Smallholder Plantations Entrepreneurship Development Programme
Project performance evaluation
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) has prepared a performance evaluation report on the "Smallholder Plantations Entrepreneurship Development Programme (SPEnDP)" in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The programme, implemented between 2007 and 2016, was designed to improve the livelihoods of smallholder tea and rubber growers by establishing or upgrading plantations and supporting other income-generating activities, community infrastructure and other needs.
The core programme investments in tea and rubber production, coupled with intercropping, were successful in improving the incomes and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in a sustainable manner. The programme supported 250 ha of tea replanting in mid-country and rubber planting in 5,087 ha of land in Monaragala. These plantations, once established, can provide steady cash flows over years. Rubber planting was in areas that were utilized or under-utilized and had a generally positive environmental impact.
The report however, reveals that while the focus on production was appropriate, more attention could have been paid to post-harvest improvements, as well as environmental issues, especially for tea plantations. In this respect, greater care should be taken to avoid subsidizing tea (re)planting on unsuitable lands.
There is also little evidence of the impact on social capital and empowerment. The evaluation therefore recommends that IFAD and the government should engage and strengthen existing community-based organizations rather than create new ones.
Community-based Forestry Development Project in Southern States (Campeche, Chiapas and Oaxaca)
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) has conducted a performance evaluation on the "Community-based Forestry Development Project in Southern States (Campeche, Chiapas and Oaxaca) ” (DECOFOS) in Mexico. The project, implemented between 2009 and 2016, showed that forests and natural resources in general have an important productive potential and can be managed sustainably. The available data suggest that the project contributed to forest preservation in the implementation areas. Overall, the project made a contribution to poverty alleviation among vulnerable and marginalized groups in rural areas.
The evaluation also reveals that the impact and sustainability prospects would have been greater if the project had formulated an exit strategy to consolidate the undertakings. This strategy could have focused on improving the managerial capacity of grassroots organizations, their access to working capital and connection to markets and value chains.
The executive summary is also available in English.
IFAD’s support to livelihoods involving aquatic resources from small-scale fisheries, small-scale aquaculture and coastal zones
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) has prepared an evaluation synthesis report on IFAD’s support to livelihoods involving aquatic resources from small-scale fisheries, small-scale aquaculture and coastal zones. The report provides a review of the evaluations of all aquatic-resources-relevant projects supported by IFAD from 2009 to 2018. In addition, it provides an analysis of the evolution of the portfolio since 1979, when the first project that addressed aquaculture was approved.
IFAD achieved notable success in some countries where it engaged in aquaculture or fisheries over several years. In the aquaculture subsector in Bangladesh, it supported a number of projects introducing innovative approaches to aquatic resources management. In the marine fisheries subsector in Mozambique, IFAD’s interventions tended to be more effective partly because the focus was exclusively on fishing communities.
In-house expertise also increased the capacity of the Fund to collaborate effectively and build partnerships with organizations that have greater technical resources in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
The report emphasizes the need for IFAD to enhance the quality of its interventions in these subsectors through more technical depth, improved analysis of countries' socio-economic context and better integration of environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation measures.
Kenya: Smallholder Horticulture Marketing Programme
The Smallholder Horticulture Marketing Programme mainly targeted smallholder horticultural farmers that produce for the domestic market, input suppliers (stockists), produce traders, transporters, and processors. It reached about 21,311 direct households in 14 districts, and 36 per cent of beneficiaries were women.
The evaluation was conducted using a quasi-experimental approach, which combines econometric and qualitative techniques to estimate the impact of the project. A total of 1500 households of beneficiary and comparison groups were interviewed for the evaluation. Two measures of food security were employed to assess the impact on food security of beneficiaries – the Household Food Insecurity Assessment Score and the Household Dietary Diversity Score.
The project showed positive results on horticultural producers’ incomes and their food security. This was primarily realized through the production node of value chains, which employed a district-based approach. Training was provided to commercial village groups, however there was a greater impact on agronomic practices than on marketing knowledge.
The report found that the lack of trust among group members was the most common denominator in explaining the less-than-desired outcomes in commercial villages. Issues of lack of accountability and poor governance also acted as barriers to successful collaboration in groups dedicated to commercialization. Additionally, the effects of the devolution from central to county governments were most visible in relation to the market infrastructure aspect. Several market structures, built using the programme funds, in fact, were not functioning.
