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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Agriculture Support Services Project


  
1. Project Data:   
Project ID:
P009516
Project Name:
Agriculture Support Services Project
Country:
Bangladesh
Sector:
Agricultural Extension, Agriculture
L/C Number:
C2233
Partners Involved:
DFID
Prepared By:
Ridley Nelson, OEDST
Reviewed By:
John Johnson
Group Manager:
Gregory Ingram
Date Posted:
06/08/1999

2. Project Objectives, Financing, Costs, and Components:

Planned Total Project Cost: US$59.4m (Financing: IDA - US$35.9m, DFID US$14.7m). Actual Total Project Cost: US$55.2m (Financing: IDA - US$22.7m, DFID - US$22.8m). The main objective of the project was to increase agricultural production, especially in foodgrains, and to pursue diversification towards high value export crops. The aim was to make technology transfer more responsive to farmer's needs, to upgrade extension training, to increase the availability of improved seeds through participation of private seed companies, to improve the cost-effectiveness of public sector services, and, to promote diversification and agribusiness opportunities. Main components included: 1. technology transfer, including on-farm demonstrations, field days and extension meetings, media campaigns, a special initiative fund, and, extension service facilities; 2. training, including in-service training, career development training, farmer and other client group training; 3. seed industry development; 4. a homestead production component; 5. agribusiness development; and, 6. technical assistance.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

While the attribution of causality is methodologically difficult, the main objectives appear to have been substantially achieved, although to a quite limited extent in the smaller, and less central, export crop component. In particular the project supported the development of the New Agricultural Extension Policy which represents an important shift away from the earlier T&V approach towards a bottom-up decentralization of the planning of extension through Farmers Information Needs Assessments incorporating a Problem Census and other participatory rural appraisal techniques. An indicative economic analysis shows a good ERR.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

There were a number of significant achievements including: 1. the New Agricultural Extension Policy itself; 2. the substantial borrower commitment, gained, wisely, in stages; 3. the creative new decentralized direction in project design; 4. the strong cofinancing input from DFID (initially ODA), and the strong Technical Assistance provided by them; 5. the attempt to target extension to low income groups and women; 6. the Mid-Term Review which achieved a number of important redirections. 7. strong supervision after a slow start, although, at 46 staffweeks per year, carrying opportunity costs elsewhere in the program.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

There were a few significant shortcomings, including; 1. some weaknesses in the "cascade" training of staff; 2. over-optimism in the agribusiness lending component through a Foundation (but a commendable concept which still looks like working out); 3. no formal supervision missions in 1992 and only one in 1993 and no initial workshops, which may have contributed to the slow project start-up and, 4. a case of rather rigid procurement adherence which has resulted in unwanted imported bicycles (there is considerable brand loyalty among extension staff!).
6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Outcome:
SatisfactorySatisfactory
Institutional Dev.:
PartialSubstantial
    While there are a number of institutional areas such as training, process, and management where further improvements are needed, we weight more highly than the ICR the achievement of a new policy direction and the reorientation of the institutions towards that new direction.
Sustainability:
LikelyLikely
Bank Performance:
SatisfactorySatisfactory
Borrower Perf.:
SatisfactorySatisfactory
Quality of ICR:
Exemplary

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

1. Policy change and true ownership are essential pre-requisites for a significant change in extension direction, they may be best achieved through a series of phased steps but with a clear longer-term goal; 2. Intensive supervision in the early years is required for innovative projects; 3. Consultants and TA can play a major role in developing strategies, and managerial and process solutions; 4. Close cofinancier involvement and coordination and cofinancier provided TA can contribute substantially to development effectiveness. 5. Targeting of extension at poorer farmers and women appears to be possible (although, in this case, further data will be needed). 6. High levels of supervision input can contribute to improving project performance.

8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

          Why?  1. May have very useful lessons for extension elsewhere. 2. Is an early example of a new genre. 3. Contains some still unanswered questions with further potential for learning.

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

Exemplary. It is insightful, thorough, and a useful reference for future project design.

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