou activités productives situés en amont et en aval de la production agricole. Le PDRA II devrait apporter un appui en formation, crédit et organisation aux artisans-forgerons et mécaniciens, aux micro-entreprises de transformation des produits agricoles et aux femmes engagées dans la commercialisation des produits vivriers.

Les enquêtes suivi rapproché, suivi léger et l'enquête de suivi de la vulgarisation doivent être stoppées, et les effectifs de la DSEI allégés en conséquence; ii) les enquêtes prix sur les marchés devront être maintenues et exécutées par des enquêteurs rémunérés à la vacation; iii) une enquête de base doit être réalisée avant le démarrage de la deuxième phase du PDRA ou à son tout début, pour préciser la connaissance des principaux systèmes d'exploitation agricole dans chacune des quatre grandes zones écologiques de l'Atacora.

Au cours du PDRA II, i) le système de S&E devra être conçu en fonction des besoins d'information du projet et permettre son pilotage. Quant à la fonction collecte de statistiques agricoles, si elle doit être prise en charge par le projet, elle devra en être nettement disjointe; ii) les mécanismes et les outils de planification du projet feront partie intégrante du système de S&E; iii) pour toute enquête prévue dans le système de S&E, on les soumettra aux conditions suivantes: a) les limiter à la collecte d'informations essentielles; b) utiliser des questionnaires simples en vue d'une exploitation très rapide; c) assurer une formation préalable spécifique à l'enquête à lancer; d) tester les questionnaires sur le terrain avant de lancer l'enquête et enfin le projet fera appel à des enquêteurs vacataires; et e) il serait souhaitable que le FIDA finance, sur don, un contrat d'expertise garantissant la conception, la mise en place et le rodage d'un système de S&E répondant aux besoins propres du projet.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Projet de développement rural de la région de Siguiri

Guinea  
March 1991

Le projet concerne une partie (4 sous préfectures sur 12) de la préfecture de Siguiri en Haute Guinée. Cette région est la moins arrosée du pays (moins de 1.300 mm) mais bénéficie des crues du fleuve Niger.

Les 8 plaines (5.800 ha) et leurs terrasses (1.000 ha) retenues par le projet ont déjà bénéficié d'un premier aménagement en 1947/48 puis d'un aménagement complémentaire en 1952/54 pour le développement de la riziculture. Avant 1984 et le changement de régime politique, les meilleures terres étaient généralement exploitées par des grandes fermes étatiques et/ou collectives qui occupaient près de 4.000 ha de plaines ou terrasses alors que les familles paysannes (près de 6.000) exploitaient près de 20.000 ha, essentiellement sur les plateaux, en cultures pluviales (mais, mil, sorgho) avec pour les grandes familles, un accès aux plaines de quelques villages. Malgré des conditions naturelles très favorables, les rendements étaient médiocres dans toutes les catégories d'exploitations: pour le riz, 400 à 1.000 kg/ha.

Conception et objectifs du projet

Groupe cible

Le projet devait bénéficier à deux catégories d'exploitations:

  • 28 grandes fermes collectives;
  • 6.000 petites exploitations paysannes.

Objectifs et composantes

Les objectifs du projet sont de contribuer à:

  • l'autosuffisance alimentaire de la Guinée,
  • une meilleure satisfaction des besoins alimentaires de la zone et à l'amélioration des revenus et conditions de vie des populations de la zone.

Ces objectifs doivent être atteints grâce à un accroissement de la production de riz dans les plaines inondables.

La principale composante du projet est constituée par l'aménagement de 5.800 ha de plaines et 1.000 ha de terrasses avec la construction et/ou la réhabilitation d'ouvrages de controle des crues: prises, digues et diguettes, canaux, arroseurs et fossés de protection. Les 28 fermes collectives devaient totaliser une superficie de 2.000 ha soit 30% des aménagements. Une parcelle aménagée d'une superficie moyenne de 0,8 ha devait être attribuée à chacune des 6.000 exploitations paysannes. Ces parcelles devaient provenir d'une redistribution des terres des plaines aménagées à l'ensemble des villages environnants.

Les autres composantes sont:

  • la réhabilitation de 70 km de pistes pour désenclaver les plaines;
  • la construction de bureaux, logements et magasins de stockages;
  • l'équipement du projet en engins et matériel d'entretien, unité de conditionnement de semences, moyens de transport;
  • la fourniture d'intrants et d'équipements à travers le crédit agricole et la vulgarisation;
  • un programme sanitaire (5 centres de santé et 50 puits)
  • la formation des cadres et bénéficiaires (alphabétisation, gestion)
  • la mise en place d'une cellule de suivi-évaluation.

Effets attendus et hypothèses

Il était attendu de l'aménagement des plaines et de la fourniture de services aux producteurs une augmentation de rendement de 0,4 t/ha avant projet à 2,2 t/ha pour les variétés améliorées en première récolte et 2 t/ha en deuxième récolte; une production additionnelle de paddy de 14.000 t grâce à l'amélioration des rendements et à l'extension des surfaces cultivées; un surplus de paddy commercialisable de 0,8 à 1,6 t selon les exploitations; l'assurance del'autosuffisance alimentaire des familles; l'amélioration de la situation de l'emploi; la réduction des migrations et l'amélioration des conditions d'hygiène et de santé.

Le projet avait pour hypothèse principale qu'une redistribution égalitaire des terres aménagées permettrait la constitution d'une paysannerie homogène sur le plan socio-économique.

Évaluation

 Evolution du contexte en cours d'exécution

Le changement de régime politique en avril 1984 a provoqué, outre la disparition des exploitations collectives et étatiques, la résurgence du droit coutumier, la reprise des plaines par leurs anciens propriétaires et donc l'abandon du projet de lotissement des plaines. Il a aussi conduit à la liquidation de la BNDA, la disparition des organes administratifs villageois, la réductions des subventions sur les intrants.

Dans ce nouveau contexte, trois mesures ont été prises:

  • l'extension des services du projet (vulgarisation, crédit,etc) aux terres des plaines non aménagées soit un total de 6 000 ha "encadrés";
  • La création d'un bureau de crédit au sein de l'ORS;
  • l'octroi de crédit d'équipement à des groupements paysans.

Réalisations du projet

Ont été aménagées 4.200 ha de plaines. Suite à des études complémentaires, les superficies aménageables avaient été réduites de 6.800 à 4.200 ha. Pour limiter les coûts, les conceptions des aménagements ont systématiquement privilégié la réhabilitation d'ouvrages anciens et n'ont eu recours qu'exceptionnellement à la construction de nouveaux ouvrages. Il en est résulté en général un sous dimensionnement qui affecte l'efficience des ouvrages. Les aménagements ne sont pas entretenus par les usagers.

Des pistes ont été réalisés: 90 km (sur 70 prévus).

Une unité de conditionnement de semences a été installée.

Cinq centres de santé ont été construits; seuls 2 ont fonctionnés (de façon épisodique); le lot de médicament acquis en 1990 n'a pas encore été mis en place.

Le programme des puits n'a pas été réalisé par souci d'économie et du fait qu'un autre projet financé par le FED a réalisé 33 puits dans la zone du projet.

Sur les 22 décortiqueuses prévues pour l'amélioration des conditions de travail des femmes, 13 seulement ont été acquises mais aucune n'a été installée faute de stratégie claire pour leur rétrocession et leur gestion par les bénéficiaires.

La formation des paysans en matière d'alphabétisation et de gestion a été négligée. La mobilisation en groupements est restée faible.

Le nombre d'exploitations "encadrées" a évolué de 1 230 en 1986 à 1 730 en 1988 pour retomber à 1 400 en 1990. La superficie moyenne cultivée par famille a été de l'ordre de 2,2 ha avec des grandes inégalités (0,25 à 100 ha/famille, 20% des exploitations ayant plus de 3 ha). Les superficies cultivées ont été inférieures aux prévisions: en moyenne, 3 200 ha, avec tendance à la baisse depuis 1989.

De 1985 à 1988, le projet a fourni à crédit 288 t de semences améliorées. Puis, le faible taux de recouvrement a conduit l'ORS à vendre au comptant. Les quantités vendues ont chutées à 12 t en 1989. La vente d'engrais a connu la même évolution (110 t à crédit en 1988 puis 15 t/an au comptant).

Appréciations des effets du projet et de leur pérennité

Bénéficiaires: ce sont principalement les grandes familles propriétaires des terres de plaines. La grande majorité des familles pauvres de la zone, n'ayant pas accès aux plaines aménagées, n'a pas bénéficié du projet puisque ce dernier n'avait rien à proposer en matière de développement des cultures pluviales.

En matière de préparation des sols, après une relative intensification en 1988-89 (équivalent de 7 h de traction mécanique par ha cultivé) les paysans semblent revenir à un système plus extensif (équivalent de 4 h de traction). Globalement, après un timide début d'intensification, les riziculteurs de Siguiri sont dans leur grande majorité retournés à leurs pratiques culturales traditionnelles.

Les rendements ont significativement augmenté sans atteindre pour autant les objectifs; passant de 0,4 t/ha avant projet à 1,5 t/ha la meilleure année, mais avec de fortes irrégularités. La moyenne sur les trois dernières campagnes s'élève à 1,2 t/ha.

L'effet du projet sur la production de paddy est très inférieur aux prévision. On peut l'estimer à 3 000 tonnes additionnelles contre 14 000 prévues.

Effets sur les revenus des bénéficiaires: Le revenu brut moyen additionnel par exploitation participante est relativement important (2 t de paddy par famille de bénéficiaires soit 260 dollars/an) du fait de la superficie moyenne des parcelles supérieure aux prévisions (2 ha contre 0,8 prévu), mais très inégalement répartis en fonction des dotations foncières.

Effets sur les revenus et les conditions de vie des femmes: aucune des décortiqueuses prévues pour l'amélioration des conditions de travail des femmes n'a été installée (voir par 15).

D'une façon générale, la dynamique de mise en valeur entrainée par la réhabilitation des aménagements, bien qu'en deça des potentialités et des objectifs du projet a eu un impact positif sur l'économie de la région: amélioration de l'alimentation, de la sécurité alimentaire et des échanges de céréales grâce à la production additionnelle (de l'ordre de 3 000 t par an), sécurisation relative grâce aux aménagements (pertes de récoltes limitées à 10-20% selon les années).

Sur le plan institutionnel, le projet a été une des premières expériences d'encadrement des exploitations familiales dans un pays qui n'a pas de références en la matière depuis son indépendance. En cela, il constitue un acquis par l'expérience, quoique insuffisante de ses cadres en matière de conduite de la riziculture, gestion de l'eau, entretien des ouvrages, crédit, suivi-évaluation, gestion de projet et de développement rural.

Appréciation de la durabilité du projet: l'accroissement de production de paddy ne semble pas durable. Les tendances observées depuis 1989 à la réduction des superficies et au retour à la riziculture extensive risquent de réduire sensiblement ces gains de production en l'absence de deuxième phase du projet.