The evaluation recommends adopting an integrated approach and a proper sequencing of activities in value chain-related interventions.
Northern Region Sustainable Livelihoods through Livestock Development Project
ADB and IFAD Joint Project Performance Evaluation
This is the first joint project performance evaluation conducted by the independent offices of evaluation of ADB and IFAD.
The Independent Evaluation Department (IED) of ADB and the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) of IFAD confirm the benefits of joint evaluations in terms of knowledge sharing, mutual learning, and costs reduction for the government. IOE and IED together enhanced these benefits by transforming this joint project evaluation into an evaluation capacity building exercise that involved key stakeholders at different levels, including staff from IED and IOE, Government staff, and staff of other ADB and IFAD projects implemented in Lao People’s Democratic Republic and in Asia.
The Northern Region Sustainable Livelihoods through the Livestock Development Project in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was instrumental in highlighting the potential of investments in livestock as a pathway to the sustainable development of the remote northern regions of the country, underlining Lao PDR’s comparative advantage in the sector. However, deeper impact on the ground was constrained by the limited effectiveness of the targeting strategy, which did not allow the project to reach the poorest households, the flaws in the design of the microfinance and market components, dismantling of livestock production groups and sporadic training activities.
The evaluation recommends a more tailored targeting approach to support commercialization and the sustainable development of the livestock sector and that IOE and IED continue to conduct joint evaluation whenever possible.
Georgia Country strategy and programme evaluation
This is the first country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in Georgia by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. It provides a comprehensive assessment of the partnership between IFAD and the Georgian Government from 2004 to 2016.
The evaluation found that the portfolio was relevant and overall well-aligned with Government priorities, which had seen some marked changes over the period. Infrastructure absorbed the largest share of IFAD's investments. These investments could have been more effective if part of a wider strategy to enhance sustainable livelihoods.
IFAD has supported important innovations and has built institutional capacities within the agricultural sector, for microfinance, land registration and food safety. Project performance was, however, often disappointing because of weak project designs with unrealistic objectives and implementation approaches, and poorly linked project components. IFAD did not address issues of inequality, including gender, in this rapidly transition economy.
The evaluation recommends that IFAD should enhance partnerships with other development partners, build on its experience with rural finance and rural institutions, and adopt an explicit strategy for targeting those at risk of poverty and social exclusion in the country.
2018 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD operations
The 2018 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD operations (ARRI) presents a synthesis of IFAD’s performance and highlights results and systemic issues from independent evaluations conducted in 2017. The quantitative analysis draws on ratings from 320 evaluations conducted since 2002.
The report confirms that overall the performance of IFAD operations has been positive. Seventy-six per cent of all evaluation ratings are moderately satisfactory or better in the period 2007-2016. Currently, 80 per cent or more projects assessed against the criteria of relevance, innovation, scaling up, rural poverty impact and IFAD performance as a partner are rated moderately satisfactory or better. It is worth mentioning that a benchmark analysis of IFAD’s operations revealed that the Fund’s performance is generally better than or equivalent to that of other multilateral organizations supporting agricultural development.
The 2018 ARRI highlights however that the portfolio performance trend is flat, with signs of deterioration. In the period 2014-2016, sustainability, efficiency, innovation, scaling up, gender equality and women’s empowerment, government performance and rural poverty impact all declined slightly. Sustainability of benefits and efficiency remain longstanding bottlenecks for project performance, with the lowest means in the entire period of 2007-2016.
Targeting the rural poor is the learning theme of the 2018 ARRI. Based on the findings, the ARRI recommends to revise the 2007 Targeting Policy and guidelines in order to establish greater clarity on who IFAD interventions should target. This is especially important given the emphasis on reaching the "poorest people in the poorest countries" in the IFAD11 Consultation report and the 2030 Agenda commitment of "leaving no one behind".
IFAD’s financial architecture
The overarching purpose of the corporate-level evaluation on IFAD’s financial architecture is to independently assess how IFAD creates value for Member States through sound investment decisions and financial strategies contributing to rural poverty reduction. This is the first evaluation of its kind undertaken by a development finance institution and one of the most complex evaluation exercises conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE). It examines the policies and systems adopted to mobilize, manage, allocate and disburse financial resources to fulfil IFAD’s mandate.
