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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - National Agricultural Technology Project

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
National Agricultural Technology Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 60.00  57.18
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 42.50  40.50
Sector, Major Sect.:
Agricultural Extension,
Cofinancing (US $M)
 0.00  0.00
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
12/31/1999 12/31/1999
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Christopher D. Gerrard
Madhur Gautam Alain A. Barbu OEDST

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The main objective of the project was to strengthen, in the states of Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, and Kebbi, and in a smaller way in selected other states, the adaptation and dissemination of location-specific, environmentally sound, agricultural technologies to increase farm productivity and production, and therefore, smallholder incomes on a sustainable basis.

b. Components
The project had three main components and a number of subcomponents.

(1) Strengthening technical support services in the five core states by means of (a) on-farm adaptive research, (b) rationalizing and unifying the state agricultural extension services and introducing women-in-agriculture programs, (c) adaptation and promotion of animal traction and small-scale farm implements, (d) adaptation and promotion of farm-level agro-forestry and sustainable soil and water management practices.
(2) Improving project management in the five core states through support for (a) project administration and financial management, (b) monitoring and evaluation, and (c) manpower development and training.
(3) Establishing an agricultural technology support facility to provide funding of a bridging nature for technology adaptation and dissemination in other states.
The number of core states was increased from five to seven in 1996 and fisheries extension was added in most states following the MTR in 1997.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
While actual costs of US$ 57.18 million were 95% of appraisal estimates, the distribution of these costs was very different from appraisal. Expenditures of US$ 28.04 million on technical support services (the first component) represented 73% of appraisal estimates, and US$ 22.93 million on project management (the second component) represented 300% of appraisal estimates. While the ICR attributes this to the higher counterpart funding requirements for the first component (which were not readily available), and the higher proportion of foreign costs for the second component (which were reimbursable by the Bank), this cannot be the whole story, for the Bank's contribution of US$ 40.50 million to the final costs of the project represented the same proportion -- 71 percent -- as at appraisal. The project also closed on schedule on December 31, 1999.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

Both the Bank's ICR and the Borrower's ICR assess that there was a positive and significant increase in agricultural production and rural incomes in the core project states. The ICR estimates an ERR of 19% compared to 17% at appraisal, while the Borrower's estimates ERR at 34%. The ICRs also cite the testing, release, and adoption of improved varieties of tomato, wheat, cowpea, cotton, millet, sorghum, and rice in support of this positive assessment. However, the macro-economic and sector policy environment (in particular, the overvalued exchange rate and government control of fertilizer procurement and distribution which made the commodity unavailable to farmers) were not conducive to project implementation, limiting it's impact. They do however acknowledge that the overall assessment is based on limited and inconsistent data in the adoption rate and impact studies, and disagree on whether the increased output has come primarily from higher yields or from increased area under cultivation.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

The ICR assesses all four subcomponents under "strengthening technical support services" as satisfactory or partially satisfactory even though expenditures on technical support services were 27% less than appraisal estimates. The extension services were successfully unified in all the core states. Under the women-in-agriculture programs, 3,878 women's groups were formed and provided training on production and post-harvest practices, nutrition, potable water treatment, and business management. Under the animal traction component, about 755 farmers and artisans were trained on the fabrication and use of animal traction implements. Under the agro-forestry component, about 1.9 million tree seedlings were produced from project and community nurseries, and community woodlots were established for fuelwood and fodder.
The ICR also assesses the agricultural technology support facility for the non-core states as satisfactory even though expenditures were 29% less than appraisal estimates, since it helped to maintain public extension services in the non-core states.

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

The ICR assesses the three subcomponents under "improving project management" as unsatisfactory, even though expenditures on project management were 300% more than appraisal estimates. There was a lack of transparency and accountability in project operations, and serious lapses in procurement and financial management. The monitoring and evaluation component was also very weak, resulting in only poor quality and inconsistent data on project outcomes and impacts.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
SatisfactoryModerately Satisfactory
    The ICR rating is based upon the estimated ERR of 19%. But this is based on limited and inconsistent data. There are also doubts about whether the increased output came from higher yields (the objective of the project) or increased area under cultivation (see 3 above), and it is likely a result of both. The ICR rating is also not fully consistent with other ratings and with other project circumstances (see 9 below).
Institutional Dev.:
Bank Performance:
    The ICR rates the Bank's performance as satisfactory in section 2, satisfactory in the text, but unsatisfactory in Annex 6. The ES agrees with the latter since quality at entry was unsatisfactory, and supervision of procurement and financial management was weak.
Borrower Perf.:
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

(1) Agricultural technology projects should not focus their efforts only, or even mainly, on one production and dissemination system, namely, the public research and extension system. Rather than fostering dependency on public institutions (which are rarely functional) and public funding (which is unreliable), they should encourage greater pluralism in the production and dissemination of improved agricultural technology by involving and empowering beneficiaries, communities, local governments, and the private sector.
(2) The project suffered from an adverse macroeconomic and sector policy environment, and from the lack of complementary investments in rural infrastructure and rural finance. Investing in the production and dissemination of improved agricultural technology, by itself, is therefore of questionable value without these other supporting activities.
(3) The Bank's supervision of this project was weak, inadequately funded, and narrowly focused on the technical aspects of technology services to the relative neglect of procurement and financial aspects, as a result of which the Bank did not discover some significant violations of procurement procedures until towards the end of the project. Supervision missions should include staff with the requisite skills to assess all aspects of project implementation, including procurement and financial management.

8. Audit Recommended?  No


9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The quality of the ICR is satisfactory with one major exception. The ICR did not adequately explain the apparent disconnection between the various ratings. On the one hand, the ICR rated the overall outcome as satisfactory, largely on the strength of the recalculated ERR and spotty evidence. On the other hand, it rated the quality at entry as unsatisfactory, the technical support components (which were under-financed) as satisfactory, the project management components (which were over-financed) as unsatisfactory, the institutional development impact as modest, the Bank's supervision as weak, and the Borrower's performance as unsatisfactory. It also regarded the macroeconomic and sector policy environment as unconducive to project success, and decried the lack of complementary investments in rural infrastructure and rural finance. Without an adequate explanation for this apparent disconnection, one cannot conclude that the outcome was fully satisfactory; it also suggests that outcome was in some measure independent of the unsatisfactory components which made up the project, and therefore should not be entirely attributed to the project.

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