Principaux problèmes rencontrés

Un changement profond de contexte politique en cours d'exécution

Conçu dans le contexte socio-politique de l'ancien régime, le projet avait pour principale hypothèse une redistribution de terres pour la constitution d'une paysannerie homogène sur le plan socio-économique. Dans ce contexte, le modèle d'encadrement proposé et les différentes hypothèses de mise en valeur étaient parfaitement rationnels. Mais, avec l'instauration du nouveau régime, le droit foncier coutumier a été restauré. Le projet s'est retrouvé en face d'une situation caractérisée par la très inégale répartition des terres (20% des exploitants ont plus de 3 ha). Les exploitants cultivent d'autres terres en dehors des plaines aménagées à "moindre frais" (mais, manioc, fonio etc). Ils considèrent le riz de la plaine comme une activité d'appoint qu'il n'est pas nécessaire d'intensifier. Géré par un jeune organisme, l'ORS disposant d'un personnel sans expérience en matière d'encadrement d'exploitations paysannes, le projet n'a pas su ajuster ses objectifs et sa stratégie à la nouvelle situation. Il s'est "enfermé" dans la conception initiale d'encadrement de la riziculture dans les plaines alors que celle ci s'est avéré ne concerner qu'une minorité de la population de la zone (les familles les plus aisées) et que la riziculture s'inscrivait dans un système de production plus large et diversifié.

Une faible mise en valeur des aménagements

Après un début d'intensification, on assiste à un retour aux pratiques extensives et à une faible utilisation des superficies aménagées. Sur le plan agronomique, la multiplication des adventices commençait à limiter fortement la production. Les seules techniques vulgarisées restaient le déchaumage précoce (peu suivi pour assurer aux animaux 3 à 4 mois de pacage) et la submersion qui suppose une synchronisation en matière de date de semis et de choix de variété. Or, les tentatives d'organisation des usagers en groupements n'a pas eu l'effet escompté. Ceci entrainait des pertes de récoltes et une baisse des superficies cultivées l'année suivante. De plus, l'arrêt des crédits de campagne a réduit les moyens financiers pour la location des tracteurs, l'achat d'intrants etc. L'insuffisance des équipements en traction animale (malgré les demandes, le projet n'a fait aucun crédit moyen terme), la faible disponibilité en main d'oeuvre (les cultures pluviales et l'orpaillage étant prioritaires pour les agriculteurs) ont contribué à la limitation des surfaces en riz. D'autre part, les aménagements n'ont pas fait disparaitre les risques de perte de récolte; le risque d'inondation ou de sécheresse à des stades critiques de la culture n'est pas éliminé. L'efficience des aménagements est très variable d'une plaine à l'autre.

Un coût excessif pour des résultats limités

Le coût de la réhabilitation des aménagements (études comprises) a été de l'ordre de 1 400 dollars par hectare pour une maitrise toute relative de la submersion et un revenu brut de l'ordre de 140 dollars par hectare aménagé. De plus, les obstacles rencontrés par le projet en matière de mise en valeur semblent avoir poussé l'ORS et les bailleurs de fonds à maximiser les achats d'équipements sans analyse rigoureuse des besoins réels, dans un souci d'"améliorer" les décaissements.

Recommandations et leçons à tirer

La mission d'évaluation intermédiaire considère qu'une nouvelle intervention du FIDA dans la région de Siguiri est souhaitable, d'une part pour tenter de valoriser, sur de nouvelles bases techniques et organisationnelles, les investissements réalisés et l'expérience acquise et, d'autre part, pour répondre aux besoins de la majorité des paysans pauvres qui n'ont guère bénéficié des actions de l'ORS. Mais plus qu'une "deuxième phase", c'est véritablement d'un nouveau projet qu'il s'agirait, plus conforme au mandat et à la démarche du FIDA et restituant aux villageois l'initiative et la maîtrise de leur développement.

Une seconde phase devrait être basée sur une analyse beaucoup plus large des systèmes agraires de la région de Siguiri en partant des besoins, des atouts et des contraintes des exploitations paysannes et en évitant de se focaliser uniquement et a priori sur la riziculture de plaine. Le projet, dans sa seconde phase devrait diversifier ses activités (cultures pluviales, élevage, activités maraichères pour les femmes, activités non-agricoles, etc) pour élargir le groupe cible aux populations n'ayant pas bénéficiées de la première phase. De telles interventions se feraient sur la base d'une approche participative dès leur démarrage et en relation avec les services préfectoraux compétents et les ONG opérants dans la zone.

Quatre leçons de portée générale peuvent être tirées de ce projet:

Quelle que soit l'idée de base ayant motivé son initiation et le caractère volontariste de la politique agricole nationale, aucun projet de développement rural ne devrait faire l'économie d'une analyse-diagnostic des systèmes de production du groupe cible et, plus globalement, du système agraire de la zone d'intervention préalablement à sa formulation. Cette exigence est d'autant plus forte que l'idée de p_ojet originelle est plus sectorielle. Cette analyse devrait prendre en compte l'ensemble des activités du groupe cible, y compris les activités non agricoles. Dans le cas de Siguiri, l'orpaillage s'est révélé une activité fortement concurrente de la riziculture.

Aussi sûres que soient les orientations initiales d'un projet, une grande souplesse dans sa mise en oeuvre devrait être garantie et accompagnée d'une amélioration considérable de la qualité et de l'opérationnalité des services de suivi-évaluation et de supervision. Dans le cas du Projet Siguiri, l'absence de réaction à l'abandon de la politique de redistribution foncière (1985) ou à la mauvaise récolte de 1988 est révélateur de la stupéfiante inefficacité de ces services.

Des projets d'aménagement hydro-agricoles de cette importance ne devraient pas être approuvés en l'absence de connaissances suffisantes des caractéristiques hydrologiques et pédologiques de la zone d'intervention. Mais, en cas de réduction importante des superficies aménageables au cours de la mise en oeuvre (40% dans le cas de Siguiri), le FIDA devrait veiller soit à contenir les déboursements proportionnellement aux superficies, soit à reformuler complètement le projet. A Siguiri, des dépenses importantes ont été engagées en équipements et bâtiments restés inutilisés apparemment dans le seul but d'accélérer les décaissements.

En matière de participation et d'organisation paysanne, le projet Siguiri montre une nouvelle fois qu'un grand projet de développement hydro-agricole parachuté dans un milieu paysan sans tradition de gestion collective de l'eau et qui n'a pas été associé à la conception et à la réalisation des aménagements, débouche sur des comportements d'assistés irresponsables sans appropriation des investissements par les usagers. Généralement, les coûts de gestion, d'organisation et de maintenance des systèmes d'irrigation ne sont assumés par les exploitants que lorsque ceux-ci sont à l'initiative d'investissements adaptés à leur capacité, qu'ils en ont compris et accepté collectivement les contraintes d'exploitation préalablement à la mise en valeur et ont bénéficié de la formation nécessaire.

 

LANGUAGES: English, French

Agricultural Credit for Phase III of a Programme (1990)

El Salvador  
December 1990

Completion evaluation

The completion evaluation of the Agricultural Credit Project for the Loan 163-ES, El Salvador, for which the IDB has been the Cooperating Institution, was carried out in November/December 1990 with the intention to draw lessons and provide specific recommendations for the Paracentral Regional Agricultural Development Project (Loan 263-ES), approved by the Fund in October 1990. The Agricultural Credit Project was approved in December 1984 and became effective in September 1985; it was closed in June 1990. The project made possible some increases in maize yields and the majority of beneficiaries reported an improvement in their general wellbeing. But the project results were negatively influenced by the price policy (which kept basic grain prices low), inadequate project supervision, deficient management at the government executing agency and the lack of an appropriate information system.

Background

During the nineteen-eighties, the economic and political situation of El Salvador worsened considerably, as a result of a combination of increasing internal problems, the acute crises of the Central American Common Market and the fall in world market prices for coffee and cotton, the country's main exports. Political violence resulted in a massive forced migration, about one million rural dwellers having to resettle in other parts of the country, and a further million to million and a half, migrating to other nations, chiefly to the United States and to neighbouring Central American countries.

Between 1980 and 1983, the gross national product fell in real terms and thereafter increased slowly, only reaching the 1980 level ten years later. Because political violence is concentrated in rural areas, the agricultural sector suffered most. The fall in export prices had a large negative effect, with the volume of export agriculture decreasing by 50% during the decade, while production for internal consumption did not increase, making it necessary to rely on increasing imports of food.

The agricultural sector also faced very important structural changes during the 1980's, as a result of new socio-economic policies. Among the most important of these was the agrarian reform, which even if it was not completed as originally planned, still resulted in a redistribution of 25% of all agricultural land. In the large expropriated haciendas, large production cooperatives were set up by the Government. In those areas where very small sharecroppers and renters farmed, the lands were sold to them at very low prices. Other important changes in the sector, consisted of the reform of the private banks and the State took over the marketing of export crops.

It was in this setting that the Agricultural Credit Project, partially financed through IFAD's loan 163-ES, began operating in 1985. This project was part of the III Stage of the Global Agricultural Credit Programme (PGCA), originally initiated in 1976 and which was jointly financed with the Government of El Salvador (GOES) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Project objectives, basic assumptions and targets

The PGCA's basic objective was that of using the credit provided by the Agricultural Development Bank (BFA), to reactivate the agricultural sector, through loans to micro-, small and medium size farmers. The microproducers who obtained ownership through the agrarian reform's Decree-Law 207, were identified in the President's Report as IFAD's target group. It was proposed that the PGCA would be a supervised credit programme, with technical assistance to farmers coming from CENTA, FINATA and CDG. Other services, such as marketing, would be provided through existing private and public channels.

Food and export crops were to be incentivated through credit, leading not only to an increase in the volume of output and a 25% to 518 increase in income to participating farmers. Additional output was to result solely from increases of 30% to 180% in crop yields. This increase in productivity per hectare was considered feasible with the available technology and agricultural extension capacity.

The overall target of the PGCA was to provide credit to about 28 700 farmers over four years. In the case of IFAD's part of the programme, the target was to reach some 20 000 microproducers, which would have implied a total of some 61 655 subloans, including repeat financing of beneficiaries over the four years. Out of the total project cost of US$ 54 million, about US$ 7.6 million were assigned for subloans to microproducers. About 66% of these funds were to be provided by IFAD and the balance would come from IDB and BFA funds. It must be pointed out that both in the project appraisal document and the Loan Agreements, there is a certain ambiguity concerning the identification of funds by source for the different types of farmers. However, in IFAD's President's Report to the Executive Board, it is clearly stated that IFAD's target group would be 20 000 microproducers.

The project covered the whole of El Salvador (21 000 Km2) and the implementing institution was the BFA. The appraisal considered that BFA had the capability to handle the proposed 28 700 farmers, as it was at that time already providing services to 90 000 credit users. IDB participated as co-financier and cooperating institution for the supervision of IFAD's loan. Among the BFA's obligations in IFAD's Loan Agreement was that of setting up a monitoring and evaluation system to assist in project implementation.

Main results of the project

Overall, the project did not achieve its credit targets. Some 16 600 subloans were made with IFAD funds in six years (rather than the four originally planned). This represented about 30% of the original goal of 61 655 including repeat loans.

Concerning the use to which the subloans were allocated, in approximately 90% of the cases these went to cover production costs of grains as proposed at the design stage, the remaining 10% being allocated to farm investments. On the other hand, 76% of the funds were provided to microproducers, given that 19% of subloans went to other small farmers and an additional 5% to medium farmers.

Funds disbursed out of IFAD's loan were concentrated in just two years (1985 and 1987), with a very reduced use of IFAD resources in other years (1986, 1988 to 1990). This did not follow the original expectations at appraisal, that funds would be disbursed in an increasing progression through the third year, with a slight downturn in year four. Resources from subloans paid back were to be re-cycled for new lending through the project's revolving fund. Again, according to BFA reports, the use of the revolving fund resources was concentrated in just one year (1987), and large balances remained in the fund in 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1990, that were not used for providing new credit to the target group. This use of IFAD loan resources was due to BFAs's policy of making decisions at headquarters modifying the allocation of subloans made at agency level in order to use first available funds from the various sources (USAID, IDB, IFAD), rather than request disbursements of new funds from any source such as IFAD. Thus, there was no planned use of these funds, that would have ensured that the resources from each specific source would be available to finance a clearly identified group of clients during the project's implementation period.