The evaluation generated a number of important findings and recommendations that merit close attention. The main finding is that the Fund’s financial architecture has been under strain since the Ninth Replenishment period of IFAD’s financial resources. As it stands, it can no longer support an expanding programme of loans and grants. Moreover, the financial architecture does not pass the test of financial sustainability: accumulating losses lead to an erosion of IFAD's equity. Therefore, the evaluation recommends that important reforms be undertaken to address the factors affecting IFAD's financial sustainability, the mobilization of financial resources and the rationale by which these are allocated. It also recommends introducing new and revising current financial products to respond to the demands of borrowing Member States, as well as to internal and external financial governance. Accomplishing these reforms will be essential to ensure the Fund’s financial sustainability, enabling IFAD to fulfil its unique mandate of rural poverty reduction and make a substantial contribution towards meeting the goals set in the Agenda 2030.
The corporate-level evaluation was discussed at the 124th session of IFAD’s Executive Board on 12 September 2018. The Board noted that the findings and recommendations of the evaluation raised vital questions with regard to the future character and structure of the Fund.
Projet d'hydraulique pastorale en zone sahélienne
D'une manière générale, le projet a contribué à la diminution du niveau de vulnérabilité des populations cibles avec, par exemple, des actions de sécurisation de la transhumance pastorale associées à des mécanismes de gestion des ouvrages hydrauliques, de prévention des conflits et de sécurisation des déplacements des éleveurs. La pertinence du projet s’explique tout particulièrement par la grande valeur économique du secteur de l'élevage, qui représente la deuxième source de revenus du pays après le pétrole.
Au cours de sa mise en œuvre, le projet s'est toutefois heurté à plusieurs difficultés, notamment le retrait du cofinancement de l'Agence française de développement et de la Coopération suisse, ainsi que les retards importants dans la mise en œuvre, dus à la lourdeur des procédures de passation des marchés. En dépit de ces perturbations, le projet a démontré une capacité de récupération qui a permis d'atteindre la majorité de résultats prévus.
Le résumé exécutif est aussi disponible en anglais.
República del Perú - Evaluación de la Estrategia y el Programa en el País
Esta es la primera Evaluación de la Estrategia y el Programa en el País (EEPP) que la Oficina de Evaluación Independiente del FIDA realiza en el Perú. La evaluación abarca el período 2002-2016, e incluye seis proyectos, dos programas sobre oportunidades estratégicas nacionales (COSOP) y seis donaciones.
Los resultados de la asociación entre el FIDA y el Gobierno fueron globalmente positivos. La EEPP constató impactos significativos en la reducción de la pobreza en las áreas rurales gracias al incremento de activos. También se observó una mejoría en el empoderamiento de los usuarios y en la gestión de los recursos naturales en las comunidades. La atribución de un valor monetario a los activos culturales propició la creación de un mercado de saberes y conocimientos que dignificó la cultura campesina.
Cada proyecto tuvo sus particularidades y valor agregado, lo que contribuyó a una rica acumulación de experiencias, y estimuló la innovación y la ampliación de escala.
El rol especializado del FIDA y su aporte al combate de la pobreza y a la promoción del desarrollo rural seguirán siendo importantes para el Perú, dada la persistente desigualdad rural/urbana, y el papel protagónico de la agricultura familiar como motor de la producción y la alimentación de la población.
A pesar de los importantes resultados alcanzados, se observaron algunas debilidades en la cartera crediticia, en las actividades no crediticias y en el plano estratégico. En primer lugar, la ventaja comparativa del FIDA en cuanto a presencia en zonas rurales aisladas y su capacidad para llegar a los más pobres a través de la estrategia de focalización no fue totalmente aprovechada. El concepto de enfoque territorial, central en el Proyecto de Desarrollo del Corredor Puno-Cuzco, se fue perdiendo a lo largo del tiempo. Por otra parte, los proyectos no contemplaron de manera explícita la sostenibilidad ambiental y la resiliencia al cambio climático.
