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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Agricultural Services Project


  
1. Project Data:   
Project ID:
P001725
Project Name:
Agricultural Services Project
Country:
Mali
Sector:
Agricultural Extension, Agriculture
L/C Number:
C2235
Partners Involved:
Prepared By:
Ridley Nelson, OEDST
Reviewed By:
Lauries Effron, OEDCR
Group Manager:
Gregory Ingram
Date Posted:
06/30/1999

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

Total Project Costs Planned - US$27.1m; Total Actual - US$28.0m; IDA Financing - US$24.4m; Approved 5/91; Closed 6/98.

The project objective was to improve farmers' and herders' incomes and to diminish rural poverty through improving the effectiveness of agricultural extension, improving the linkage between research and extension, and providing village associations with functional literacy and numeracy training. Main components were: (i) support for the organization and operation of extension services; (ii) training, both locally and overseas; (iii) strengthening linkages between extension and research; (iv) strengthening relations between crop livestock and environmental services; (v) functional literacy and numeracy training with a particular focus on participation by women.


3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

Objectives were relevant, but were not spelled out in quantitative terms, so it is difficult to assess achievement. Adoption rate data presented in the ICR is not analysed for significance but appears inconclusive and causal linkages are not demonstrated. An indicative economic analysis in the ICR suggests an ERR of 10% to 15% which is possible but not evident from the data presented. It is certainly plausible that some degree of increased adoption and thus increased farm incomes did occur given the staffing increases and improved extension organisation.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

1. Reorganized and improved extension management. 2. Strengthened linkages between research and extension. 3. Expansion of extension into new areas. 4. Improved staff training. 5. Increased number of demonstrations (the numbers reported seem implausible at about 100 per extension worker). 6. Improved functional literacy, although the numbers trained seem modest in relation to the number of centers constructed. 7. Joint supervision with development partners and close collaboration with other projects and NGOs introduced during implementation.

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

1. Extremely high cost at $40 per Contact Group member, and therefore unsustainable without continuing donor support. 2. Project design followed standard conventions of the time, and no innovative ideas were introduced. 3. Lack off quantitative objectives. 4. Problems with decentralization of financial management. 5. Weaknesses in M&E and in Bank supervision of M&E. 6. Restructuring of the Ministry a year before the end of the project which disrupted many project activities. 7. No sustainable system for generating further technologies was established.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Outcome:
SatisfactoryMarginally Satisfactory
    Evidence for benefit levels and causality is weak. Lack of sustainability a serious problem. The ICR notes that, were it available, a marginal rating would have been given.
Institutional Dev.:
SubstantialModest
    Given efficiency and sustainability concerns about the T&V system introduced, there are questions about the extent to which the institutional development achieved was appropriate.
Sustainability:
UncertainUnlikely
    Given the extremely high cost and the need for continued donor involvement the evidence suggests a rating lower than simply uncertain, although the task team feels that, given the current political support, uncertain is still more appropriate. Staffing numbers were not able to reach planned levels due to recruitment restrictions linked to IMF conditions - for financial sustainability this could be considered positive.
Bank Performance:
SatisfactorySatisfactory
    Were it available, we would rate this as marginally satisfactory because, notwithstanding the achievements in improving organization, the T&V system was a rigid, top-down approach which imposed an unsustainable financial burden. Were an audit to be done this would be an area of particular focus.
Borrower Perf.:
SatisfactorySatisfactory
Quality of ICR:
Satisfactory

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

1. Post project financial sustainability should be carefully analyzed at appraisal, the findings should be explicitly reflected in project design and at least an indicative program for achieving sustainability should be developed.2. Greater farmer involvement and increased collaboration with other projects, agencies, and NGOs, can increase effectiveness and efficiency. 3. Adequate incentives are needed to keep literacy trainers in the village. 4. Improved technologies to be offered should be subject to financial and risk analysis.

8. Audit Recommended?  No

          Why?  

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

Satisfactory overall. Weak point: data on production impacts and adoption and links to economic analysis not clearly shown in report itself. Strong point: sound conclusions about what is needed for the future.

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