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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Second Agricultural Extension and Applied Research Project

1. Project Data:   
Project ID:
Project Name:
Second Agricultural Extension and Applied Research Project
Agricultural Extension, Agriculture
L/C Number:
Partners Involved:
Prepared By:
Madhur Gautam
Reviewed By:
Helen Abadzi
Group Manager:
Gregory K. Ingram
Date Posted:

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

Objectives: (i) to foster increased productivity and agricultural incomes through improved flows of information concerning their needs and problems from farmers to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Affair's (MAFRA) extension/research services, and the transmission of improved technology from extension/research to the farmers. (ii) contribute to the institution building and strengthening of the extension/research services of MAFRA, including a pilot program for women farmers. (iii) pilot a program to improve the animal health services. Components: (i) upgrade provincial agricultural extension services; (ii) strengthen extension-research linkages and support 14 research institutes to backstop the extension service; (iii) training and technical assistance to MAFRA for project implementation; and (iv) improving monitoring and evaluation of the provincial agricultural extension services. Financing and costs: At appraisal, total costs were anticipated at US$ 145.4 million, of which IBRD was to finance US$ 63.0 million. The loan was approved in March, 1990. Final projects costs were US$ 69.4 million, with IBRD financing US$ 47.4 million. The remainder of the IBRD loan was canceled at closing despite an extension of one year till June 30, 1998.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The project partially achieved its objectives. Several features of the original project design were modified during implementation. Based on a number of surveys, conducted for the completion report, the ICR notes increased production, and to a lesser extent in livestock production, during the project period and attributes these changes to improved extension services. However, the changes made to the project design are not clear from the ICR, nor is it clear how the project contributed to the observed changes. The majority of the gains accrued to medium and large farmers, who were better placed to provide feedback to research and extension. The pilot program for women's extension services was not effective. On the institutional development side, research-extension links were largely non-functional for lack of ownership by the research establishment; the extension service faced increasing fiscal difficulties over time; and implementation varied by provinces due to uneven managerial capabilities. The sustainability of the extension system, both fiscally and politically, is uncertain. Nevertheless, the extension service has shown flexibility in modifying the extension approach during implementation, and has actively sought a partnership with the private sector in the face of fiscal difficulties. These are positive developments and likely had a positive impact towards the latter part of the project. The project also provided significant training to extension staff, which is likely to have had some positive impact.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

Institutionalization of monitoring and evaluation and MIS, including diagnostic and evaluation surveys. Modification of the original project design once it was apparent that the original approach was neither effective nor fiscally sustainable. Increasing realization by the public extension service of the benefits of collaboration with the private sector to deliver the services and the need to introduce cost-sharing.

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

Inability to institutionalize research-extension linkages; ineffective communication channels for the flow of information from small farmers to research/extension; lack of broadening the focus of women's extension services beyond the traditional home-economics orientation; the failure of the government to follow up on its agreements after the mid-term review to introduce pluralism in the delivery of extension services and to introduce cost-sharing mechanisms.
6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
SatisfactoryMarginally Satisfactory
    The ICR rates the project as marginally satisfactory in the text but as satisfactory in the ICR summary ratings table.
Institutional Dev.:
Bank Performance:
Borrower Perf.:
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

1. The fiscal implications of a project for public services need to be analyzed to ensure sustainability of the projects outcomes.
2. Blanket prescriptions for extension projects are not likely to be effective; project design must take into consideration the diversity in circumstances across beneficiaries and regions.
3. Farmer empowerment through farmer organizations or other institutional arrangements is critical to ensure that the extension service is demand-driven and responsive.
4. The follow-on phase of a project must be undertaken only after a thorough analysis of the implementation problems and effectiveness of the initial phase to properly incorporate emerging lessons.

8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

          Why?  The contribution of the project towards the observed performance of agriculture is tenuous based on the information provided in the ICR. At the same time, some positive developments during implementation offer potentially important lessons for future agricultural extension projects, e.g., a mid-stream change in the approach to extension to a seemingly more cost-effective one, and the progress towards a partnership with the private sector to deliver extension and research services.

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR is based on a concerted effort at establishing results on the ground through a series of stakeholder surveys. It is candid in its discussion of the original design problems and other implementation issues. However, the ICR is difficult to read in places and could have made better use of the available evidence and presented a more detailed analysis of the project's contributions to outcomes.

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