Finalmente, la asociación FIDA-Gobierno del Perú no prestó suficiente atención a la coordinación con otros socios estratégicos, a la orientación estratégica de los COSOP y a las actividades no crediticias.
Republic of Angola Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
IFAD began operations in Angola in 1989. In 2005, only three years after the end of almost 30 years of civil war, IFAD and the Government of the Republic of Angola signed a Country Strategic Opportunity Paper (COSOP), aimed to reduce the poverty and improve the food security of small-scale farmers. The COSOP moved operations from the Northern provinces to the central highlands, addressing more directly these issues.
IFAD was instrumental in focusing on poor small-scale farming households and upscaling the Farmers Field School as national agricultural extension methodology. Among the results, participating households managed to grow out of subsistence through increased productivity of maize, cassava, beans and potatoes. By enabling access to mechanization services, producers’ organisations and associations expanded their common fields, leading to an overall production increase by 30 to 50 percent. This allowed better availability of food, incomes from the sale of the surplus on local markets, and investments for the following cropping season.
The evaluation found, however, that the sustainability of results would be at risk without an enabling policy environment and incentives that support family farming as well as agricultural and rural development. Such an environment is necessary to turn agriculture into an attractive sector for youth, providing better opportunities for a dignified life. The evaluation also found that IFAD's projects in Angola did not take into due consideration capacity development needs because of the dearth of qualified human resources in the country.Among other recommendations, the evaluation suggested to improve efforts in supporting women in taking on leadership positions in producers’ organisations, as they play a major role in Angolan agriculture.
Rural Development Project in the Eastern Middle Atlas
The Rural Development Project in the Eastern Middle Atlas (PDRMO), implemented in Morocco between 2007 and 2015, was mainly oriented towards alleviating rural poverty by diversifying and increasing the incomes of rural people, with a sustainable management of natural resources. In this respect, PDRMO targeted 10 rural communes in Boulemane, one of the poorest region in the country, with the goal of reaching 10,000 households, or 75,000 beneficiaries.
Project achievements are significant with regards to physical infrastructures, with 112 km of roads being built or rehabilitated and 103 km of seguias realized, in addition to small-scale irrigation and water-supply infrastructures. In terms of impact, there is a proven gain in time-saving for transportation and irrigation. Moreover, PDRMO obtained encouraging results in strengthening grass-roots' organizations for the implementation of local development.
PDRMO results were however affected by significant implementation delays, due to the difficulty faced by the project in implementing a participatory approach for the preparation of the Douar Development Plans (DDPs), a new and time-consuming activity in the country. The grass-roots' organizations supported, with the exception of livestock breeders’ associations, remain fragile and not sufficiently inclusive. The project also failed to enhance access to financial services and the efforts undertaken to develop entrepreneurship, especially among women, remain limited.
The evaluation recommends that capacity building continue to be pursued for grass-roots' organizations to enable them to become inclusive actors in local development, as well as efforts to strengthen and protect natural resources using more innovative approaches adapted to the context.
Project to Support Development in the Menabe and Melaky Regions
According to UNDP’s Report on Human Development, in 2005, nearly 71.3 per cent of the population and 80.5 per cent of the rural population in Madagascar lived in poverty. With these data in mind, the following year, the Project to Support Development in the Menabe and Melaki Regions in the West of the country (AD2M) was designed. Its main objective was to improve rural people’s access to land and water resources, optimizing their agricultural production and boosting their incomes' sustainability to reduce the exodus towards urban centres.
AD2M targeted 19 rural communities in Menabe and Melaki with the goal of reaching 40 per cent of vulnerable rural households or 16,000 families. The project concluded in 2015, exceeded the original targets by 10,000 households (26,000). Crop production increased with the addition of a second rice-growing season and of a market garden season, water availability permitting.
Human and social capital formation was satisfactory thanks to water users’ associations and a simplified farmer field school model that reached thousands or men and women farmers, where 34 per cent of beneficiaries were women. While positive results were achieved, the sustainability of the benefits was moderately satisfactory and further institutional support to local governments and deconcentrated administration will be required.
The evaluation highlights the importance of designing projects that combine land tenure security and agricultural development to boost development. It also recommended to promote basic living conditions and sanitation programmes in villages, tackling one of the main causes of chronic malnutrition amongst children under five.
Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme
Implemented between 2005 and 2015, the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme in the Republic of Ghana aimed to build up competitive, market-based and inclusive commodity chains for roots and tubers to enhance food security and incomes of poor rural households in the country, with a special emphasis on women and other vulnerable groups.
The programme design was relevant to the country context and government priorities. The elements of an inclusive value chain development approach were in place, and the design and initial arrangements displayed a relatively solid intervention logic. Nevertheless, the implementation focus was largely biased towards production with insufficient attention to the processing and marketing aspects, leading to unfulfilled potential and oversupply of produce and local market saturation.
Overall, the main achievement of the programme was a change of farming practices. As a result, there were increases in crop productivity and food security which contributed modestly to household incomes. The objectives related to the value chain development, and processing and marketing skills upgrading, were, however, underachieved.
The evaluation underlines the need to invest early in specialized skills on market development and to pay closer attention to demand fluctuations for future market-oriented projects. Exploring alternative rural financing mechanisms and a variety of marketing approaches such as contract farming was also recommended.
Market Strengthening and Livelihood Diversification in the Southern Highlands Project
Project performance evaluation
The "Market Strengthening and Livelihood Diversification in the Southern Highlands Project" is part of a virtuous circle of creativity and innovation by IFAD in Peru. The project had a good geographical focus on the districts considered to have the greatest incidence of poverty and had a satisfactory impact on rural poverty reduction.
According to the impact analysis carried out by IOE, based on the official data of the Government, the project reduced the poverty of the rural families it reached by 12 per cent. This reduction was closely linked to the average increase in income, which was achieved to a large extent by diversification of production and its sources and by innovations in technology and production patterns – in particular with the support to economic productive undertakings through the business plans.
On the other hand, the evaluation reveals the factors that would have made an even greater impact on rural poverty possible. These include a more effective strategy of targeting the poorest and a longer period of private and public technical assistance to the businesses undertaken in order to ensure their sustainability, as well as linking them with financial services that would give them access to working and investment capital.
Kingdom of Cambodia Country strategy and programme evaluation
The evaluation reviewed the evolution of the country strategy and programme since the Fund started operations in 1996, but with a focus on the last decade. When IFAD started operations, the country was in a phase of reconstruction and rehabilitation following almost two decades of wars and destruction.
The evaluation finds that IFAD-funded projects have contributed to improved agricultural productivity of poor rural households. The portfolio also made contributions to the Government’s "decentralization and deconcentration" processes, as well as improvements in gender equality and rural women's empowerment.
In spite of these achievements, the portfolio remained static up until around 2010 amid the fast-evolving rural context. The projects largely replicated older project designs and approaches – group formation, agricultural training and extension services combined with group revolving-fund support – with limited critical reflection on experience and on innovations. In general, the portfolio did not fully appreciate the implications on rural households of increasing non-agricultural income opportunities and labour shortages.
The evaluation recommended, among other actions, tailored support to relatively advanced smallholder farmers as well as poorer households, fostering further partnerships with farmer and indigenous peoples’ organizations and stronger collaboration between IFAD and the Government to mobilize other partners to invest in smallholder agriculture.
Pro-Poor Partnerships for Agroforestry Development Project
The project was implemented in Bac Kan, an upland province in Northern Viet Nam, with a mostly indigenous population. The province, which has limited agricultural land, relatively undeveloped forestry resources and rugged mountainous terrain, has the highest incidence of poverty in the country.
The evaluation highlights that some of the project’s notable achievements were the participatory and accurate re-allocation of forestry land titles and its substantial contributions to ensure the sustainable management of sloped land, the improvement of forest cover and the reduction of the environmental vulnerability of communities. The easy to understand procedures of the Community Development Fund were appreciated, managed in a decentralized and participatory manner, and promoted funding for 241 small-scale infrastructure schemes (village roads, irrigation canals and some drinking water systems), small loans for women and capacity building through 459 farmer groups.
On the other hand, the project was also ambitious and initially difficult to implement. The various rounds of revisions to the design and logical framework, as well as the necessary focus on food security and technical development in its first phase, resulted in the delay (and modest scale) of market-based value chain development. Furthermore, the social-complexity of the target groups and the different needs between the poor and the near poor influenced the level of impact that could be reached. Despite the significant efforts, gender equality and women's empowerment remain a long-term challenge particularly with respect to the sharing of the workload and responsibilities.
Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Development Project
The Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Development Project had a well-rounded developmental focus to improve the living conditions of poor rural households by strengthening their human, social and financial assets. It achieved several of its stated objectives and outcomes. The trainings imparted and the grants provided to purchase farm equipment led to increases in productivity for some beneficiaries, and consequent increases in incomes between 10 to 50 per cent. There was a high degree of participatory involvement of beneficiaries and many felt empowered. Human capital through life skills training and social capital through small-scale social infrastructure were strengthened.
On the other hand, the attention of the project ended up more on the supply side and less on the market side. Creating marketing linkages was one of the aims of the project but this was not fully realized. New linkages were essentially created only for agro-processing groups that constituted 20 per cent of the total number of groups. Low uptake of loans by beneficiaries and small amounts, more than 50 per cent of the loans taken consisted of amounts of less than US$500, was a reflection of the general risk-averse nature of the farming community.
The evaluation calls for optimising the benefits of a value chain by prioritising the selection of a few value chains based on criteria such as the rate of return, the involvement of the poor in the production, processing and the market demand for the products. It also calls for linking financial credit and product-market credit together for sustainable value chains. Finally, the evaluation argues for making provision in project design for sufficient support to beneficiaries especially when introducing them to a new occupation.
Republic of Cameroon Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the first country programme evaluation of Cameroon conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) and it covers the partnership between the Government and IFAD from 2007 to 2017. During this time, IFAD provided funding for six rural development projects to the tune of US$84.2 million for a total cost of US$159.9 million.
The evaluation concluded that the IFAD country programme applied rural development approaches, including local development, farmer organization support, rural finance, value chain support and youth enterprise development, that were well-aligned with evolving IFAD and Government policies and strategies. IFAD-funded projects contributed to the increase of productivity for cultures like cassava, rice and onions, which are important for the local populations. Moreover, the programme reinforced the capacity of producer organisations to provide services upstream and downstream of agricultural production to their smallholder members. However, the report also indicates that the poorest and most vulnerable rural households were not often reached, although these households were specifically targeted by the country strategies and project designs. Other areas for improvement cited in the report include more attention to gender equality, and the sustainability and scaling-up of successful interventions.
Building partnerships for enhanced development effectiveness – a review of country-level experiences and results
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) has conducted an evaluation synthesis on building partnerships for enhanced development effectiveness – a review of country-level experiences and results. The review of country-level experiences and results covered 36 country programme evaluations conducted between 2006 and 2016.
The synthesis on country-level on experiences and results, because this is where partnerships matter most and where they are expected to produce concrete rural poverty reduction results. As the report explains, effective partnerships are built on the principle of complementarity.
The report noted an insufficient focus on results and the absence of a coherent framework to capture comprehensive results from partnerships.
Global and regional partnerships have received a lot of attention at corporate level, but as highlighted by this synthesis, most of these initiatives have been insufficiently linked to country programmes and have produced limited results in terms of innovation and scaling up within countries.
The report also highlights that rural transformation activities will require IFAD to work with a broader range of partners and to adjust its operational model by improving resource mobilization, allocation and utilization from diverse sources.
Participatory Natural Resource Management Programme
The programme made substantial progress in achieving its land restoration targets in spite of frequent disruptions due to the challenging context. It restored over 10,700 dunums (1,070 hectares) of land, reaching 1,480 households. In addition, through the programme’s credit activities, more than 600 households were able to access financing for existing and new enterprises for on-farm and off-farm activities.
On the other hand, the land-centric approach had implications for the programme’s targeting efforts. Potential beneficiaries with little or no access to land (women, youth, marginal landholders and landless) were not sufficiently included in the programme’s activities.
The evaluation recommends that future projects in Palestine pay more attention to off-farm activities in order that poorer and more marginalized segments of the population can also be reached. This will also enhance the resilience of the target population to future shocks in the Palestinian context.
