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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Agri Res & Extension

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Agri Res & Extension
Project Costs(US $M)
 30.50  23.80
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 24.30  17.60
Sector, Major Sect.:
Agricultural extension and research,
Agriculture fishing and forestry
Cofinancing (US $M)
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
09/30/2002 09/30/2002
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Ridley Nelson
Patrick G. Grasso Alain A. Barbu OEDST

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The objective of the project was to assist the government improve the management and capacity of agricultural research and extension services by: (a) developing location specific agricultural technology on the basis of close consultation with farmers; and,

(b) improving the technology delivery system. The mid-term review proposed substantial component reformulation but did not change the project objectives, although it did provide a revised indicators log frame.

b. Components
The original components of the project were: (a) research component (US$ 16.2 million) including: strengthening research institutions, supporting human resource development, expanding on-farm adaptive research, and, providing facilities, equipment and working capital; and, (b) extension component (US$ 14.3 million) including: intensification of decentralization and strengthening farmer self-help groups, developing human capital, and provision of facilities, equipment and working capital. The revised components, somewhat repackaging the original, were: (a) research component including: modernizing and reforming NARC, strengthening management and systems research, formulation of a national agricultural research policy, and called for a decision on how to establish a National Agricultural Research and Development Fund; (b) extension services component including: modernization of public extension services, promotion of partnerships, decentralization, and human resource development.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
At the mid-term review US$ 5.3 million of the credit was canceled. This turned out to be a mistake since subsequent disbursements increased and it precluded an option for an extension which might have been taken.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

It is difficult to assess the achievement of relevant objectives since the focus of the components changed at the mid-term review yet the stated objectives, which, as noted by the ICR, were not well formulated, did not change. With respect to objective (a), there was some improvement in the prioritization of research and evidence that some of the programs were being driven by farmer's needs but most of the institutional strengthening was only partially implemented and none of the Regional Agricultural Research Stations reached the targets of scientific staff set at the midterm review. There was a decrease in the number of research programs leading to some improvement in the efficiency of resource use. Over the period, national production trends did increase somewhat. Both paddy and wheat yields are reported to have increased and Nepal went from being a net importer of rice for most of the 1990s to a modest surplus in 1999/2000. However, since technology takes a number of years to pass through the system from identification to adoption, it is not possible to attribute any change in agricultural productivity at this early stage to project interventions.With respect to objective (b), there was some increase in the number of groups formed by field agents but sustainability was a problem. The ICR notes that many farmers still see the extension service simply as a source of subsidized inputs.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

There were a few positive outcomes including: a reported significant change in mindset of staff as to how operations can be more efficient and the importance of developing partnerships to achieve this; some improvement in the linkage between the Department of Agriculture and the National Agriculture Research Council (NARC); a significant amount of training; the finalization and approval of the National Agricultural Research Council's (NARC) 2020 Vision document - although it still has to be endorsed by the cabinet; some improvement in the management of the research program at the regional level; some improvement in research prioritization; some improvement in liaison with extension; and, the Regional Technology Working Groups now provide an effective forum where staff from all agencies can exchange ideas.

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

There were many shortcomings.The NARC was not able to fully institutionalize the necessary organizational and procedural reforms. None of the vacant NARC positions were filled. There was no net redeployment of scientists from Kathmandu to priority regional programs. The extension component has not yet led to widespread improved service delivery mechanisms. After more than seven years of earlier intermittent preparation work, final preparation and appraisal was rushed and went well ahead of borrower ownership. However, performance was negatively impacted by a deteriorating security situation in the final year of the project, greatly constraining the ability to do field work.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Institutional Dev.:
Bank Performance:
Borrower Perf.:
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

The main ICR lessons, which are sound, include:
  • Major institutional reform and adoption of new management systems requires long-term support and is only possible with broad commitment from the borrower.
  • Project preparation should include a thorough institutional and organizational analysis of project agencies to achieve commitment and effective project implementation arrangements.
  • The need for a Project Coordination Unit should be carefully assessed and justified. (In this case, as in many cases, this arrangement impacted negatively on institutional sustainability).
  • Both technical assistance and training need to be planned for and mplemented very early if they are to positively impact on the project.
This ES adds a further lesson, that when projects are significantly changed, whether formally or informally restructured, the objectives and the supporting intermediate milestones should be very carefully revisited. OED sees many cases where results-based performance suffers because objectives are left alone but design is signifcantly adjusted.

8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

          Why?  Not the highest priority for a PPAR, but a medium priority. The ES agrees with the ICR ratings. However, while performance was clearly poor, there appears to be some evidence of changed borrower thinking and processes in the second half of the project which, if funds had been available for an extension, might have been a basis for somewhat improved performance. A further look at sustainability would be of interest. It would also be instructive to understand better why quality at entry was so weak after the experience of the earlier projects and such a long lead time.

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

Overall, the ICR is satisfactory, but it could have attempted to offer more evidence related to the original objectives which included location-specific specific technology and farmer consultation and improved delivery systems. Evidence in these areas may be very limited but the ICR focusses mainly on the implementation of the revised components, which were means to the ends, as opposed to the objectives.

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