The revolving fund resources were used for new loans in 1985 and 1987. Since 1988 these funds were mostly used to make provisions for bad debts and to cover foreign exchange losses.

Data corresponding to changes in crop productivity and incomes are very scarce. Nevertheless, some increases in yields can be inferred if data on project beneficiaries is compared with that of other micro- and small farmers. In the case of maize, which is by far the principal crop, credit users obtained yields of between 2.2 and 2.7 tons per hectare, which were higher than the 1.9 to 2.0 tons per hectare reported for other farmers (far below the irrealistic 3.5 tons per hectare that was set as the goal at appraisal). Regarding changes in income, there is no comparative data available concerning the beneficiaries situation before and after the project. Nevertheless, a survey carried out among IFAD credit users indicated that 58% of these reported an improvement in their general wellbeing, while 39% reported no change and only 3% indicated their situation had worsened.

The reduced number of beneficiaries reached by the project was directly related to BFA's administrative problems, which by not keeping separate accounts by source, allowed funds recovered from subloans that were destined for the revolving fund, to be used for other unspecified purposes by BFA. Changes of a positive nature in BFA management, which took place in mid-1989, came too late to benefit the project.

The results obtained by credit users in regards to increasing output and yields were negatively affected by the low prices for their products, lack of adequate farm technologies and insufficient support from the sectoral institutions that were originally assigned the role of providing technical assistance to farmers. On the basis of the available information, it can be stated that few farmers modified their production systems in order to increase their yields. On the other hand, it was observed that some of the credit beneficiaries employed the funds obtained to finance other economic activities (mostly of a non-agricultural nature) and other family expenditures (principally housing) that satisfied their more immediate needs.

Conclusions

Concerning project design: In order for its projects to have a greater positive effect on the target group, IFAD should participate in project design from its very beginning. Since the project being evaluated was part of the third-phase of an on-going global credit programme, project design was based on the experience with the previous phases which were directed to farmers with more resources. To incorporate micro- farmers in the new project, no substantial effort was made to establish what their needs were and how credit could be of use to them. The identification of the target group was not adequate, and this was a weakness of the design.

The project's proposal to channel most credit to the production of basic grains, while reflecting the type of crops which these farmers cultivate, meant that credit was being tied to the financing of low profitability crops. In addition, the assumptions relating to possible yield increases that were to be generated by the project were too optimistic. Furthermore, the initial decision to cover the whole country with the project generated serious implementation problems. The new 267-ES loan is restricted to a limited area.

The political and policy context: Political violence was a factor, but not the only one, affecting the project's normal implementation. The principal macroeconomic policies did not have a major positive effect on project development, as they focused mostly on export crops, while the project's emphasis was on crops for internal consumption. One policy that did have a significant negative effect was that of keeping basic grain prices low, as farmer beneficiaries produced mainly maize, beans and sorghum. Other negative effects were due to the frequent restructuring of the agencies dealing with agricultural research and extension, as the administrative changes hindered rather than improved services to farmers.

On project administration: Even though BFA had previous experience in managing credit projects with external funds, management of the IFAD funded project was not adequate. The special characteristics of IFAD's target group were not reflected by BFA in the credit regulations, which did not include the eligibility criteria that IFAD had proposed. Rather the credit regulations used BFA's own standard definitions for micro farmers and applied the same eligibility criteria it had always used. During implementation, BFA's procedure for assigning multiple subloans for a single farmer's credit operation, resulted in making it impossible to identify each client with any particular financing source. Thus IFAD's "beneficiaries" cannot be clearly established, as any farmer who received IFAD funds could also be receiving funds from IDB, or USAID, or any other source. This also led to project funds not being disbursed as planned at appraisal, but instead disbursements responded to the availability of funds in BFA from all sources. When sufficient funds were available from other sources, no request for IFAD disbursements were made; conversely, if IFAD funds were available then all loans from a particular agency that fitted the eligibility criteria were assigned to the IFAD project and a reimbursement request made. This, of course, meant that no planning of credit was possible and a continuous support for a particular farmer or farmers throughout the project period was again not possible. An additional serious problem derived from this situation, was that since IFAD funds were not handled separately from other resources, this led to reflows from the original subloans not being used for the granting of new credits.

The lack of a properly functioning information system during most of the implementation period, made project management more difficult and prevented the BFA from undertaking any systematic planning of credit use. The problems with the information system resulted also in monitoring and evaluation functions being superficially implemented, but without any real effect on project decision- making. However, it must be recognized that in the last three years significant advances were made concerning the information system, which with proper adjustments can become an important support for new projects.

On project supervision: The IFAD project was overshadowed by the much larger IDB contribution, which amounted to 75% of the total. The rapidly deteriorating financial situation of BFA seems to have involved the full attention of the Cooperating Institution on this problem, thus limiting IDB's interest in supervising what was happening with IFAD's funds. The reporting on project status by IDB to the Fund was insufficient. An additional problem was that several recommendations from IDB to improve project management were not generally followed by BFA. The Fund carried out some supervision missions but, mainly because of the lack of basic data concerning key implementation issues, these missions did not point out the need for immediate action (such as the threat to suspend loan disbursements, and, eventually their actual suspension or even the cancellation of the loan).

Recommendations for the paracentral region project

In October 1990, the Fund approved the Paracentral Region Agricultural Development Project (Loan 267-ES). In the design of this project several of the lessons learned from the Project 163-ES were incorporated. But, for the proper implementation of this new project some of BFA's present procedures need to be modified, in relation to operations policy, credit regulations and the type and frequency of reports generated by BFA's information system.

The BFA's administration has undergone substantial changes since mid-1989, which should be a positive factor for the new project's future development. However, a number of additional modifications in relation to operations policy are proposed which include that the three credit agencies participating (San Vicente, Sesuntepeque and Ilobasco), be considered as being part of a pilot project, in order to try, on an experimental basis, the following:

a) A savings mobilization scheme in their respective areas of operation, and that those savings be re-cycled to its clients, thus establishing a direct link between depositors and loan recipients. The additional credit resources needed to cover credit demand would be supplied by BFA's central office as occurs at present.

b) A major decentralization of the bank's operations, allowing each agency to establish its own balance sheets and accounts. This would allow each Head of Agency to manage his office's operations and to know the real cost of these.

c) To utilize the individual farmer as the basis for loan operations at the agency level, rather than considering each subloan with a different line of credit as a separate operation, like it is done at present.

Regarding the credit regulations, it is recommended that on the basis of experience with Loan 163-ES, IFAD should consider using as the main beneficiary eligibility criteria in El Salvador, the net worth of the loan recipient instead of his/her net income. The use of net worth would ease the BFA's work, since it already employs this criteria in its loan application reviews, and it also provides more trustworthy data on the economic status of the proposed beneficiary.

Finally, in relation to the information system, there is a need to introduce important modifications concerning the types of reports generated by the management information system (SIG). Only a few additional variables need be included in the existing information system. The main changes to be introduced into the SIG are:

a) The presentation of reports on credit operations, based on a standard report format, containing all the relevant data for project and agency management. A set of the proposed reports is included in Annex 5 of the report.

b) The elaboration of reports at the level of the three participating credit agencies, which could later be aggregated to produce a unified report for the project implementing unit, for BFA's headquarters and for the Cooperating Institution and IFAD. This could strengthen BFA's stated proposal to decentralize its activities.

c) Reporting on a regular basis would considerably assist in project monitoring, with some reports being produced weekly and others monthly, as needed. To fulfil report requirements of the Cooperating Institution, summary reports could be produced on a quarterly basis.

On the basis of the experience with the evaluation of the 163-ES project, it is recommended that the responsibility for the design and implementation of an evaluation methodology be assigned to PERA, an institution specialized in this type of activities. This unit is part of the Agricultural Sector Planning Office, which during 1991 will receive assistance in this area from the joint UNDP/IBRD/IFAD Regional Unit for Technical Assistance (RUTA) project.

 

LANGUAGES: English, Spanish

North Western Province Area Development Project - Interim evaluation report

Zambia  
December 1990

The project is national in scope, but concentrated on high priority areas to the benefit of the majority of agricultural and fishery small-scale producers. Given the prevailing insecurity at the time, the project would operate in about one-third of the country, covering seven provinces in the Northern, Central and Southern Regions. The Northern Region has a tropical climate with more than 1000mm of rains annually and a long rainy season. Average farm sizes are estimated to be 1.4-1.7ha. The Southern Region, in contrast, has an annual rainfall of 400-800mm, and average farm sizes which range between 1.3 and 2.3ha. The Central Region falls in between with regard to rainfall while farm sizes average at 1.8ha per household. Most of the farmers combine subsistence crops (cassava, maize, sorghum, beans and groundnuts) with cash crops (cotton, and cashew trees). The project would also support the fisheries sub-sector. There are about 40 000 -50000 active artisanal fishermen in the People's Republic of Mozambique (RPM), of whom 25000 will be targeted by the project.

Project design and objectives

Target group

The target group comprises the small farmers in the Northern, Central and Southern Regions who have annual per capita incomes of USD60, USD90 and USD55 respectively. In addition the project would support artisanal fishermen whose per capita income is estimated at USD90 per annum.

Objectives and components

Objectives. The project would provide smallholders with much needed inputs and means of production, and to help the RPM coordinate and gradually integrate the provision of these inputs with improved support services and the development of human resources. The project would also assist the Government in the implementation of the main goals of its Economic Rehabilitation Programme (ERP), i.e., to reverse the decline in production and restore a minimum level of consumption and income for the rural smallholder population, and strengthen the country's external payment position.

The project was supposed to draw main lessons from the first IFAD-funded project as quoted in its Evaluation report: "(a)be flexible so that its scope and/or duration can be adjusted during implementation in line with the evolving security situation; (b)include a reduced number of components, sufficient to meet the more urgent, short-term input needs of small-scale producers; (c)concentrate responsibility for procurement and distribution in a smaller number of agencies; and (d)adopt effective monitoring and evaluation procedures."

The main components are: (a)assistance to small-scale farmers; (b)assistance to small-scale fishermen; and (c)institutional development. Specifically, the project in its original design would finance the following activities:

(i) supply of farm inputs/handtools, quality seeds, bags, ox-drawn implements etc;

(ii) supply of fishery material, equipment and accessories;

(iii) support the agricultural extension system; and

(iv) institutional development and support to the People's Development Bank (BDP), the Department for Rural Development (DDR); and the National Directorate for Rural Economy (DNEA) of MOA.

The redesign exercise of the project undertaken in 1989 decided to scale-down the importation of handtools and reallocate the funds to expand the extension network as well as the rehabilitation of three research sub-stations in the project area. Also it decided to start a new set of activities such as forestry, livestock and beekeeping. In addition, under the development fund, new projects involving a NGO to support agricultural activities mainly animal traction, input facilities and renovation of a handicraft workshop will be funded with the support of the Government of India.

Expected effects and assumptions

The main project benefits would arise from an increase in food production and marketing in the project area through provision of agricultural inputs and marketing support and extension services. Together with producer incentives, these would enable smallholder farmers to exploit their natural resources more fully and to increase returns on their main input, labour. Processing and transportation equipment provided to smallholder women would enable them to increase their productivity and contribution to farming activities. In overall terms, without the project inputs, agricultural production would decrease by an estimated 3-4% below present levels and with project inputs it would increase by 3-4% above present levels.7million mt). Combining both effects, the additional production due to the project would attain the equivalent of some 125000mt of agricultural products per annum, which could be valued roughly at USD14.0 to USD18.0million.

