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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Mr Integ Dev Prog For Irrigated Agric

1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
Project Name:
Mr Integ Dev Prog For Irrigated Agric
Project Costs(US $M)
 46.02  43.09
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 39.14  40.17
Sector, Major Sect.:
Agricultural extension and research, Crops, Irrigation and drainage, General public administration sector, Roads and highways,
Agriculture fishing and forestry; Agriculture fishing and forestry; Agriculture fishing and forestry; Law and justice and public administration; Transportation
Cofinancing (US $M)
 0  0
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
12/31/2002 06/30/2005
Evaluator: Panel Reviewer: Division Manager: Division:  
Elaine Wee-Ling Ooi
George T. K. Pitman Alain A. Barbu IEGSG

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The project was the first of a 3-phase of an 11 year APL supporting the Integrated Development Program for Irrigated Agriculture in Mauritania (IDPIAM). The program's objective was to increase agriculture, value added income and employment to the population living in the Senegal River Valley. The overall IDA program aims for the rehabilitation of 11,000 ha and new construction of 2,000 ha. Parallel support from other donors was expected to rehabilitate an additional 10,000 ha. The objective of the first phase (this project) was to lay the foundations for a sustainable development of 3,100 ha irrigated agriculture in technical, financial, environmental and socioeconomic terms.

b. Components (or Key Conditions in the case of Adjustment Loans):

  1. Development of a sound policy, legal and institutional framework ($ 3.74 estimated) - strengthening key implementing agencies and support for an agro-pastoral information system
  2. Development of basic infrastructure ( $ 13.16m estimated) - rehabilitation/extention/creation of private irrigated schemes.
  3. Support to farm management and organization ($1.11m estimated) - technical support to farming groups
  4. Support for traditional crops subsector ($11.70 m estimated) - technical support for enhancing rice yields/quality.
  5. Diversification promotion ($8.07 m estimated) - promoting growth of vegetables and fruits for export.
  6. Environmental impact mitigation measures ($ 3.14m estimated) - environmental monitoring / evaluation, development of land use plans, and environmental mitigation measures.
  7. Project management, supervision, monitoring and evaluation ($3.85m estimated).
Actual costs by component were not available.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
At appraisal, government commitment was $3.63 million, and beneficiary contributions were to be $4.25 million. To reduce project complexity, IDA decided against seeking cofinancing from other donors for the first phase. Actual expenditures from government amounted to $2.93 million. No data was available on actual beneficiary contributions. The project was extended by 2.5 years due to implementation delays, due primarily to its complexity and ambitious nature, and a lesser extent to the floods of 1999.

3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

The project supports the overall IDPIAM which is highly relevant to the 1997 CAS and the government's objective of achieving rapid, equitable and sustainable growth; and creating employment and reducing poverty. The IDPIAM is also consistent with and seeks to implement Mauritania's Rural Development Strategy. This Strategy specifically aims at promoting the growth of diversified and competitive agriculture, promote employment and alleviate rural poverty, and reduce degradation of the natural resource base upon which agricultural production depends.

However the project design was highly complex and had very ambitious targets not in keeping with the capacity of the country. The original implementation period of 3 years, attempted to address many issues in rural development (agricultural diversification, subsidies, service delivery, safeguards, land tenure, ownership and registration etc), and required the simultaneous adoption of difficult reforms, development/rehabilitation of civil works (irrigation), and restructuring of some key agencies, in order to achieve its physical targets and objectives. There were 14 implementation agencies across different sectors. The risks for the largest component that was intended to rehabilitate / create irrigated land schemes without which there would be no sustainable agriculture, were not adequately managed.

4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

The objective to lay the foundations for a sustainable development of irrigated agriculture in technical, financial, environmental and socioeconomic terms was substantially achieved but with significant shortcomings. Except for the environmental aspects, the foundations have been laid for sustainable development in the rural sector of Mauritania. Targets for the rehabilitation and expansion of irrigation in project areas was not met, and project M&E had to be substantially revised.

The project provided all the essential elements and an enabling environment to develop and sustain growth in the agricultural sector of rural Mauritania as follows:-

    Institutional Development
  • A sound legal, policy and institutional framework has been developed to govern and provide technical support for the newly introduced agricultural activities. Project interventions were grounded in technical studies.
  • The principal public players (National Agency for Rural Development {SONADER}, Union of Agricultural Savings & Loan Cooperatives {UNCACEM} and the PCU-PDIAIM) were restructured where needed, and their capacities developed. Service delivery has improved through the use of client focused participatory methods and diagnostic tools, the use of performance contracts and fostering of the private sector as service providers.
  • The transportation and market for agricultural products were liberalized. In particular, subsidies for local rice production were removed, introducing healthy competition into the local rice industry as they competed against imports. Improved quality and yields eventualized, and the demand for and market price of local rice increased. The revitalization of the local rice industry benefitted local rice millers and traders.
  • Individual farmers and farm cooperatives were provided training in finance, management and technical know-how, as well as the means to access to credit to purchase agricultural inputs/equipment, and to market their products.
  • Progress in land tenure and registration was slow until IDA took over the financial support of the Bureau of Land Tenure after its funding from the EU had dried up. Eventually by 2005, 37,000 ha (out of 45,000 ha) of land suitable for rice cultivation were registered.

