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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Emergency Support To Enhance Food Security (esefs)


  
1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
03/13/2014   
Country:
Benin
PROJ ID:
P120052
Appraisal
Actual
Project Name:
Emergency Support To Enhance Food Security (esefs)
Project Costs(US $M)
 8.40  7.98
L/C Number:
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 8.40  7.98
Sector Board:
Agriculture and Rural Development
Cofinancing (US $M)
   
Cofinanciers:
Board Approval Date
  05/11/2010
 
 
Closing Date
08/31/2011 12/31/2011
Sector(s):
Crops (60%), Irrigation and drainage (40%)
Theme(s):
Global food crisis response (100%)
         
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
Asa Giertz
Robert Mark Lacey Christopher David Nelson IEGPS1

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:
The Project Development Objective as stated in the Trust Fund Grant Agreement and in the Emergency Project Paper is “to increase the domestic production of food crops (mainly maize and rice) in selected areas of the Recipient's territory." Key outcome targets were to to (a) increase rice production in targeted areas with 3,500 tons (to a total of 61,500 tons) and (b) to increase maize production in targeted areas with 12,000 tons (to at total of 202,000 tons).

b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?
No

c. Components:
The Project had three components:

1. Delivery of agricultural inputs (appraisal US$3.13/€2.42 million, actual US$2.54/€1.87 million). This component was to deliver 3,275 tons of fertilizers and 545 tons of improved seeds to about 15,500 producers during the 2010 cropping season. The fertilizers were to be subsidized at about 40 percent of the market price, using a cost-recovery mechanism. The distribution of improved seeds was to be financed by the Government. This component was also to finance the incremental costs of advisory services to the beneficiaries on the proper use of the provided inputs. Finally, the component was to support a pilot of a market based input delivery mechanism that was being developed under the parallel IDA financed Emergency Food Security Support Project.

2. Rehabilitation of small-scale irrigation schemes (appraisal US$4.5/€3.48 million, actual US$4.61/€3.4 million). This component was to increase access to irrigation for cereal producers in order to intensify food production. The component built on an on-going initiative under the Emergency Food Security Support Program (PUASA, the Government's own short-term food security program) to develop small scale irrigation infrastructure. 5,000 hectares were already covered under the PUASA and the component was to support an additional 3,000 hectares in the Niger, Mono, and Couffo river valleys, and in the lowlands of the hill regions. In addition, the component was to support the construction of post-harvest infrastructure (35 storehouses and 70 drying areas) in the same areas, with the purpose of decreasing post-harvest losses.

3. Support for project coordination and monitoring and evaluation (M&E, appraisal US$0.44/€0.34 million, actual US$0.83/€0.61). This component was to support the PUASA Project Management Unit in carrying out its coordination, fiduciary, and M&E responsibilities. The M&E activities were to include an analysis of national food crops (maize, rice, cassava, and yam) market price trends over the 2008-11 time period. The grant was also to support training, acquisition of equipment, office supplies, and other incremental operating costs for the PMU.

Contingencies of €0.26 (US$0.33) million were included in the project grant. The project was denominated in euros.

d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
Project Cost: Actual project cost was US$7.98 million, 95% of the appraisal estimate of US$8.40 million. Savings were made under Component 1 mainly because fertilizer prices had gone down. These savings were used for other goods and services, so thatboth Components 2 and 3 exceeded the originally estimated costs. Irrigation equipment proved less costly than anticipated, and more equipment was therefore procured.

Financing: The Project was fully financed by the European Union Food Crisis Rapid Response Facility Trust Fund under the Global Food Crisis Response Program. €5.88 million (US$7.98 equivalent) were disbursed from the originally approved Grant of €6.50 million (S$8.41 million equivalent).

Borrower Contribution: No financial Borrower contribution was expected and none materialized. However, the Government distributed 784 tons of improved seeds free of charge to maize and rice producers.

Dates: The project was extended by 4 months from August 31, 2011 to December 31, 2011. Delays, mainly due to slow Government procurement procedures, resulted in project activities under all three components not being completed at the time of the original closing date.