Improved equipment and inputs would enable the fishermen to operate and maintain their boats more effectively. Without such assistance, fish production would decrease by an estimated 20% (2700mt) per year. With the project fish catch would increase by about 30% or 1800mt per year. Hence, additional production due to the project would total about 4500mt of fish per year. Benefits from this sub-sector would range between USD1.3and USD4.2million per year.

Combined incremental benefits attributable to the project would translate into a higher availability of cash, and its impact on income distribution would be an important contribution to alleviating rural poverty and restoring a minimum level of consumption and income for the population in rural areas.

The project area has been selected within the most accessible provinces having minor security problems. Enough flexibility has been incorporated into the design in order to allow for future adjustments to major policy. Project coordination and implementation has been streamlined and simplified. Probabilities of delays in the implementation schedule have also been reduced to a minimum, taking full advantage of appropriate procedures and trained teams developed under the previous IFAD project.

Evaluation

The mid-term evaluation mission comprised three consultants in the fields of extension, farming systems and monitoring and evaluation. During February and March 1990, the mission spent three to four weeks in RPM in field visits as well as in discussions with the project, government officials and NGOs in the project area. The mission consulted numerous reports and research material published by government, IFAD, World Bank, UN agencies and research institutions.

Implementation context

It must be taken into account that the project has been implemented in the context of a war covering most of the territory, with several emergency programmes and institutions involved in providing aid and support so as to partially compensate the effects of the war combined with natural calamities. Another key element which also has to be taken into account is that Mozambique has been carrying out a liberalization programme, which included macro-devaluations of the national currency, that had considerable impact on relative prices.

At project design a separation was established between the "administrative coordination" under the responsibility of the Special Operations Department (SOD) of the BPD, and the "technical coordination", whose responsibility was allocated to the DDR of the MOA. Given this inter-institutional split between the technical and the administrative coordination, a key feature of the project is the provision of a Senior Project Officer (SPO) who should establish the crucial linkage between both coordinations.

Project achievements

Project Coordination. The Administrative Coordination has performed adequately its role as coordinating and supervising links between the Cooperating Institution, importers and distributors for tendering, procurement and contracting. The team that worked in the previous project funded by IFAD had developed a valuable capacity that is being used in the present project. However, the Technical Coordination has never been operational. The SPO continued devoting most of his time to advise the national system of extension instead of providing much needed support to project coordination.

Supply of Farm Inputs. The general lack of coordination was particularly evident in the supply of handtools that was not linked with extension work. This lack jeopardized the effectiveness of both components. Whereas the project was quite successful in tendering internationally for inputs and equipment, and in placing orders for approximately USD7million during its first year, there have been serious problems with its delivery to the target group.

The Supply of Seeds. The situation is therefore very similar to the supply of handtools and even riskier (problem of storage) if the extension component and research does not provide a more accurate picture of seed requirements of small farmers living in the more secure areas. So far the needs of these farmers are not properly addressed by the national policy since they are supposed to produce and select their own seeds with the support of the extension service. In the more dynamic district of Boane and to a certain extent Rapale where extension is operating, the network is involved in seed sales to farmers, but it is the only case where extension is connected with input supply and yet independently from this component of the project at macro-level.

Supply of Fisheries Inputs. The fishing material and equipment that the project had to supply to artisanal fishermen was all imported during the project's first year. There have been problems due to an imperfect knowledge about the fishermen's needs that, together with the increase in prices and the poverty situation led to an accumulation of stocks of materials. In addition, a first draft on the small-scale fishery sub-sector study has been submitted and it includes valuable information and suggestions for future actions.

Although no base study on the demand had been made prior to the imports, most (but not all) of the imported equipment was satisfactory. Compared t the State Enterprise for Agricultural Marketing (AGRICOM), the Fisheries National Supply Enterprise (EQUIPESCA) seems to have operated in a more commercial and efficient way in adapting to a certain extent to the new demand arising from displaced farmers arriving in crowds on the coast. After the crisis due to the Portuguese retailers' departure and an initial lack of needs' analysis of this sector, these difficulties have been and are being partially overcome by EQUIPESCA adapting gradually to the demand through sales and good contacts with retailers, fishermen and provincial fishery officials.

With respect to nets, since the beginning of the ERP they get repaired and, therefore, their use has been extended from six months to two years. In the past (before 1987) the low cost of inputs due to the overvaluation of the Metical allowed fishermen to purchase new nets instead of repairing the old ones; these particular conditions do not exist any more since prices of imported nets have increased and fish prices have stagnated. Thus, repairing nets has become necessary and possible through the provision of thread.

Extension. Since the last semester of 1989 the support to the extension system has become the core of the project. The methodology which is being followed is an adapted version of the training and visit (T&V) system. The following conclusions have been reached: through the extension system GOM has established contacts with populations that were previously isolated from the state apparatus; and approximately 15% of the extension workers are female, whereas 60% of the households in the area are female-headed.

Support for Smallholder Associations. On this sub-component there has been no advance. At appraisal phase it was foreseen that a survey of existing smallholder cooperative marketing activities and/or NGO-supported smallholder development projects would be the basis for a work programme to be developed during the first project year, but the survey was not carried out.

Institutional Development. The project provided resources for the "extension work" of the Ministry of Agriculture and, through a grant, it made possible the appointment of a Senior Project Officer (SPO) to assist the Project Coordinator and thus to contribute to the development of the institutions involved in project implementation. However, for various reasons, until 1990 the SPO contribution to institutional development has been negligible.

23. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). The project design put both Monitoring and Evaluation under the responsibility of a Division of the MOA. As this arrangement was inadequate in principle and it was proving too be inoperative, a December 1988 Supervision Mission recommended to split Monitoring from Evaluation, the former to be carried out by the People's Development Bank (BPD) (where the Project Coordinator is located, already performing an informal monitoring of the project), leaving Evaluation at the MOA.

Effects, assessment and sustainability

The mid-term evaluation has been undertaken in less than two years after the effectiveness of the project. Project effects on beneficiaries, incomes, food security, environment, the economy etc., would take long time before they materialize. Hence, the mission had not made any observation or analysis of these issues.

Main issues and recommendations

Improvement of Coordination and Supervision. Urgently needed steps to improve project management include:

(a) An incentive scheme for the Project Coordination Unit (PCU) is needed. This scheme could consist of contracts for the PCU members as well as training opportunities, study travels and the possibility to be engaged in South-South cooperation in the context of other projects in Lusophone Africa (e.g., in Sao Tome). This would not only promote self-reliance but might also become an incentive that could prevent staff turn-over.

(b) The appointed SPO does not have the required professional profile for the tasks he should be doing. Given the key importance of his position and the lack of improvements in his performance during 1989, it is therefore recommended that the SPO be changed.

(c) Given the coordination problems, the role of the Cooperating Institution (CI) has become all the more important. The CI should allow for full participation of the Mozambican institutions, technical personnel (several of whom expressed that the Annual plan was "imposed" upon them by the financing agency), and the beneficiaries in the process of project planning and implementation.

(d) The CI's Senior Agriculturalist, who is the task manager, should be asked to take into account IFAD's lessons from experience, as reflected in some key documents such as the "Review of IFAD's Experience in Agricultural Research and Extension", April 1989, whose conclusions and recommendations are most relevant for the SARP. These and similar lines of action could help to eliminate as much (and as fast) as possible any communication gap between IFAD and the CI in the context of the project implementation.

Assessment of Small Farmers Needs. The farmers' specific needs are not sufficiently known by the suppliers and there is thus a mismatch between supply and demand which should not be explained only in terms of the lack of purchasing power but also by making reference to the lack of knowledge about farmers' needs. This would mean emphasis should be laid on a more participatory approach, with an active search of information on farmers real needs.

Consolidation of Extension and Research. Since project redesign in 1989 emphasized extension activities, the component should be improved in the following manner:

(a) The T&V method of extension (which has been strongly favoured by the cooperating institution) is particularly inappropriate to the project.

(b) The project should take into account IFAD's lessons from experience, as stated in the Review of Agricultural Research and Extension. The top-down approach should be replaced by a participatory approach, using the farmers' knowledge and establishing linkages with the research system.

(c) The work that is being done in six districts should be consolidated before expanding into new areas and to establish an effective coordination with AGRICOM and other institutions delivering inputs (a process in which the SPO should play a key role).

(d) The terms of reference of the research specialist only deal with management aspects, whereas what is urgently needed is a specialist who can help in the generation of validated appropriate technological recommendations in order to feed extension with relevant messages. The terms of reference for that expert should be changed accordingly.

Support to Smallholder Association. It is recommended to activate this sub-component. These smallholder associations could become the core group for a new project which could have a significant credit component.

Support to Small-scale Fishermen. The project has practically no more links than the supply of fisheries inputs with the institutions dealing with small-scale fishermen. But there are several reasons that would make it worthwhile to provide further support to small-scale fishermen: (i)they face less security problems than farmers in the countryside; (ii)Mozambique's comparative advantage in this activity; (iii)the availability of the sub-sector study which suggests possible lines of action, such as credit schemes; (iv)a credit line for small-scale fishermen could be tried out on a pilot basis since there is no competition from the emergency programme (that provides free inputs); and (v)the existence of a shipyards industry that can allow for backward linkages; and (vi)the availability of a strong institutional framework in the fisheries sector.

Lessons learned

Streamlining Field Coordination. For the delivery of project services, technical coordination at the field level is essential. This depends to a large extent on the personality and dedication of the lead coordinator and the technical capacities and incentive structures of the coordination staff.

Participation and Need Assessment. Even within the short period of project implementation by the mid-term evaluation, the importance the participation of the beneficiaries as well as assessment of their needs, has been clearly demonstrated. With respect to need assessment, the success of the fisheries input supply sub-component is contrasted to the problems faced by the farm input sub-component. It is imperative that for project success, adequate project support to ensure farmers participation and to carry out need assess exercises should be provided.

Lack of Technical Message. Research activities have lagged behind project services (particularly input supply and extension) leading to lack of appropriate technical messages for extension workers to deliver to small-scale farmers.

Choice of Extension Method. The choice of the method of extension depends on the specific circumstances in the project area in respect of the extension skill, infrastructure, resources as well as the recipients (i.e., small-scale farmers). The T&V has not been found to be particularly efficient for this project. The exchange of experiences between IFAD and its cooperating institution are critical for the success of the extension work. Strong linkage between research and extension should be institutionalized.

 

 

LANGUAGES: English

Smallholder Rehabilitation and Development Programme

Ghana  
March 1990


Mid-term evaluation

The major part of the programme was to be concentrated in three adjacent districts of the Northern Region. The volume and period of rains varies widely (drought in 1982-83, flooding in 1989). The feeder road system is characterized by very limited on going maintenance, many roads being impassible during the rainy season. True shifting cultivation still predominates in the Northern Region. This aggravates the pressure on land ressources. The major crop is maize, followed by groundnuts, millet, sorghum, yam, cowpeas, rice and cassava. Technological changes such as the introduction of tractor cultivation and combine harvesters will lead to land scarcity much faster than population growth alone.

Project objectives and design

Target group

The primary target group for the programme are to be smallholders with holdings of 3 ha or less. They represents 80% of the rural population or 23.300 farm families. On a socio-economic scale, this target group lives at a level well below those of the country as a whole. The National Root and Tuber Improvment Sub-programme would have a national target group of 900.000 small farmers who produce 2.5-3.0 millions mt of root crops and tubers annually on 550.000 ha.