Rural Livelihoods Improvement Project in Kratie, Preah Vihear and Ratanakiri
Rural Livelihoods Improvement Project in Kratie, Preah Vihear and Ratanakiri in the Kingdom of Cambodia
The project - designed at a time when close to half of the country’s population suffered from poverty - reached close to 15,000 rural households. It contributed to the adoption of improved agricultural techniques by the targeted poor rural households and to improving agricultural productivity and production. The project had a strong poverty focus, and gender issues were effectively integrated based on good collaboration between partners at national and provincial levels. The group revolving funds helped ease the cash flow of beneficiary households and contributed to building social capital among members.
However, the benefits realized in terms of improved agricultural production were less than expected. This was due to, among other factors, weaknesses in the approach of extension services and training of farmers, although adjustments were made after the mid-term review for the training to be more effective and responsive to needs. The agro-ecological and socio-economic contexts varied widely between the provinces, and so did the performance. Promising achievements and good performance in Preah Vihear were due to a combination of good management at provincial level, fast growing market opportunities for organic rice and other support initiatives. Ratanakiri turned out to be the most challenging case, also due to the predominant presence of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities in upland areas, different farming systems, different socio-economic situations, lower literacy rate, language issues and remoteness.
Rural Financial Intermediation Programme (2017)
One of the main achievements of the programme was transforming Lesotho Post Bank into a self-reliant financial intermediary with a full banking license, and expanding rural credit and savings outreach. With the support of the programme, Lesotho Post Bank launched its lending operations and attained profitability for the first time in 2014.
The programme also contributed to the establishment of member-based financial institutions, which successfully provided their members, mostly women, with facilities to deposit and accumulate their savings and eventually improved their living conditions and household incomes.
On the other hand, the programme had an ambitious objective of enhancing access by the rural poor to efficient financial services on a sustainable basis. While the programme managed to build financial intermediaries with rural outreach which mobilized their own resources as loanable funds, the intended objective was not achieved at completion, as the linkages between member-based financial institutions and commercial banks were not effectively created.
Mozambique Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
During the period under evaluation, IFAD provided six loans to Mozambique, for a total value of US$ 239 million. The evaluation found a positive impact which included significant capacity development at the institutional, community and individual levels, improvements in access to micro-credit for household assets and petty-trade through savings and credit associations, and empowerment of women thanks to literacy initiatives.
Notwithstanding these achievements, projects' focus on small farmers with marketable surplus meant that less attention was paid to potentially food insecure farmers. This is a major challenge for the Government and IFAD to consider in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 in particular. Additionally, targeting strategies should consider more vulnerable groups, including women, youth, and people living with HIV. Against the backdrop of the SDGs, the challenge is no longer to reduce poverty but to eradicate it by 2030.
Rural Microfinance Development Support Project
Évaluation de la performance du projet
L’approche globale du Projet d'appui au développement de la microfinance rurale était de soutenir les institutions de microfinance afin d’améliorer l’accès de la population rurale aux services financiers. Cette approche a été cohérente avec le contexte économique et les orientations stratégiques et politiques du Cameroun et du FIDA. Le projet a augmenté le rayonnement en zones rurales de sept établissements de microfinance partenaires, avec une augmentation du nombre de membres et d'épargnants. Cependant, le nombre et le volume de crédits octroyés a augmenté auprès de trois établissements de microfinance seulement.
Les membres de la Caisse populaire ont reçu un soutien non financier très limité pour assurer qu’ils pourraient faire le meilleur usage possible des services financiers. Il est donc peu probable que l’augmentation de l’accès aux services financiers ait conduit à une productivité plus élevée ou à des revenus pour de nombreux membres de la Caisse populaire.
L’innovation principale du projet devait être la création d'un fonds de refinancement du crédit agricole à moyen terme, mais l'efficacité du fonds a été affectée par ses modalités de fonctionnement peu adaptées, sa durée d'opération trop courte avant la fin du projet, et l'inexpérience des établissements de microfinance partenaires.
L'évaluation recommande que le FIDA devrait poursuivre ses efforts d'engagement au sujet du crédit agricole à moyen terme avec le Gouvernement du Cameroun ainsi qu’avec des donateurs intéressé et des institutions de microfinance. En outre, le FIDA devrait simplifier la conception de projets de microfinance rurale et assurer que ces projets soient mieux intégrés à d’autres interventions du FIDA dans le pays.