3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

a. Relevance of Objectives:
Rating: Substantial
The project’s objective is relevant to the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS, Fiscal Years 2009-2012), supporting Benin's Growth Strategy for Poverty Reduction, and in particular to the CAS goal of “enhanced contribution of the Agriculture Sector to growth.” This CAS goal in turn supports the Growth Strategy for Poverty Reduction Country Outcome of “diversification of the economy, in particular agriculture and development of new enterprises.”

The objective is also relevant to the objectives of the Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP), which are to (i) reduce the negative impact of the high volatile food prices on the lives of the poor in a timely way; (ii) support governments in the design of sustainable policies that mitigate the adverse impact of high and more volatile food prices on poverty while minimizing the creation of long-term market distortions; and (iii) support broad-based growth, productivity, and market participation in agriculture to ensure an adequate and sustainable supply response.

The objective was partially relevant to the Government’s broader goal of reducing domestic food prices. Although, ceteris paribus, increased output may be expected to lead to lower prices, this may not necessarily be the case in an open economy nor in a situation of high post-harvest losses and limited access to markets.

b. Relevance of Design:
Rating: Substantial
The project development objectives were clear, measurable, and appropriately simple for an emergency operation of this nature. Given the stated objective, the design was relevant. Input activities, and intended outputs and outcomes, could reasonably have been expected to lead to the achievement of the development objective and of the CAS goal of enhancing the contribution of the agricultural sector to growth. The components support this causal chain both in the short-term (through facilitated access to inputs) and in the long-term through investments in irrigation and post-harvest infrastructure. The component descriptions and activity schedule in the Emergency Project Paper explain in detail the targeted areas, the beneficiaries, and the scope of the inputs. The intended outcomes, in terms of increased maize and rice production are virtually synonymous with the objective.


4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

1. To increase domestic production of rice in targeted areas: Substantial

In order to increase rice production, 320 tons of seeds were provided to rice producers, and it is estimated that about one thousand hectares of rice were cultivated with an adequate amount of fertilizers (Borrower's ICR, p. 72 in ICR). While the irrigation infrastructure provided under Component 2 may have had positive effects on production, the ICR’s results framework does not break down this indicator between different types of crop production. This is also the case for the technical assistance provided under the project. It is therefore difficult to draw any conclusions about the exact impact of these activities on rice production.

According to the results framework in the ICR, the project resulted in an increase in rice production of 4,094 tons in the targeted areas (from 58,000 tons in 2009 to 62,094 in 2011, slightly in excess of the target of 61,500 tons). The ICR’s results framework does not indicate how this compares to the rest of the country. Instead, the economic analysis in the ICR shows that average yields for production supported by the project ranged from 4.0 to 6.5 tons per hectare, compared with 2.0 to 3.0 tons per hectare in areas outside the project.

2. To increase domestic production of maize in targeted areas: Substantial.

To increase maize production, 464 tons of seeds were provided to maize producers under the project and 6,321 hectares of maize were cultivated with an adequate amount of fertilizers (Borrower's ICR, p. 72 in ICR). Again, it is not clear to what extent other activities under the project impacted maize as opposed to other crop production.

According to the results framework in the ICR, the project resulted in an increase in maize production of 14,066 tons in the targeted areas (from 190,000 tons in 2009 to 204,066 in 2011, slightly exceeding the target of 202,000 tons). As in the case of rice, the results framework does not indicate how this compares to the rest of the country. However, the economic analysis shows that average yields with project ranged from 2.5 to 3.5 tons per hectare, compared with 1.25 to 1.50 tons per hectare in areas outside the project.

5. Efficiency:

An economic and financial analysis was carried out after project implementation. It showed that the improved inputs and the investments in irrigation infrastructure and storage had a positive effect on farm incomes, even when taking into account the full market cost of the fertilizer provided.

Rice: As noted above, average yields in the project areas ranged from 4.0 to 6.5 tons per hectare, compared with 2.0 to 3.0 tons per hectare in areas outside the project. This resulted in an average net income per hectare of CFAF161, 000-340,120 in the project areas depending on the type of production systems, compared with CFAF 41,100-125,000 without the project, depending on the type of production system.