Objectives and components

The main objectives of the programme are to encourage food production and to improve rural family incomes.

The components are:

  • provision of farm inputs including fertiliser;
  • reactivation of extension services;
  • credit for smallholders. The main line of credit will be chanelled through ADB. The opportunity would also be taken to test (on a pilot basis) a new approach to credit delivery by a second bank (BHC) in association with a local NGO.
  • rehabilitation of feeder roads to improve the access of smallholders to markets;
  • training and technical assistance;
  • adaptive trials for root-crops and tubers through the National Root and Tuber Improvement Programme.

Expected effects and assumptions

The quantifiable direct production benefits of the programme would include at maturity an annual production of about 46.500 t of food crops comprising cereals 28.000 t, legumes 4.500 t, and roots and tubers 14.000 t. There would also be spin-off effects from the strengthening of institutional services and the expansion of credit. The root and tuber improvement programme wood lay the basis for very significant increases in productivity of these staple foods on a national basis. Additional employment would be created by the increase in the level of economic activity induced by the programme in other sectors such as trading, transportation and construction. The training programmes would improve local capability and facilitate planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of future development projects.

Evaluation

Implementation context

The improvment of the highway from Accra to Tamale and of the communication system, as well as the better supplies of inputs and consumer goods have positively affected the project implementation.

The policy of structural adjustement followed by the government has lead to the privatization of the input supply system and to the elimination of subsidies and therefore modifies the economic rentability of fertilizers. Government policy has still to be clarified with regard to the operating procedures of the private trade.

Project achievements

Input supply. The programme is providing foreign exchange to procure inputs, such as fertilizer. A total of 4.141,5 t were sold. The fertilizer use has only slightly increased during the first two years. Agrochemicals, improved maize, cowpea and groundnuts seeds were distributed to technical staff to support them in conducting on farm demonstrations and sales to farmers.

Extension. The extension services in the project districts have been strengthened. Rehabilitation of the zonal extension stations as well as the Farmers Service Centers are being implemented as planned. Vehicles and motorcycles are being provided to the extension staff and the field activities are proceeding in the project districts. It could be observe, however, that the extension messages are primarily standard crop packages, the maize-fertilizer one being most promoted. All of the farmers were extended exactly the same package. It was observe that the initial adoption rate was rather low.

An agroforestry component was included in the extension programme (nursery, on-station demonstrations). The programme support for the women farmers extension division was limited but conducted training courses in food processing, demonstrations for crop production in 25 villages and follow-up of women groups receiving credit.

Credit. The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has made efforts to promote group loans and succeeded, between 1987 and july 1990, to provide 136 millions cedis of loans to 614 groups consisting of 4.306 menbers. The programme has taken the opportunity to test a new approach to credit delivery by a second bank in association with a local NGO. The Bank for Housing and Construction (BHC) has initiated a pilot credit programme and promoted 40 credit groups in close cooperation with a local NGO (Amasachina). The groups formed by Amasachina were generally more cohesive than the groups served by ADB. This enabled BHC to achieve higher repayment rates: 518 in 1988, 75% in 1989 and 90% projected for 1990. There is no savings (the interest rate is 15% wich is negative in real terms).

Marketing support. The proposed pilot storage programme for maize has not yet been implemented.

Feeder road rehabilitation. The rehabilitation of the feeder road programme has started in 1990 with a one-year delay. The routine maintenance of feeder roads with the support of villages has not yet started due to delay in delivery of tools and equipment.

Training. A number of training programmes have been implemented. The training programme as proposed by PCU is supported by the mission. The organization of a training programme for farmer groups as foreseen in the project should be started.

National Root and Tuber Crops Improvement Sub-Programme (NRTCIP). In spite of the long delays in signing the subsidiary agreement between the implementation agencies (IITA and GOG), NRTCIP has been able to carry out a large part of the proposed activities for the first half of the project.

Small Ruminants Development Programme. This project component has been started by ordering vehicles, construction material and other equipment.

Monitoring and Evaluation. The effectiveness of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit (MEU) has been limited. The economics of the input packages and the ruminants project, and indicators of performance were not adequately addressed. A computerized data management system does not exist. With TA, a proper baseline survey has been carried out. The only drawback is that the size of the project area was reduced after the baseline survey was completed. A mid-Term Rapid Farm Household Survey has been undertaken to update the information on some proxy indicators related to living standards and to have a feedback from the beneficiaries with regard to the activities promoted by the programme and their main problems and constraints in farming.

Effects assessment and sustainability

Beneficiaries: Through the extension service, the target group has been reached in general. The poorest segments and the women farmers have not been reached adequately due to lack of focus. A strategie for group formation has not yet been developped.

The project has made good progress in strengthening credit, input and extension services.

In terms of yields and production, the impact of the project is found to be limited, with no more than 30% of the farmers having adopted the maize-fertilizer package. Farmers seem to apply less fertilizer and consequently obtain much lower yields compared to demonstration farms. Some of the scarce data indicate that the yields of the latter compare very favorably with appraisal estimates. Nevertheless, high fertilizer prices make crop rotations with legumes seem more profitable than a maize-fertilizer package.

Specific effects on women: the project has had litle effect on the women in the target group or in terms of strengthening women's organisations.

Effects on environment: the promotion of the high input maize package can have an adverse effect on soil fertility, as the farmers are commonly applying the fertilizer to a larger area than meant for and thus the nutrients removed by the crop stand are not sufficiently restored, wich results in "soil mining". On the other hand, the project components of agroforestry and efficient dissemination of crop rotation packages can have a positive impact on the environment. Similarly, the approach of the NRTCIP research programme in identitying disease and pest resistant cultivars and using biocontrol to check pest populations is environmentally sound.

Sustainability: the sustainability of services currently provided by the project appears questionable. Recurrent costs, with particular reference to transport, feeder road maintenance, credit, extension, and small ruminants, have to be minimized in order to be sustainable after the closure of the IFAD loan.

Main issues

The small ruminant development programme raises a number of questions.

Little consideration has been made to the cost/benefit analysis, to the impact and possible adoption by farmers of the technology proposed. No information is provided on the cost of additionnal feeding and the additionnal returns the smallholders could expect from a better fed animal. It appears doubtful whether the farmers are able to adopt the package because of financial or socio-cultural reasons and lack of incentives. There no evidence that the proposed technology is financially sustainable. There is also the question of priority with regard to the proposed water holes for animals while a large part of the rural human population has not yet convenient access to water.

The liberalization of fertilizer imports and distribution leads to increase of fertilizer prices.

The fertilizer/maize package does not appear to be profitable anymore. Many farmers reported the need of groundnut sales to repay the loan for the maize package. The present fertilizer package has to be adapted to changing conditions.

The group formations are quite often artificial.

Presently, the groups are often formed ad-hoc, only for the purpose of receiving credit. They lack cohesiveness and group liability. This is a serious factor reducing impact and sustainability of the project.

The loan repayment rate is very low.

The main problem encountered was the decline in repayment rates which reached only 47% in 1989. It appears that the programme was implemented too quickly under the general pressure for loan disbursement. Appraisal, supervision, monitoring and recovery methods have to be strengthened. A lack of effective cooperation between the bank, the extension service and NGOs, as well as flooding in 1989, have also contributed to unsatisfactory performance of the programme.

The extended messages are too standardized.

The initial adoption of the promoted crop packages was not very high and many farmers were aware of the extension packages but had not implemented them in their own fields. Several farmers mentioned the high cost of inputs as a major constraint. The need for "tailor" extension messages to suit the conditions of the farmers are supported by a recent study on allocative efficiencies among farm households in Northern Ghana. It was shown that soil fertility varies greatly from field to field and that there is great variability in the allocative efficiencies of the farm households which could be used by the extension services as a basis to identify recommendations domains.

Recommandations and lessons learned

Project Management and Organization:

  • review of administrative procedures of procurement and disbursement by the agencies involved;
  • make arrangements for the representation of beneficiaries at the regional steering committee;
  • use of vehicles should be properly monitored and supervised.

Credit

  • carefully analyze the default situation, and establish appropriate remedying measures and effective cooperation with the extension service and NGOs;
  • make arrangements for the availability to loan officers of vehicles under the IFAD loan;
  • regularly review transaction costs of the bank and the borrowers in order to ascertain the economic viability of operations;
  • annually review the economics of the fertilizer/credit/maize package;
  • place more emphasis on savings mobilization, promotion, and monitoring of farmer group performance.

Input supply

  • implement a training programme on input marketing for retailers, wholesalers, extension agents and farmer groups;
  • carefully monitor the new fertilizer marketing system by means of the M&E Unit of PCU with regard to demand, supplies, prices and stocks.

Extension

  • regularly review the profitability of the crop-packages;
  • move from promotion of single commodity crop packages to a farming-systems approach developing multi-commodity (including a livestock component if appropriate) extension messages in consultation with the farmers and with the research community;
  • organize training for extension agents on a farmer/problem-oriented extension approach;
  • appoint more female extension staff to the project to support the frontline work.

Marketing support

  • initiate the proposed pilot programme for financing maize storage;
  • strengthen the marketing extension work of the project.

Feeder road rehabilitation

  • give more emphasis to institutionalizing feeder road maintenance with the maximum participation of communities.

Promotion of groups

  • use already existing village groups or initiate the proposed training programme of farmer groups through NGOs.

Support to women's activities

  • complement the women's components with a provision of boreholes for 40 villages in the project districts with active participation of the communities and make use of the expertise and equipment available through the Northern Region Rural Integrated Project (NORRIP).

National root and tuber crops improvement sub-programme

  • clarify the strategy of distributing and disseminating improved varieties and practices;
  • initiate the baseline survey and the survey on village level processing of roots and tubers.

Agroforestry

the project should plan and implement a substantial awareness-building campaign.

Small Ruminants Development Programme

  • review the scope and type of activities proposed in line with the farmers' needs and interest;
  • reduce the project to a pilot trial basis.

Monitoring and evaluation

  • strengthen the M&E through technical assistance and by appointing an agricultural economist.

Sustainability of services

  • preparation by PCU of a report on the sustainability of essential services by May 1991.

There are a number of lessons to be learned:

Bottom-up against top-down approach. There is much scope in the design and implementation of the project to promote a bottom-up approach and more self-help activities. The heavy top down approach in extension does not encourage anough innovation coming from the farmers themselves. The emphasis has to be on a farmer-centered approach which encourage his active participation.

Rural finance. In order to achieve viable financial systems there should be a stronger emphasis on savings mobilization, including incentive interest rates, and the focus should be on a demand-led credit approach rather than a supply-led one.

Extension work. There is much scope to develop a more cost effective and viable extension programme focussing on appropriate packages developed with the active support of farmers and making gull use of rural extension intermediaries such as NGOs, market places and radio. The proposed packages should take into account individual farmers differences instead of having a standardized form. If transport cost (cars and motorcycles) are too high, more cost effective means of diffusion e.g. radio and low cost intermediaries such as informal groups, rural schools, churches, market places and traders, and an effective feed-back system should be used.

