Independent evaluation shows IFAD-supported programme in Mozambique led to poverty alleviation

Maputo, 2 March 2017 - Development projects supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) contributed to raising the incomes of poor smallholder farmers and their families in parts of rural Mozambique, according to the findings of a new evaluation report presented today in Maputo. 

The evaluation set out to assess the results and performance of the IFAD-financed strategy and programme in the country and generate recommendations for the continued partnership between IFAD and Mozambique as they work together to reduce rural poverty. The evaluation covers the 2010-2016 period, during which IFAD provided funding for six rural development projects that together covered all provinces in the country and totaled US$237 million.

According to the report, although agriculture employs 81 per cent of the labour force, producers struggle to market their agricultural surpluses due to credit and infrastructure constraints, and weak market linkages. As a consequence, IFAD-funded projects primarily focused on developing value chains for horticultural products, cassava and sesame, livestock, and fisheries, as well as helping producers to increase production and access financing.

The report highlights a strong level of project alignment with Government priorities and notes that IFAD was able to leverage additional resources due to its credibility among international development partners. These additional resources supported the integration of nutritional education components in value-chain perspectives and in the curriculum of the National Agricultural Extension System. Positive impacts in Mozambique outlined in the report also include significant capacity development at the institutional, community and individual level, 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.

“The evaluation shows that our work in Mozambique is aligned well with the needs of the country as well as national policies and strategies,” said Sana Jatta, Director of IFAD’s East and Southern Africa Division. "Our capacity to leverage significant additional financial resources through partnerships in Mozambique is an important result that we will definitely endeavour to replicate for future projects, while also disseminating many best practices from the Mozambique portfolio to other countries in Africa and beyond particularly in artisanal fisheries development and multi-purpose boreholes use."

Although the evaluation shows that most projects succeeded in improving food and nutritional security in rural households, projects did not explicitly include objectives or approaches aimed at tackling overarching goals for improvement of food security and nutrition and focus on poverty reduction. The report points out that this is a major challenge for the Government and IFAD to consider. The report also highlights other areas for improvement, including sustainable natural resources management, support to the rural micro-finance sector, efficiency of project implementation and in the reliance on service providers, knowledge management and policy dialogue.

“This evaluation shows that projects achieved the objective of helping the economically active poor. But we need to ensure we are targeting all rural producers, not just those who already have access to fertilizers, improved seeds and pesticides, or large engines for their boats,” said Oscar Garcia, Director of IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation. “In particular, we must ensure that targeting strategies consider more vulnerable groups, including women, youth, and people living with HIV.”

The evaluation recommended promoting sustainable management of natural resources, providing better support to the rural finance sector, and dedicating resources to knowledge management and policy dialogue.

IFAD has been working in Mozambique since 1983 to enhance development effectiveness and eradicate rural poverty. It has financed 12 programmes and projects in the country for a total value of $400.2 million, of which IFAD has contributed $243.9 million, directly benefiting more than 2.1 million rural households.

Press release No.: IFAD/18/2017

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$18.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 464 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) conducts evaluations of IFAD-financed policies, strategies and operations to promote accountability and learning. The main purpose is to contribute to improving IFAD's and its partners' performance in reducing rural poverty in recipient countries. IOE's independent evaluations assess the impact of IFAD-funded activities and give an analysis of successes and shortcomings – to tell it the way it is – as well as identify factors affecting performance. Based on the key insights and recommendations drawn from evaluation findings, IOE also shares IFAD’s knowledge and experience in agriculture and rural development with a wider audience.