Maize: Average yields in the project areas ranged from 2.5 to 3.5 tons per hectare, compared with 1.25 to 1.50 tons per hectare in areas outside the project. This resulted in an average net income per hectare of CFAF 291,280-494,350 in the project areas depending on the type of production systems, compared with CFAF 20,500-58,000 without the project, depending on the type of production system.

It should be noted that the analysis does not discuss differences in agro-ecological conditions in the different regions, and it is assumed that these conditions are comparable in project and non-project areas.

Economic benefits from positive social and macroeconomic externalities (such as improved food security by increasing food available for household consumption, improved human capital through advisory services provided, reduction in the use of foreign exchange reserves for food imports) were noted but not quantitatively estimated in the ICR.

Significant savings under the irrigation infrastructure activity resulted in the activity exceeding its targets; in the end, small-scale irrigation activities were developed in an area of 4,820 hectares with 5,044 producers, compared with the targeted 3,000 hectares and 3,000 producers.

There were some operational and administrative inefficiencies. Central Government procurement policies, administration and management, as well as Customs procedures, delayed the provision of goods and services during project implementation and necessitated an extension of the closing date by four months. A considerable share of the infrastructure and equipment was only procured at a late stage of implementation, and was consequently unavailable to beneficiaries during the 2011 growing season. There were no cost overruns.

Efficiency is assessed as substantial.

a. If available, enter the Economic Rate of Return (ERR)/Financial Rate of Return at appraisal and the re-estimated value at evaluation:


Rate Available?
Point Value
Coverage/Scope*
Appraisal:
No
%
%
ICR estimate:
No
%
%

* Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated

6. Outcome:

The relevance of objectives and design are rated substantial. Efficacy of the two main objectives – increasing rice and maize production in the areas targeted by the project – is assessed as substantial. Net income per hectare increased relative to areas outside the project, and there were significant savings under the irrigation infrastructure activity. Efficiency is therefore assessed as substantial, despite delays caused mainly by Central Government procurement policies and management. Overall outcome is rated satisfactory.

a. Outcome Rating: Satisfactory

7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

Given that this was a one-time emergency operation, supporting crop production during one season, the outcomes under the project were not necessarily intended to be sustained beyond the season. The pilot of a market-based input delivery mechanism planned under the project could have been a basis for institutionalized support to the sector in this regard, but the pilot was not implemented. A study was conducted under the project on how to facilitate access to input credit for food crop farmers, but the time remaining under the project did not allow for implementation of the pilot and this will instead be done under the follow-up agricultural diversification project.

It should also be noted that the project provided training to advisory services and farmers, and allowed farmers to see the benefits of better use of seeds and fertilizers. Their increased income from higher yields under the project may also have allowed farmers to invest in seeds and fertilizers for future planting seasons. All of this is likely to have a positive impact on future planting methods and yields.

Other risks to development outcomes ratings include rising seeds and fertilizer prices, environmental impacts, and water availability, all of which can affect production. Output prices would also affect input use and incentives to produce the given crops.

a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: Moderate

8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

a. Quality at entry:
According to the ICR, the project was prepared by an experienced Task Team that benefitted from the experience gained under the on-going Emergency Food Security Support Project and guidance provided in the GFRP Framework document. The Team worked very closely with Benin’s Ministry of Agriculture and consulted with the European Commission as well as with other donors. The Team also reportedly received strong management support and the project became effective five months after the decision meeting.

The strategic approach of focusing on increasing productivity was reasonable given the dual aim of ensuring sustained domestic food production and strengthening food security for the rural population, who often are both food consumers and producers.

A number of risks were identified of which financial management capacity and procurement capacity were rated as most significant. Appropriate mitigating measures were specified, including strengthening the capacity of beneficiary communities to handle financial management activities, and support to the Project Management Unit (PMU) by the Grassroots Initiative Financing Agency (Agence de Financement des Initiatives de Base – AGEFIB), an entity with considerable and successful experience of Bank financed projects, including those involving a community driven development approach. In addition, a procurement officer was recruited to strengthen the PMU.

The inclusion of producer organizations and the private sector in the project’s steering committee was beneficial. These stakeholders contributed considerably to the fertilizer distribution arrangements made during preparation.