Routine maintenance of feeder roads by villages. The rehabilitation of roads is only a waste of time and money if the maintenance, with the support of villagers is not effective. Routine maintenance has to receive priority in design and implementation of the project in order to ensure the sustainability of the feeder road rehabilitation.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Projet fonds de développement villageois de Ségou

Mali  
March 1990

Résumé du rapport d'évaluation intermédiaire

La zone du projet est le cercle de Ségou (à l'exception de ses zones irriguées), situé dans la quatrième région du Mali. On constate une baisse de la pluviométrie moyenne depuis 20 ans. Le cercle est traversé par le fleuve Niger. Sa population rurale, de langue bambara, est passée en dix ans de 260.000 à 330.000 habitants (1986) répartis dans environ 500 villages. L'agriculture de la zone est à forte dominante céréalière: mil et sorgho occupent 80% des superficies cultivées, suivis de l'arachide et du niébé. Depuis la fin de l'Opération Arachide et Cultures Vivrières (OACV) en 1980, la zone n'a plus de grande culture de rente mais reste excédentaire en produits vivriers. L'élevage est un élément important du système agraire local. Les aléas climatiques pèsent lourdement sur la production agricole qui peut varier du simple au double selon le déroulement de la saison des pluies. L'accroissement démographique et le développement de la culture attelé a induit une régression inquiétante des surfaces et périodes de jachère.

Conception et objectifs du projet

Groupe cible

Il n'y a pas de caractérisation d'un groupe cible spécifique à l'interieur de la zone d'intervention. Les bénéficiaires attendus sont estimés à 60.000 paysans vivant de l'agriculture pluviale, répartis dans 160 villages de petite et moyenne dimension. La superficie cultivée moyenne des exploitations était estimé à 8 ha pour des unités de production agricoles (UPA) regroupant 12 personnes en moyenne.

Objectifs et composantes du projet

Le projet poursuit deux objectifs essentiels: d'une part la création d'une dynamique d'initiative et responsabilisation villageoise en vue d'un développement local autofinancé et autogéré, articulé à la politique nationale de décentralisation. D'autre part, l'augmentation de la production et des revenus agricoles ainsi que l'amélioration à terme des conditions sanitaires et nutritionnelles des populations.

Les composantes du projet peuvent être classées en quatre catégorie:

i) Mise en place d'un système de financement du développement rural reposant d'une part sur le crédit bancaire, d'autre part sur la constitution progressive de fonds de développement villageois (32% des coûts du projet). Une agence de la BNDA devait être installée à Ségou et dotée de deux lignes de crédit à moyen terme pour les équipements agricoles et boeufs de trait et pour le financement de petits projets villageois individuels ou collectifs. Dans les villages, le crédit devait être géré par des Comités Villageois de Crédit (CVC) garant de la caution solidaire de la communauté. Les villages participants, organisés en Associations Villageoises (AV) devaient constituer des fonds de développement sur la base d'une cotisation initiale de l'ordre de 10% des crédits d'équipement demandés, complétée par un don de contrepartie équivalent du projet. Ces fonds devaient être déposés en compte d'épargne à la BNDA. Ils constituaient une garantie pour la banque mais devaient surtout permettre de financer des activités productives ou sociales non éligibles au crédit bancaire. Les décision quant à leur utilisation devaient être prises exclusivement par les villageois.

ii) Un ensemble de "services d'appui" comprenant: vulgarisation agricole, recherche appliquée, multiplication et diffusion de semences, approvisionnement en intrants et matériels de culture attelée, formation et alphabétisation fonctionnelle des responsables d'Associations Villageoises (AV), services vétérinaires et formation de secouristes vétérinaires villageois, services de santé primaire par la formation d'hygiénistes-secouristes et de sages femmes et la mise en place d'équipement sanitaires de base. (18% des coûts)

iii) Aménagement d'infrastructures sanitaires (160 antennes médicales, 16 centres de maternité), hydrauliques (160 forages) et routières (500 km de pistes de desserte). (30% des coûts)

iv) Enfin, 20% du budget était destiné à l'unité de gestion du projet (UGP), au contrôle financier, au suivi-évaluation et aux études.

 Effets attendus et hypothèses

Sur le plan agricole, l'effet attendu du projet était une augmentation de la production céréalière des bénéficiaires de 50% (passer de 14 400 à 22 400 t) et de la production arachidière de 40% (de 1 260 à 1 770 t) en sept ans. Le meilleur équipement des paysans en multiculteurs, semoirs et boeufs de trait, ainsi que la diffusion de semences sélectionnées et traitées devait permettre:

  • une augmentation des rendements de 35% pour les céréales et 20% pour l'arachide par l'amélioration de la préparation des sols et des pratiques culturales (dates et densité de semis, multiplication des sarclages, etc.)
  • une légère augmentation des superficies cultivées (+15%).

La stratégie retenue pour l'augmentation de la production était donc une stratégie d'intensification, sans toutefois recourir aux engrais considérés comme non rentables.

On attendait une forte augmentation des revenus des exploitations estimée à +400% après remboursement des crédits d'équipement, ainsi qu'un impact positif important (mais non quantifié) au niveau de la nutrition et de la santé grâce aux services sanitaires mis en place, à l'approvisionnement en médicaments et à l'amélioration de la production vivrière.

Enfin, le projet devait permettre de trouver une formule pour générer l'autodéveloppement villageois "sans faire appel à une infrastructure organisationnelle qui tire sur les ressources de l'économie nationale" conformément à la politique de responsabilisation des associations paysannes et des collectivités locales. En ce sens le PFDVS apparaissait comme une opération pilote dans le cadre de la politique de décentralisation et de désengagement de l'Etat.

Évaluation

Evolution du contexte en cours d'exécution

Les aléas climatiques: le démarrage du projet fait suite à une sécheresse exceptionnelle (1984) qui a forcé de nombreux paysans à vendre leurs animaux. Par contre de 1985 à 1989, à l'exception de l'hivernage 1987, les conditions agro-climatiques ont été bonnes.

La restructuration du marché céréalier. L'Office des Produits Agricoles du Mali (OPAM) continue jusqu'en 1987 à acheter du mil à un prix officiel garanti. En 1988, le marché céréalier est totalement libéralisé; l'OPAM ne fixe plus son prix d'achat mais s'approvisionne par appel d'offres aux grossistes privés.

La BNDA: en 1986, le bureau de Ségou, jusqu'alors financé à 520 par le projet, se transforme en agence et diversifie ses activités.

L'élaboration de la politique de décentralisation en 1987: la politique de libéralisation économique et de décentralisation ouvre de nouvelles perspectives de développement économique et social en milieu rural et renforce le caractère d'expérience pilote du PFDVS.

 Réalisations du projet

La mise en place d'un ensemble de services d'appui (vulgarisation, formation, suivi) dans cinq secteurs d'intervention couvrant la totalité du Cercle de Ségou.

La sélection de 160 villages en cinq ans, comptant prés de 5.800 UPA et 71 000 habitants, et leur organisation en AV multifonctionnelles gérées par des Comités de développement villageois (CDV) fortement appuyés et encadrés par le personnel du projet. La constitution de 160 Fonds de Développement Villageois (FDV) dont les montants moyens varient entre 2,5 millions FCFA/village pour les G1 (constitution en 85) et 0,06 million pour les G5 (constitution en 89). Les FDV initiaux sont constitués de l'apport des AV nécéssaire à l'obtention des crédits d'équipement (10% des crédits bancaires demandés) et de la contrepartie équivalente du projet. Ces fonds sont déposés dans les comptes des AV à l'agence BNDA de Ségou, dont ils constituent actuellement 80% des dépots. Les FDV, qui sont progressivement alimentés par les intérêts sur dépots et les bénéfices réalisés par les AV, n'ont pas encore donné lieu à des opérations de crédit directe aux membres des AV, mais ont été partiellement investis dans des infrastructures communautaires et des fonds de commerce de boutiques villageoises.

La mise en place d'un service de crédit agricole basé sur:

  • une agence de la BNDA gérant les crédits d'équipement à moyen terme ainsi que les crédits de commercialisation céréalière et d'embouche bovine. Le crédit d'équipement a connu un grand succés auprés des villageois et a constitué, dans tous les villages, la première opération du projet. Il a permis l'acquisition par les membres des AV de 5 000 boeufs de trait, 1 400 multiculteurs, charrues et houes, 500 semoirs et 300 charettes.
  • l'Unité de gestion du projet fournissant des crédits à court terme pour les intrants agricoles ainsi que diverses opérations mineures (nivaquinisation, action aviculture, etc.).

La constitution d'AV et l'installation de l'agence BNDA ont permis aux villageois d'accéder au crédit du Programme de restructuration du marché céréalier (PRMC) pour la commercialisation primaire et le stockage des mil et sorgho. Selon les années et les villages, les stocks achetés par les CDV à la récolte, à un prix supérieur à celui du marché, ont été revendus à l'OPAM ou sur le marché local en bénéficiant des hausses saisonnières de prix. Au cours des deux dernières campagnes, les villages du projet ont formé des groupements de commercialisation pour soumissionner aux appels d'offres lancés par l'OPAM et ont pu écouler ainsi 2.000 tonnes en 1989 et 2 800 tonnes en 1990.

Dans le domaine de l'élevage, le projet a mené régulièrement des campagnes de vaccination et de traitement des bovins et petits ruminants. Depuis 1988, une action d'appui à l'embouche bovine s'est développée dans certains villages. Le projet a également mené une action en faveur de l'aviculture (diffusion de coqs de race) et, plus récemment, de l'élevage ovin.

Dans les villages, les actions de formation se sont concentrés sur les responsables et animateurs techniques (alphabétisation, santé, agriculture, élevage). 460 animateurs d'alphabétisation ont été formés et 156 centres d'alphabétisation ont été construits par les villageois. La très grande majorité sont en fonctionnement. Fin 1989, un total de 1.622 personnes avaient été alphabétisées, soit en moyenne plus de 10 personnes par village. En 1990, 2.400 femmes et enfants ont participé régulièrement aux cours d'alphabétisation.

Dans le domaine de la santé, le projet a formé environ 200 hygiénistes-secouristes et 125 accoucheuses traditionnelles. Un certain nombre d'actions sanitaires sont régulièrement menées (nivaquinisation, javélisation des puits, salubrité), mais le fonctionnement des pharmacies villageoises semble défectueux (45% des pharmacies fonctionnelles en juin 1990). Par ailleurs, le projet a suscité la création de boutiques villageoises et de banques céréalières dans de nombreux villages. Le fonctionnement actuel de ces services est très inégal et en régression.

Le projet a enfin mené certaines actions de moindre importance dans le domaine de l'environnement (diffusion réussie de foyers améliorés, plantation d'arbres dans les villages) et de la formation des artisans forgerons.

On constate l'absence de mesures spécifiques en faveur des activités productives et domestiques des femmes (à l'exception d'une récente expérience dans le domaine de l'élevage ovin). Le volet recherche appliquée initialement prévu n'a pas été mis en oeuvre. En juillet 1990, aucun forage n'avait été réalisé, et seulement 40 km de pistes rurales avaient été (mal) réhabilitées. Aucune infrastructure sanitaire n'a été construite.

Appréciation des effets du projet et de leur perennité

Bénéficiaires: Les 160 villages participant au projet comptent 5.779 UPA et 71.000 habitants. Si on considère l'ensemble de cette population comme bénéficiaire, l'objectif initial est dépassé. Cependant les bénéfices effectifs aux niveau des ménages sont trés inégaux. Les adhérents de quatrième et cinquième génération (88 et 89) ont obtenus beaucoup moins de crédits d'équipement que les précédents.