  • Agricultural diversification was successfully initiated, particularly the production of vegetables and fruits for export to Europe and Senegal. Starting from 100 tons in 2000, by 2003/04 a total of 1,800 tons of produce had been exported to Europe - a major achievement . However it is unclear from the ICR if only the larger conglomerates benefitted from this initiative. GDM the local subsidiary of an international producer/exporter of fruits and vegetables appeared to be the primary beneficiary. GDM and another large company also received $1.2m worth of credit from UNCACEM.
  • The rehabilitation and expansion of irrigation schemes was central to sustaining agriculture in much of Mauritania's dry lands. Delays in land registration, unattractiveness of the financing scheme offered to participants and the overly demanding compliance guidelines were factors for the low demand. After the guidelines and financing scheme were revised, a 1,000 ha of land were rehabilitated (compared to 3100 ha anticipated at appraisal). At project close none of the 1,000 ha had gone into production and farmer participation in the irrigation scheme offered by the project was low.
  • UNCACEM administered the rural credit mechanism effectively, dispensing a total of $15.4m (against appraisal estimates of $17m), in compliance with predetermined criteria. With project assistance UNCACEM has diversified and expanded its portfolio from short term lending mainly for rice cultivation, to supporting all agricultural activities described above and the undertaking of medium and long term loans. It achieved operational and self sufficiency in 2002, fulfilling one of the project's key performance indicators and triggers to move into phase 2 of the APL. From 1999-2003, UNCACEM's average annual increase in net income was 26%, with staff operating costs of 11% and total operating costs of 9% each year. A nascent private sector of small companies/cooperatives has been assisted by UNCACEM.
  • While the ICR reported 91 applications for credit have been approved for crop diversification activities, worth $2.4 m, it is less clear to what extent the small farmers and women's groups (the primary target groups of the project) were able to benefit from this initiative.
  • The environmental aspects of the project lagged behind the others. There appeared a lack of integration between the environmental and other project activities. The ICR noted the difficulty of determining the quantity and quality of activities undertaken by the Rural Environment Directorate, the implementing agency for environment in this project. Only a fraction of technical studies were carried out - the majority (including feasibility and environmental assessment studies) were delayed due to staff inexperience in procurement. Key outputs planned such as the formulation of a land use plan, the establishment of environmental norms, and the establishment of an environmental data base and monitoring system had not been carried out by project close.
  • All the triggers for phase 1(Annex 1 page 37, PAD) and most of the project performance indicators (Annex 2 page 71, PAD) were met.

5. Efficiency:

The PAD had estimated the overall ERR (based on yields from the irrigated lands) for APL 1 to be 28.4%, on the assumption that the project targets would be achieved within 3 years. The ICR stated it did not calculate the ERR because the 3000 odd hectares of land to be rehabilitated and go into production did not take place. Given this, the results of section 4 and the extension of project closing date, overall project efficiency was estimated to be less than 10%.
6. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

At appraisal a comprehensive M&E system was planned. However given the complexity of the project and the multiple implementing agencies, and the different tiers of implementation (national and regional), the coordination of collection, sharing and use of data presented a major challenge. The Government described the complexity of having 75 performance indicators, many of which were impossible to quantify, measure and monitor. These were substantially revised and scaled down to 16 after the MTR. Overall, the project coordination unit in the Ministry of Rural Development and Environment (MRDE) capably tracked project activities and progress, the impact of rice liberalization, and the developments in market development and diversification. Knowledge management and dissemination among stakeholders is satisfactory, and the project has maintained an active website.
It is not clear if the beneficiary surveys (e.g. satisfactory access to agricultural services for poor families) were actually carried out as planned.
7. Other (Safeguards, Fiduciary, Unintended Impacts--Positive & Negative):

The project was category A. Safeguards with respect to pest management and linkages with the health sector to avert the threat of malaria were carried out as planned. However the land use plan and environmental assessment studies attendant to large scale irrigation schemes were not completed by project close.

8. Ratings:
ICR Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
SatisfactoryModerately SatisfactoryThe project achieved most of its important objectives but with significant shortcomings on physical components.
Institutional Dev.: 
Bank Perf.: 
SatisfactorySatisfactoryPoor QAE which subjected project to risk and required a 2 year extension, was offset by high quality supervision.
Borrower Perf.: 
Quality of ICR: 

- When insufficient information is provided by the Bank for IEG to arrive at a clear rating, IEG will downgrade the relevant ratings as warranted beginning July 1, 2006.
- ICR rating values flagged with ' * ' don't comply with OP/BP 13.55, but are listed for completeness.

9. Lessons:

Agricultural diversification in Mauritania is a viable growth and employment strategy and should be strongly promoted. Care should also be taken to ensure that the smaller farmers and women's groups equally benefit from such initiatives.
  • An efficient M&E system should be designed early at project start and should be easily accessible and user friendly, to provide timely and reliable data for implementing agencies and project management. This is especially important when there are multiple implementing agencies across different sectors.
  • Cooperative farmers are the ones most interested and in need of participating in irrigation schemes. Thus more attention should be paid to providing incentives such as access to credit, transparent subsidies and cofinancing, and the registration of their lands.

10. Assessment Recommended?  No


11. Comments on Quality of ICR:

Given the complexity of the project, the ICR did a sound job of describing the project experience. However there are gaps. It should have elaborated on the achievement of objectives against the key performance indicators and on the triggers instead of just stating they have been achieved and then reporting on the components without linking these adequately with the stated development objective. The discussion on M&E could have been expanded - - It was unclear if the beneficiary assessments took place, and what the results were. The poverty alleviation impact of the project on small farmers and women's groups could have been elaborated on, especially with respect to the crop diversification initiative where the PAD had anticipated the planting of vegetables would have benefitted women. ICR reported that financial management and accounting was fully satisfactory which makes it puzzling why financial data (costs) by project component were not available.

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