M&E design was weak (see section 10a below).

Quality-at-Entry Rating: Satisfactory

b. Quality of supervision:
According to the ICR, supervision was timely and pro-active. After effectiveness, the Task Team Leadership was taken over by a staff member in the Country Office, which strengthened implementation support on the part of the Bank. Although four supervision missions were planned for in the Emergency Project Paper, only three were necessary since the Task Team Leader was located in the country. Discussions with the project team indicated that the procurement process required persistent follow-up from the World Bank. The Team also showed pro-activity in the efforts it made to adjust procurement methods in order to maximize the geographical scope covered by the project under Component 2 (rehabilitation of small-scale irrigation schemes). The Project received continual support from the World Bank's safeguards, financial management, and procurement specialists.

Quality of Supervision Rating: Satisfactory

Overall Bank Performance Rating: Satisfactory

9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

a. Government Performance:
The Government made appropriate institutional arrangements for implementing the project in accordance with agreements reached during preparation. The prerequisites for disbursement were satisfied, and the Government made an important counterpart contribution through the provision of 784 tons of improved seed distributed free of charge to maize and rice producers.

However, the Government did not put in place effective procurement arrangements, and caused difficulties beyond those that could be explained by capacity weaknesses. For example, after the Bank gave its no objection for the construction of crop drying areas, the Government was still reluctant to award the contract. Moreover, procurement administration and management as well as Customs procedures delayed the provision of goods and services during project implementation and necessitated an extension of the closing date. A considerable share of the infrastructure and equipment was only procured at a late stage of implementation, and was consequently unavailable to beneficiaries during the 2011 growing season.

Government Performance Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

b. Implementing Agency Performance:
The Project Management Unit (PMU) carried out activities according to the implementation plan, managed those aspects of procurement that were in its power satisfactorily, and complied with the World Bank's financial management criteria. The PMU had been established under the Government’s broader Emergency Food Security Program two years before the appraisal of the project and was located within the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. The Unit had adequate staff capacity, including an M&E specialist. The PMU managed financial, administrative, and accounting arrangements under the Project and sent quarterly Interim Financial Reports that were of satisfactory quality to the Bank. The PMU also did well in monitoring impacts of the project not covered in the M&E framework.

Implementing partners were MAEP’s Regional Centers for Agriculture Promotion (CERPA), Community-level Centers of Agricultural Promotion (CECPA), and the Directorate of Rural Engineering (DGR), as well as producer organizations, and the Grassroots Initiative Financing Agency (AGEFIB). These implementing partners had key roles in day-to-day implementation: The CERPA and CECPA were responsible for facilitating the contractual relationship between the PMU and the producer organizations, including the fertilizer cost recovery activities; storing and distributing the fertilizer and improved seed; providing advisory services; and strengthening the technical capacity of the producer organizations. The DGR was responsible for the specific identification of the small-scale irrigation sites; the design of the irrigation perimeters and technical description of work to be done; and monitoring the quality of implementation. AGEFIB was responsible for pre-screening disbursement requests submitted by local communities and strengthening their financial management capacity when necessary. All performed their responsibilities satisfactorily. The PMU coordinated well with the key implementing partners and ensured that activities were implemented according to contracts.

Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Satisfactory

Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

10. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

a. M&E Design:
While the M&E framework covered most activities under the project, it was strongly focused on outputs rather than outcomes. Monitored outcome indicators were: production of rice and maize in the areas supported by the project, and the number of direct beneficiaries under the project. Further, while the project components in detail describe how the inputs should be allocated between project areas and type of production, the M&E framework does not monitor these parameters, which makes it difficult to understand to what extent the project supported different crops and different target areas. This also applies to outputs monitored under Component 2 (investment in irrigation and post-harvest infrastructure), which complicates determining the impacts of these investments. Nor does the framework monitor gender, even though the EPP does express certain expectations in terms of female participation. Finally, the M&E framework does not include monitoring of cost recovery under the pesticide program, nor the implementation/success of the market-based input delivery pilot. Baseline data were provided for Component 1.

Baseline values for rice and maize production in project areas were determined.

