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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Turkey Agricultural Research Project

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Turkey Agricultural Research Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 76.0  59.1
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 55.0  44.8
Sector, Major Sect.:
Cofinancing (US $M)
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
12/31/1999 04/30/2001
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
John English
Ridley Nelson Alain A. Barbu OEDST

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The project's general objective was to support the Government of Turkey's (GOT's) efforts to strengthen the research capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) to provide technologies for solving farmers' problems and raising their incomes. Specifically to:

  • develop technologies suitable for the less well developed regions of eastern and southeastern Turkey;
  • strengthen selected high priority national research programs because of their relevance beyond the less developed regions;
  • contribute to institutional building of the agricultural and forestry research services;
  • establish an economics and policy research capability for agriculture; and
  • strengthen MAFRA's capacity for testing food products so as to enforce pesticide and hormone residue regulations.

The start up of the project was slow and in the first three years organizational changes were made in MAFRA. In 1996 a MTR was held that agreed a revised set of objectives design to reflect the changed circumstances and a sharper focus. The revised specific objectives were to:
  • improve the capacity to deliver high quality, relevant research programs of the restructured Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA); the General Directorate of Rural Services (GDRS); and the Minstry of Forestry (MoF);
  • strengthen selected high-priority national programs focusing on less developed regions;
  • institutionalize a competitive agricutural research program that invests in high priority agricutural research;
  • develop a research environment that encourages private sector support for research and collaboration between research agencies and, thereby, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of resource use; and
  • establish an economics and policy research capability for the agricultural sector.

b. Components
Briefly, the original components were: institutional strengthening (US$10.6 million); farming systems research ($1.5 million); crops ($22.6 million); livestock ($9.3 million); soil and water ($12.1 million); forestry ($5.6 million) integrated pest management ($4.6 million); and residue control research ($2.3 million).

Following the MTR the revised components were:

  • agricultural policy - establishment of the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (AERI) within MARA, including facilities and equipment, capacity building and delivery of economic and policy research projects;
  • applied research - institutionalizing and funding of competitive research programs for the high priority research programs of the General Directorate of Agricultural Research (GDAR), GDRS, MoF and the Turkish Scientific and Technology Research Organization (TUBITAK); and
  • institutional strengthening - improved research delivery capacity building through training and access to international and other national research knowledge information systems; research management capacity building through improved planning, prioritization, and support to research delivery systems; and monitoring and evaluation for GDAR, MoF and GDRS. The component also included development and management of a regional management information system (RMIS) incorporating a Library Information Systen (LIS) and a research project database.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
The original project cost of US$76.0 million was reduced at the MTR, when some civil works and equipment purchases were dropped and US$ 6 million of the loan was canceled. The final cost was US$59.1 million and at completion a further US$ 4.2 million was canceled.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

Summarizing achievement in a complex project of this nature is difficult. The Turkish agricultural research establishment is large and diffuse comprising, at the outset, five directorates and 67 institutes, besides work undertaken in universities and other organizations. Prior to the project, priority setting, program focus, and dissemination of results was poor. As a result of the project:
  • research master plans have become the basis of research programs and subsequent budget requests and this should help sharpen the focus of research and make better use of capacity and, thereby, increase the effectiveness and efficiency of resource use;
  • a degree of competition was introduced into the funding of research;
  • management information systems were installed and used to monitor and manage the research system ; and
  • an AERI was established.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

The following is based on a summary in the ICR, which is an accurate reflection of the nine pages of text outlining more specific outcomes of the different objectives and activities. The project:
  • contributed to the modernization of the agricultural research system in terms of technologies and equipment;
  • achieved some shift in emphasis from supply driven to demand driven research;
  • helped build valuable linkages to international research and established a basis for further integration in the European agricultural research system and markets;
  • contributed to a substantial improvement in technical skills as well as management of research; and
  • was considered positively by the agricultural research community in Turkey.

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

    The project
  • was only partially successful in consolidating the Turkish agricultural research system into a more efficient system based on multi-disciplanary institutes and
  • did not adequately result in improved research delivery in less developed regions.
    Although some attempts were made, the project was unable to effectively address the oversized research infrastructure in the country, given the political and bureaucratic resistance. As a result, a high proportion of GOT funds continue to be required for overhead costs rather than having an impact at the sharp end. Furthermore, the austerity measures resulting from the economic crisis of 2001 has meant that, after completion, available funding for research has been reduced and the distribution has reverted to allocating funds to institutions rather than to specific research programs, thus negating some of the improvement made under the project. For this reason, sustainablity is rated as unlikely.

  • 6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
    SatisfactoryModerately Satisfactory The project was rated as 'moderately satisfactory' [a rating which is not possible under the ICR's 4-point rating scale] because of the shortcomings noted above.
    Institutional Dev.:
    Bank Performance:
    Borrower Perf.:
    Quality of ICR:

    7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

    Some of the lessons of this project have more general applicability:
    • efforts to reform sectoral structures are likely to have only limited impact in the absence of broader structural and civil service reform;
    • a demand oriented (in this case "farmer responsive") competitive grants process needs to be carefully explained to those affected, in this case both the research and extension communities; and
    • only a proportion of research funding can be effectively directed through a competitive grants process. An appropriate core of research should contniue to be funded on a longer term basis..

    8. Audit Recommended?  No


    9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    The ICR provides a satisfactory review of the project and its outcome at completion.

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