Grace au meilleur équipement des exploitations, on estime qu'une hausse de production céréalière moyenne d'environ 9.000 t a été obtenue, principalement par extension des surfaces et non par augmentation des rendements comme c'était prévu. Les superficies cultivées en céréales auraient augmenté d'environ 40% dans l'ensemble des 160 villages. Les villages encadrés par le projet sont aujourd'hui très largement excédentaires en céréales en année moyenne (environ 450 kg de mil-sorgho par personne), à l'exception toutefois des villages du nord du Cercle où la pluviométrie est inférieure à 500 mm. Le projet a également permis, notamment par un restockage semencier, de relancer la production arachidière qui avait régressé depuis la fin de l'OACV et la sécheresse de 1984. Elle serait actuellement de l'ordre de 2 500 tonnes sur les 160 villages, soit le double de la situation ante. Le projet a suscité une certaine diversification vers des cultures secondaires et a débuté une action en faveur du maraîchage.

Le "système de développement rural" dans le Cercle de Ségou a été incontestablement renforcé et dynamisé. Une ébauche de structuration du milieu paysan a émergé, qui pourra renforcer la représentation et le pouvoir de négociation des villageois au sein des instances de décision décentralisées (communes, cercles) et sur les marchés agricoles. L'expérience de commercialisation collective en 1989 et 1990 représente un acquis important pour une meilleure insertion des producteurs dans un marché libéralisé. Cette intervention solidaire des producteurs sur des marchés où ils affrontent la concurrence des commerçant est inédite au Mali, et d'autant plus remarquable qu'elle a permis en 1990 d'imposer les prix réclamés par les producteurs contre des intérêts jusque là tout puissants. Il s'agit là d'un des résultats les plus positifs et encourageants du PFDVS.

Le projet a eu un effet positif sur l'état sanitaire des animaux d'élevage (vaccinations, traitement). Localement, l'appui à l'embouche bovine a permis de développer une activité lucrative lorsque son calendrier est bien respecté, mais dont la diffusion doit être contrôlée afin d'éviter des risques de surproduction.

Effets sur les revenus des bénéficiaires: les revenus des ménages membres des AV ont bénéficié des hausses de production et des meilleures conditions de commercialisation des surplus céréaliers (prix garantis à la récolte supérieurs aux prix du marché, plus éventuelles restitutions des bénéfices réalisés en fin de saison sèche). On peut cependant estimer que les revenus monétaires supplémentaires dégagés sont actuellement insuffisants pour faire face aux remboursement des crédits d'équipement, en particulier pour les villages de première et deuxième génération qui s'étaient trés lourdement endetté. La fin de ces remboursements (en principe dès l'année prochaine pour les G1) laissera apparaître une augmentation significative des niveaux de vie qu'il n'est pas encore possible de quantifier.

Effets sur les revenus et les conditions de vie des femmes: les femmes, qui jouent un rôle important dans la production et assument une grande part des dépenses monétaires des ménages, n'ont pas spécifiquement bénéficié du projet sur le plan économique. Au niveau de la qualité de la vie et des conditions sanitaires, le projet a eu certainement un effet positif: campagnes de nivaquinisation et de javélisation de puits, accès aux soins primaires et aux médicaments aux villages, réduction des besoins de déplacement pour l'approvisionnement en biens de première nécessité, etc.

Effets sur l'environnement et sur la base de ressource: L'augmentation des surfaces qui a permis la hausse de production agricole réduit d'autant les superficies et les durées de jachères et ainsi, affecte négativement la reproduction de la fertilité des sols. Ceci est particulièrement vrai dans les zones fortement peuplées où la régression des jachères étaient déjà importante.

Appréciation de la durabilité du projet: Il est encore trop tôt pour se prononcer sur la durabilité des effets du projet. Sur le plan de l'auto-promotion des AV, l'encadrement encore trés étroit ne permet pas de juger des capacités d'autogestion. Le système de crédit mis en place souffre déjà d'impayés importants et aucune dynamique d'épargne individuelle n'est encore apparu. Sur le plan agronomique et écologique, les conditions de reproduction de la fertilité des sols, des ressources fourragères et ligneuses n'ont pas été prises en compte dans une démarche de vulgarisation agricole qui reste strictement productiviste. L'évolution des superficies cultivées au détriment des jachères et parcours, et sans véritable processus d'intensification, est inquiétante pour l'avenir.

Principaux problèmes rencontrés et recommandations

Des organisations paysannes peu autonommes. Par excès d'encadrement et de contrôle, à quelques exceptions près, le projet n'a pas suscité le développement de l'initiative autonomme des villageois. La prise en charge par les CDV et les volontaires villageois s'est limité à des taches d'exécution. On ne constate pas sauf dans le domaine de la commercialisation d'innovations organisationnelles de la part des bénéficiaires. Les acteurs locaux du développement manquent encore de formation et de capacité de se comporter en partenaires des paysans et non en encadreurs. La perspective d'autogestion et d'autofinancement du développement local reste encore lointaine. Des volontaires jeunes assurant un certains nombres de services du projet sont démotivés par l'absence de rémunération et l'exode saisonnier de certains d'entre eux désorganise les activités du projet. Du fait de l'encadrement excessif du projet, les fonds villageois ont suscité peu d'intérêt de la part des agriculteurs. En plus de la confusion existant sur leur montant réel, les villageois doutent parfois de leur droit de propriété sur ces capitaux.

Un système de crédit qui s'essouffle. Les remboursements de crédit ont été bons en 1985 et 1986 mais ont été gravement perturbés par la mauvaise récolte de 1987. Après une légère remontée en 1988/89, les remboursements sont descendus très bas en 1989/90. Il se situent en juin 1990 à 35% pour l'échéance de remboursement des crédits moyen terme et à 46% pour les court terme. Outre les mauvaises récoltes de 1987, les causes des difficultés de remboursement sont:

  • un surendettement des UPA de 1ère et 2ème génération, principalement dû aux achats disproportionnés de boeufs de trait;
  • des difficultés de commercialisation en gros des arachides et niébé;
  • une mauvaise volonté de la part de certaines UPA à l'approche de la fin du projet (dans l'espoir d'un effacement de leurs dettes);
  • une inadaptation du système de crédit au caractère aléatoire des revenus monétaires annuels.

La difficulté de remboursement des crédits moyen terme a aussi conduit à l'essoufflement de l'utilisation d'intrants agricoles, du fait de la suspension des crédits de campagne aux AV ayanr des impayés.

L'augmentation des surfaces qui a permis la hausse de production agricole réduit d'autant les superficies et les durées de jachères et, à terme, affectera négativement la reproduction de la fertilité des sols en l'absence d'une augmentation de la fertilisation organique et minérale. Les conditions d'un processus d'intensification agricole durable et compatible avec les autres usages des terroires (paturage, bois de feu, etc) n'ont pas encore été réunies.

La première recommandation est d'engager rapidement et résolument le transfert progressif aux villageois des responsabilités jusqu'ici presqu'entièrement assummées par le projet. L'entière responsabilité de l'usage et de la gestion des FDV devrait être restituée aux CDV.

Il faut davantage sécuriser les revenus monétaires des UPA sans lesquels elles ont parfois de grandes difficultés à faire face à leur échéance de remboursement de crédit de campagne ou d'équipement. Les conditions de crédit à moyen terme doivent également être adaptées au contexte agro-économique aléatoire. Le personnel du projet devrait être totalement déchargé des fonctions de supervision des crédits et remboursements. La BNDA devrait prendre entièrement en charge tous les services financiers et se rémunérer normalement sur ces services.

Le développement de l'agriculture et de l'élevage doit être conçu en tenant compte des conditions de reproduction de la fertilité des sols, des ressources fourragères et ligneuses. Ceci doit être un des thèmes principaux de la vulgarisation-animation agricole à mettre en place.

Plus généralement, l'objectif ne doit plus être d'augmenter de façon systématique la production (plus de matériel, plus de force de traction, etc.) mais de mieux la maîtriser dans les différentes situations climatiques et écologiques saisonnières, de réduire son caractère aléatoire en offrant aux producteurs le maximum de capacité d'adaptation aux situations changeantes, et enfin de garantir sa soutenabilité à long terme. Cette action doit être menée de façon différenciée selon les spécificités agro-écologiques et sociales de chaque terroir. Elle est indissociable d'une action de recherche-développement basée sur un réseau de communication et feedback entre paysans, vulgarisateurs et chercheurs.

La formation doit être accentuée et apporter aux vulgarisateurs une réelle capacité d'observation, d'analyse et d'animation d'une reflexion agronomique et agro-écologique au niveau de chaque communauté villageoise. La mission propose la construction de petits centres de formation multifonctionnels dans chaque chef lieu d'arrondissement.

Au cours de la phase II, l'accent doit être mis sur la viabilité et l'autofinancement du système de développement local mis en place. Aussi, il ne parait pas souhaitable d'étendre l'encadrement du projet à tous les villages du cercle de Ségou. En ce qui concerne les équipements agricoles, on doit chercher à mettres en place un système autonome et durable de financement, production, approvisionnement et maintenance du matériel maîtrisable par les acteurs locaux: agriculteurs, CDV, forgerons de village et BNDA.

De même, la problématique du développement local ne se pose pas uniquement au niveau villageois mais aussi au niveau des bourgs, gros marchés ou chef lieux d'arrondissements où devraient être mis en place dès que possible des services:

  • financiers (bureaux périodiques décentralisés de la BNDA)
  • d'approvisionnement (centrales d'achat intervillageoises pour les intrants agricoles, les produits pharmaceutiques, etc.)
  • de commercialisation (coopératives de commercialisation autogérées)
  • de formation (centres de formation et d'animation à l'autopromotion rurale)

La fonction de "pôle de services" des grands marchés ruraux devrait être ainsi renforcée.

Leçons à tirer de l'expérience

Une leçon de portée générale que l'on peut tirer de l'expérience du PFDVS est qu'un objectif de "responsabilisation" du groupe cible (ce qui va plus loins que sa "participation") nécessite une grande flexibilité dans l'allocation des fonds du projet, et en particulier des c_édits. L'excessive précision des objectifs intermédiaires et de la planification de la mise en oeuvre du projet, suscite des comportements d'encadrement volontariste incompatibles avec la responsabilisation des acteurs cibles et l'autogestion de leur développement. Ce type de projet devrait être conçu comme un programme flexible de services d'appui, d'accompagnement et de conseil, laissant le maximum d'initiatives aux bénéficiaires. Parallèlement, il doit concentrer ses efforts sur le développement des ressources humaines (alphabétisation fonctionnelle, formation à la gestion, etc.).

En région soudano-sahélienne d'agriculture vivrière exposée à des risques agro-climatiques importants, l'usage spontané de la traction animale et de la culture attelée va dans le sens de l'extension des surfaces et non de l'amélioration des techniques culturales et des rendements. Cette tendance est dangereuse à moyen-long terme. En réduisant les jachères et la régénération naturelle des arbres en plein champ, elle menace l'équilibre agro-écologique et la fertilité des sols. Les crédits d'équipement devraient être accompagnés systématiquement de mesures de gestion de la fertilité et d'aménagement des terroirs agricoles.

Le PFDVS a démontré que la libéralisation des marchés de produits vivriers et l'abandon des politiques de prix garantis ne sont pas fatalement défavorables aux producteurs. Grâce à des crédits de commercialisation, l'achat-stockage au niveau des groupements villageois peut être un puissant instrument de contrôle du marché au bénéfice des paysans à condition qu'un nombre suffisant de communautés villageoises adoptent des comportements solidaires. Le PFDVS démontre également que la recherche de marchés rémunérateurs et l'organisation pratique de la commercialisation devraient être un préalable au développement de nouvelles cultures, en particulier lorsque ce développement se base sur l'usage de crédits d'équipement et d'intrants.

