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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Lb-irrigation

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Project Costs(US $M)
 70.5  78.4
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 57.2  57.0
Sector, Major Sect.:
Agricultural extension and research, Irrigation & drainage, Central government administration, Sub-national government administration,
Agriculture fishing and forestry; Agriculture fishing and forestry; Law and justice and public administration; Law and justice and public administration
Cofinancing (US $M)
 0  7.8
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
06/30/2001 04/30/2004
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
John English
George T. K. Pitman Alain A. Barbu OEDST

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The project was prepared and appraised in 1993 in the aftermath of the 15 year long Lebanese Civil War. Its objectives were to: (a) increase agricultural production, agriculture-based income and employment in previously neglected rural areas; and (b) to achieve a sustainable and improved management of resources through (i) the rehabilitation and adequate operation and maintenance (O & M) of irrigation infrastructure, and (ii) the provision of basic public agricultural support services.

b. Components
The project, as appraised in the ICR, comprised two major components:

  • Irrigation Rehabilitation: (US$61.0 million, or 86.5 percent of project cost - actual expenditure was about US$67 million) This component planned to rehabilitate and modernize surface irrigation infrastructure for an area of about 27,000 ha., including five identified major schemes (17,000 has.) and small and medium schemes for a total of about 10,000 ha. The small and medium schemes were to be selected on the basis of criteria reflecting a combination of ERR, community participation, poverty and potential impact on rural income.
  • Institutional Strengthening: (US$9.5 million or 13.5 percent of total cost - actual expenditure was about US$11.5 million). This aimed at providing support to the national public institutions involved in project implementation, and to regional and local institutions involved in the O & M of irrigation schemes. It mainly comprised civil works, and TA and training, with three subcomponents:
(i) Irrigation and water management institutions (US$5.0 million), to support selected departments in the Ministry of Energy and Water (MOEW), the Litani River Authority (LRA), and restructured organizations directly involved in the implementation of the schemes, and also to increase the capacity of MOEW and LRA to carry out environmental monitoring.
(ii) Agricultural services (US$4.2 million), to strengthen basic public services in the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the Agricultural Research Institute of Lebanon (ARIL) in areas of applied research, on-farm technology testing and extension, and environmental quality control (farm inputs and pesticide residues).
(iii) Support to project implementation and coordination by MEOW's irrigation sector unit (US$0.3 million)

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
At negotiations, the government (GOL) confirmed to the Bank that it had approached IFAD to assist in funding the project. Shortly after approval, IFAD conducted its own reappraisal of the agricultural services component. Minor changes were made and it agreed a loan of SDR6.7 million.

There are some inconsistencies in the ICR in the cost tables and project description. The figures given in the above section are for the project as appraised and given in Annex 7, Table 4 of the Appraisal Report.

Final project cost was close to the appraisal estimates, but there were implementation delays and project closing was extended by 34 months to the end of April 2004. The IFAD component is ongoing, completion is expected in December 2004.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

Agricultural production, incomes and employment. The ICR cites evidence that farmers are obtaining higher crop yields because of the increased control over and reliability of water supplies. But, due to contractual delays, most rehabilitation works have only been completed in the last couple of years, and expanded extension services are also recent. An impact study carried out before completion indicated significant increases in crop yields, especially in some schemes, where yields of 40-50% above appraisal projections were reported. Cropping intensities have also increased, although not so dramatically. The ICR estimates that the ERR for the project will be 23%, compared to the appraisal estimate of 19% This implies that increased production and incomes are being achieved, but the ICR makes no estimates of the extent of achievement of these objectives.
[Parenthetically, it should be noted that the ICR reports that there have been problems in limited areas where, during the chaos of the civil war and its aftermath, farmers made a living growing illicit crops. Government and its related agencies are obviously moving to restrict such activities. This means that the income increases estimated as a result of the project may overstate the true state of affairs on the ground as the illicit crops were lucrative]

Improved management of resources. Improved conveyance and delivery of surface irrigation water have been enhanced by more efficient use, resulting in an increase in cropped area and crop yields. Water losses have been significantly reduced, especially in some schemes. In several schemes increased availability and reliability of surface irrigation water has reduced the need for farmers to resort to costly pumping of underground water, thereby drawing down vital aquifers. In two of the schemes supply of water under pressure fostered the adoption of the water-saving techniques of drip irrigation and sprinkling.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

Although the project was carried out more slowly than planned, the main physical targets had been achieved by project closing. All five major schemes, and over 10,000 ha. of small and medium schemes, have been rehabilitated or modernized (although some of the latter contracts have not yet been completed). Applied agricultural research, quality control and extension services in the main project areas have been successfully strengthened under the project.
Irrigation schemes and facilities. Irrigation infrastructure has been rehabilitated/modernized over a total of about 24,300 ha, with about 14,300 in the five large schemes and 10,000 ha in the small/medium schemes. Actual areas rehabilitated in the large schemes varied somewhat from appraisal estimates because of technical or other issues that arose as the projects were planned in detail and carried out. The quality of works is considered to be generally good.
Project beneficiaries were involved in the review and approval of rehabilitation proposals, and MOEW supported the formation of water users' associations (WUAs) in the larger schemes, where they worked actively with the project at the design and construction stages.

Institutional strengthening The project has strengthened the capacity of MOEW and LRA to supervise and control the execution of planning studies and construction works, and to carry out environmental monitoring, through the provision of TA (mainly national consultants) and provision of vehicles and equipment.
Extension services were strengthened through the construction of centers, provision of vehicles and equipment and training of existing staff. Special programs were also organized for the rehabilitated schemes through a contract with the American University of Beirut. A central unit was established in MOA to promote programs to support extension activities for women. This group has organized a range of training sessions and has contracted with an NGO to manage a series of small-scale income-generating programs.
The research programs of ARIL have been augmented through construction and rehabilitation of laboratories and greenhouses, provision of equipment and the hiring of staff, initially under renewable contracts, with many of them now taken on to the permanent staff.

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

The project was dogged by persistent delays in all aspects of implementation. Overall progress in construction was slower than originally planned, mainly due to delays in the tendering and award of contracts, and also by cumbersome procedures for approval of variation orders. This partly resulted from the fact that the central Council for Reconstruction and Development (CDR) was responsible for all procurement and disbursement matters. There were more positive reasons, in that many of the field design changes were introduced as a result of dialogue with the members of the WUAs.
However, the WUA approach was hindered by the absence of a legal framework to define the legal roles of the WUAs and the RWAs. It had been agreed at negotiations that an institutional reform law would be introduced to create the RWAs and spell out the legal framework. This was subject to continual delays until the Bank threatened suspension and the law was passed in 2000. As a result of this slow start, the RWAs were still not fully functioning at closing.

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

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

In the aftermath of turmoil and run down of government agencies, when established networks and channels have been disrupted, a high level steering committee (e.g. at inter-ministerial level) should be considered to ensure that effective coordinatioon and collaboration is re-established.
Where legal changes are required to ensure that agencies have an adequate framework for implementation, these should be required either before effectiveness or to an agreed tight timetable.

8. Audit Recommended?  No


9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR is of satisfactory quality overall although there are some discrepancies in the financial tables (see section 2 c.). Also, the discussion of the achievement of project objectives could have been elaborated upon, as it focuses more on the components than on the objectives themselves.

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