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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Food Security Project


  
1. Project Data:   
Project ID:
P000400
Project Name:
Food Security Project
Country:
Cameroon
Sector:
Other Agriculture, Agriculture
L/C Number:
L3388
Partners Involved:
Japan
Prepared By:
Madhur Gautam, OEDST
Reviewed By:
Keith Pitman
Group Manager:
Gregory K. Ingram
Date Posted:
08/16/1999

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

Objectives: The overall objective was poverty reduction. This was to be achieved through (i) employment creation and raising the purchasing power of rural groups, particularly women; (ii) reduce the impact of locust attacks on food prodution in northern areas; (iii) increase food marketing and storage efficiency; (iv) improve dietary practices of vulnerable groups.

Components: (i) Micro-projects: to finance income generating micro-projects prepared by groups at grass roots level; (ii) locust control: to reduce locust attacks by aerial spraying; (iii) early warning system: to establish a fully operational early warning and information system to avert famines; (iv) market infrastructure: to build and renovate about 30-40 markets in secondary cities and rural communes; and (v) nutrition education: to pilot an education program through research, testing and dissemination of nutrition messages targeted at high risk groups.
Costs and financing: At appraisal (1989) estimated costs were US$35.3 million, of which IBRD was to provide US$23.0 million. The project closed 6 months ahead of schedule on December 31, 1998 (except for the locust control component which closed on May 31, 1999). Actual project costs were US$19.2 million, with IBRD contribution being US$11.0 million and Japan providing a grant of US$5.1 million. An amount of US$10.6 million of the IBRD loan was cancelled in 1997.


3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The project was partially successful in meeting its primary objective of poverty reduction. The famine early warning system has been fully operational since 1997. The micro-project component was partially successful, providing training to groups member, creating employment and raising the incomes of beneficaries by financing profitable activities. The experimental fund for cash-generating activities was not implemented. The locust control component was much delayed and unable to make progress during the life of the project. The achievements under the market infrastructure component were negligible, The nutrition component partially achieved its objectives, conducting several education, research and training activities.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

The established of a fully operational early warning system, which has already started to yield benefits by providing forescasts of potential shortages. The micro-projects component financed a large number of profitable activities, which have had a positive impact on the beneficiaries, athough the component could have had a much greater impact under appropriate institutional and financial arrangements. Towards the end of the project 92% of the beneficiaries were linked with private MFIs. The nutritional program has also provided some education and training to vulnerable groups, and evaluation studies some at least some positive impact on feeding habits among the target groups.

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

The project made little contribution towards improving the efficiency of food marketing or storage. The project components were poorly integrated and lacked appropriate monitoring and evaluation making it diffcult to assess progress towards the components' or overall objectives. There was poor coordination by government and marked differences in institutional performance among the range of institutions involved. There was no Mid-Term Review to redirect the project. The micro-projects component was entrusted to civil servants with inadequate experience in financial matters; the recovery rates were low and the decision to charge zero interest rates was inappropriate. Avoidable procurement problems (for locust control component) and poor inter-agency coordination, lack of local counterpart funds and political disagreements (for market infrastructure component) limited the project's benefits. The project's outreach could have been substantially greater with appropriate institutional and financial arrangements for on-lending operations. From a micro-finance perspective, the component performed poorly: it charged zero interest rates and had a recovery rate of 73%. The recycling of funds was delayed because of inadequate administrative arrangements. Eventually, the recycled funds were transferred to trust funds to be managed by private micro-finance institutions (MFIs), who are expected to make second-generation loans to project beneficiaries. About 92% of the beneficiaries are expected to be linked with the MFIs. Procurement problems led to lack of chemicals and planes (and spare parts). Six markets were buillt, of which only 2 are fully operational.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Outcome:
UnsatisfactoryUnsatisfactory
Institutional Dev.:
PartialModest
    Same rating.
Sustainability:
UncertainUncertain
Bank Performance:
DeficientUnsatisfactory
    Same rating.
Borrower Perf.:
DeficientUnsatisfactory
    Same rating.
Quality of ICR:
Satisfactory

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

1. Micro-finance operations should be handled by competent financial intermediaries and implemented using sound financial principles to ensure sustainability and economic benefits.
2. Decentralized management responsibilities can help improve project outreach and effectiveness.
3. Reliable monitoring and evaluation systems are needed for all project components to assess progress and impact.
4. Consistency and stability is needed in supervision teams, both on the Borrower's and the Bank's side, to ensure progress towards the project's relevant objectives.
5. The project demonstrates the usefulness of a participatory approach for innovation, to create ownership and build capacity at the community level.
6. A Mid-Term Review is essential.

8. Audit Recommended?  No

          Why?  

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR provides a very good and detailed account of the project's implementation and outcomes.

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