La prise en charge des services au développement par des AV est difficilement compatible avec un ciblage de bénéficiaires particuliers à l'intérieur de ces communautés (les femmes ou les jeunes en particulier). Par ailleurs, cette prise en charge peut se heurter rapidement aux limites du volontariat bénévole des responsables et animateurs villageois, en particulier des jeunes qui privilégient la recherche de revenus monétaires par l'exode saisonnier.

 

 

LANGUAGES: English, French

Smallholder Rice Seed Development Project (1989)

Liberia  
April 1989

Completion evaluation

Liberia lies almost entirely within the tropical rain forest zone. The average population density is about 20 hab/km2. The annual rainfall ranges from 1600 mm inland to 4600 mm on the coast. Much of the vegetation is secondary forest because of the shifting cultivation system of farming in the uplands areas. The annual crop fallow cycles still permit regeneration of the forest in most areas (between 5 and 15 years of fallow). Rice is the main staple crop with about 86% of the farmers growing it. Cassava is often intermixed with rice in upland areas. Coffee, cocoa and sugarcane are important cash crops. Social and cultural values are linked to cash (cash requirement for rites such as deaths, marriage, sacrifices,...). It explains that economic farming activities are directed towards those lucrative crops. Self suficiency in rice production has, for several years, been a major policy goal of the Liberian Governement.

Project objectives and design

Target group

The target group is constituited by 91.400 households of smallholder rice farmers (58% of the total of such households)

Project objectives and components

The principal objective of the projcet was to institute a national rice seed improvement programme, and, through the provision of improved seed varieties, to increase the rice production efficiency of smallholder farmers.

The principal components of the project were:

  • the Rice Seed Production Unit (RSPU) that would be provided with the necessary facilities and equipment to multiply, dry, process, store and distribute improved rice seed;
  • credit in both kind and cash to contract seed outgrowers;
  • training and equipping of specifically assigned Ministry of Agriculture staff to carry out the project's extension activities;
  • local and overseas training for the project's local staff;
  • the establishment of a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Unit for p_oject activities;
  • the provision of consultant services to assist in the implementation, development and monitoring and evaluation of the project.

Two channels were to be used for seed distribution: the Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) where these existed; and extension staff of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) assigned to the project, where ADPs did not operate.

Expected effects and assumptions

At full development (following year 7), the project was expected to reach 91.400 farmers, and the total area under the new varieties was expected to level off at 83.900 ha, from project year nine onwards. The use of the improved varieties was expected to result in an incremental rice production of 343 tons in year 3 of the project, rising to 4.000 tons in year 5, and levelling off at 16.800 tons from year 10 onwards. For participating farmers, farm income was expected to increase from 238 to 316 USD/yr in the case of upland farmers and from 102 to 165 USD/yr in the case of swamp farmers.

The project design rested on a number of key assumptions. These were: (a) that the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) would provide breeder seed of high quality, and in the requisite quantity, and that the project would stimulate further rice breeding and testing activities at CARI; (b) that CARI was committed to a programme of continually seeking better upland and swamp rice varieties; and (c) that the staff of the MOA assigned to the project would not only be instrumental in promoting the use of project seed, but that they would also ensure an equitable exchange of paddy for seed, and would further help farmers improve their level of agricultural husbandry.

Evaluation

The evaluation reviewed the overall farming system to study the effects of improved rice seed within these systems. The baseline survey proved to be of little use; data was collected using the rural rapid rural appraisal technique and additional data was assembled during the course of further meetings and discussions with associated ministries and organizations.

Implementation context

In 1986, the gouvernement launched the green revolution programme as a means of reinstating and restoring the vital role of agriculture as the motive force for economic development and sustained growth. The objectives range from the atainment of national self-sufficiency to making farming a profitable and attractive proposition especially to the nation's youth.

Project achievments

The Rice Seed Production Unit was established. The different activities were:

  • seed multiplication (LAC-23 and swamp variety) in 3 farms under the direct control of the project or with outgrower agreement. The project also has relied on contract outgrowers (groups of experienced smallholders) who were provided on credit with all necessary inputs.
  • seed production: purchases from outgrowers rose from 163 t in 1983 to 765 t in 1987 and 111 t in 1988. Most of the production concerns upland seed (711 t of upland seed and 53 t of swamp seed producted in 1987)
  • seed processing: the project established a modern seed processing plant at Suakoko with drying, cleaning and storage facilities. Seed is certified.
  • quality control: seed crops are inspected by menbers of the seed quality division at all stages during the growing season to ensure purity and freedom from pests and diseases.
  • distribution and sales of seed: distribution by Agricultural Development Projects, by seed exchange system (1 bag of seed for 2 bags of paddy), by use of seed retailers. The project distributed about 1.569 tons of upland and swamp seed.

The extension support component relied on the exchange system, the construction of 10 rice seed stores, the distribution of seeds through the various conty crop extension services.

The training proposals outlined in project design were fulfilled satisfactorily.

The project was unsuccessful in establishing an effective M&E Unit. This unit was only able to complete the baseline survey 45 months after the start of the project, and only then with a major input from the Central Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of MOA. In addition to this survey, the unit produced only a few minor studies, which, because of untimeliness of presentation, were of little use to project management.

Effects assessment and sustainability

Beneficiaries: the farmers who obtained SRSP seed were indeed smallholders (about 16.670 farm families) but there were also indications that, in general, the poorest farmers were not being reached. One of the main reasons for this is the inability of the poorer farmers to pay cash for seed and the unavailability of credit. Another has been the failure of the distribution system in reaching these farmers. The ADPs tended to concentrate on the larger farmers, as did most of the crop extension workers operating in non-ADP areas.

The effects of seed on yields, production and household income are difficult to evaluate because of the failure of the M&E unit. We can assume that we have a 200 kg/ha higher yield of LAC-23 and a yield advantage of 1.000 kg for swamp rice.

Effects on beneficiaries incomes: the effect of the introduction of LAC-23 on household income is slight, being in the order of 5.3%. This rise to 11% in the case of swamp rice but the effect is reduce because relatively small areas of swamp are cultivated.

Effects on nutrition and food security:

Specific effects on women:

Effects on the environment:

Effects on local/national economic development trends: an analysis of the operating costs shows that the economic cost of seed production could never be covered and that seed production was heavily subsidized. This implies that the Liberian economy must suffer economic losses according to every kilogram of seed produced by the project.

Sustainability: Compared to the returns from alternative crops, increased production of LAC-23 is not justified. Swamp rice shows greater returns but increased production is constrained by the farmers' reluctance to work in the swamps. Therefore, the outlook for radically increased production of rice is not promising.

Despite its various problems, the project has demonstrated an ability to produce adequate quantities of good quality seed rice and the RSPU now constitute the nucleus of a future seed industry. However, it would probably take another five years of development for the unit to even approach a state of self-sustainability. In view of Liberia's financial constraints, there is little likelihood of Government of Liberia (GOL) being able to sustain the present level of RSPU operations. Apart from present constraints on operating costs, the unit will face increasing logistical and operational problems as vehicles and plant age and breakdown. This will lead first to stagnation then to a fairly rapid decline in seed production.

Main issues and recommandations

Some variance with the SAR assumptions

The general assumption that every farmer grows rice, and that rice is the predominant crop in Liberia is incorrect. Because of unattractive produce prices, farmers only grow rice for subsistence purposes but will switch out of rice production into other crops such as sugarcane, cassava and treecrops to raise cash for household and other family needs, including the many obligatory ceremonies associated with deaths, marriages, initiation and circumcision. This situation can continue for one or two years during which time rice is purchased. Rice is, therefore, only one, and not always the most important crop in the farming system. The discontinuity of rice cultivation is at variance with the staff appraisal report (SAR) assumption that farmers would use seed for three successive generations. Indeed, some farmers purchase SRSP seed every year.

Problems in implementation

Development was adversely affected by factors outside the project management's direct control. There were shortcomings in the genetic material provided by CARI, both in terms of purity and adherence to type, and, in the case of upland varieties, their superiority over traditional varieties. For over 25 years, improved upland rice production has been based on two varieties, LAC-23 Red and LAC-23 White (genetically similar varieties), which have only a marginal yield advantage over traditional upland varieties. CARI also failed to supply the project with the requisite amounts of seed, supplying on average less than 50% of the amounts requested in any year.

The project suffered a serious setback in 1987/88 because of inadequate GOL funding which resulted in a damaging loss of outgrowers' confidence through the project's inability to make timely payment for the 1987 certified seed.

The proposed exchange system was not effective. It involved a system of free credit, a post-harvest payment for seed was made on the basis of a 1:1 exchange ratio (paddy for seed), later raised to 2:1 to defray some of the high costs involved in delivery and collection of seed and paddy. It was also subject to extensive abuse, as farmers often mixed considerable amounts of inert matter with the returned paddy, or failed to return any operation, the project stopped the exchange system in 1988 and the seconded extension workers reverted to normal field duties.

Unsatisfactory utilisation of the M&E Unit

From the very beginning, little confidence was displayed by project management in the M&E Unit. The baseline survey proved to be too demanding a task for the inexperienced unit resulting in serious delay in the implementation of the survey. The work of the Unit never became a tool of project management. Projcet management received most of its information directly from the divisional officers. There was a genuine lack of understanding within the project on the fonction and role of the M&E system.

In view of the project's overall success to date; its efforts to overcome defects and shortcomings; and the vital need for a viable seed industry in Liberia, there appears to be justification for continued support by IFAD to assist the project, under a modified approach, to develop the present unit into a near self-sustaining and effective organization. Such support would be condition upon several vital assurances from GOL and a restructuring of the present organization, namely:

(a) GOL should ensure that the National Seed Committee is fully activated to fulfill the role originally expected of it;

(b) GOL should ensure that the Research Technical Committee is reactivated to provide adequate guidance for the research programmes;

(c) CARI should be strengthened as necessary to permit reliable field trials of promising upland rice varieties to be held under farm conditions;

(d) WARDA should take positive action to introduce additional new upland varieties from other rice growing countries and should arrange for field testing of these by CARI;

(e) Seed should only be sold for cash unless seasonal credit can be arranged through sources other than the RSPU;

(f) Distribution of seed should be privatized as quickly as possible and should have provision for reaching the poorer farmers;

(g) A new project seed farm of about 350 hectares should be established to centralize multiplication of rice foundation seed and seed of other crops where demand exists;

(h) The M&E Unit should be restructured to serve as an effective tool of management;

(i) Self-sustainability of the RSPU should be the long-term objective, and the operations and structure of the unit would need to be critically reviewed to determine how best production costs could be cut without jeopardizing quality.

It is hoped that GOL's ongoing review of Liberia's food situation will result in a more attractive price structure for rice, leading in turn to increased demand for improved rice seed. Indeed, consideration could be given to withholding further support until the time that the price structure becomes more conductive to increased rice production.

Lessons learned

Experience in many developing country has shown that even major extension support project can fail to bring about substantial improvment in performance in chronic situation.

In view of the importance of an effective M&E Unit to any project, it is advisable to ensure that the initial calibre of staffing is high, even to the extent of employing long-term international technical assistance. The use of short term consultants is an expensive and largely futile means of propping up an inadequately qualified and experienced unit. Beneficiary contact monitoring should be recommanded above monitoring of project effects.

The normal procurement organizations and systems are in most countries bureaucratic and time-consuming. The benefits of direct procurements are immense in terms of staff time, early delivery, savings in cost, and, not least, in the avoidance of frustration and its associated impairment of relationships with implementing ministries.

 

LANGUAGES: English