The PMU had the main responsibility for M&E and was assigned a full-time M&E Specialist. However, data were to be collected through partner arrangements at a decentralized level.

b. M&E Implementation:
M&E was carried out in accordance with the framework designed in the Emergency Project Paper. Quarterly reports were submitted to the Bank by the PMU. Results were also sent to the Ministry of Agriculture In order to facilitate M&E (the development and use of the Monitoring and Evaluation Manual, certain equipment and technical assistance were provided to the PMU and the local agriculture service center (Centre Communal pour la Promotion Agricole, (CCPA). The ICR (page 6)notes that M&E reporting was delayed because the equipment provided to facilitate monitoring of the project took some time to install and put into use (p. 6 of the ICR).

a. M&E Utilization:
The ICR does not discuss M&E utilization.

M&E Quality Rating: Modest

11. Other Issues:

a. Safeguards:
The project was classified as Category “B” for Environmental Assessment purposes. As well as Environmental Assessment (OP/BP 4.01), two safeguards were triggered: Pest Management (OP/BP 4.09), and; Projects on International Waterways (OP/BP 7.50).

Environment and Pest Management: The ICR reports that an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) had been prepared for the already on-going Emergency Food Security Support Project and was updated to include mitigation measures for small-scale irrigation and post-harvest infrastructure. Training of farmers and Government officials, extension agents, and municipal officers took place in environmental mitigation. In addition to training on the Environmental and Social Management Framework, this included capacity building in sustainable irrigation water management and on fertilizer and pesticide management (storage and usage). The EPP included a plan to procure 15 piezometers to monitor water levels. However, according to the project team, the bids received under the project were four to five times the price that could be found on-line for the same equipment, and it was therefore decided not to proceed with this procurement package. The project’s irrigation infrastructure investments were limited to small pumps and wells, which consumed relatively low quantities of water, and the Niger Basin Authority helped monitor water levels. Overall safeguards compliance was rated satisfactory in supervision reports throughout implementation. However, there is no clear statement in the ICR that OP 4.01 and OP 4.09 were compiled with.

International Waterways. According to the EPP, the Niger Basin Authority gave its no objection to the Project, prior to implementation, in accordance with the Bank Policy on Projects on International Waterways, and ground water levels were monitored throughout the project on different sites according to the agreement with the Authority.

b. Fiduciary Compliance:
Procurement: Procurement arrangements had been established before the start of the Project, given that the Project used the same PMU as the Emergency Food Security Support Project. To further ensure a smooth implementation process, bidding documents had been prepared by the PMU during the preparation phase. Despite this, the Government held up procurement after the Bank had given no objections, and did not agree to sign certain contracts. This caused delays in project implementation and eventually led to a four month extension.
The wells that were to be procured under Component 2 proved to be seven to ten times more expensive than the budget allowed for given the area coverage. Instead, a Farmers’ Organization organized community procurement that was monitored by the farmers and through this saved money and time. The project awarded more than the 48 contracts that were eventually implemented, but the Ministry of Finance held up the contracts too long. In the end, according to the project team, the Bank recommended not to start implementation of these contracts since there was a risk that they would not be fully implemented by project closing.

Filing of procurement documentation was adequate and procurement was rated satisfactory to moderately satisfactory in supervision reports throughout project implementation. There were no reported cases of misprocurement.

Financial Management: Financial management was rated satisfactory in supervision reports throughout project implementation and annual audits were made of PMU accounts in 2010 and 2011 (A last audit was done in June and therefore not included in the ICR.) The ICR (p. 8) reports that the 2010 and 2011 audits were unqualified.

c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):
None reported

d. Other:
None



12. Ratings:

ICR
IEG Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
Outcome:
Satisfactory
Satisfactory
 
Risk to Development Outcome:
Moderate
Moderate
 
Bank Performance:
Satisfactory
Satisfactory
 
Borrower Performance:
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Satisfactory
I 
Quality of ICR:
 
Satisfactory
 
NOTES:
- 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.
- The "Reason for Disagreement/Comments" column could cross-reference other sections of the ICR Review, as appropriate.

13. Lessons:
The following lessons are taken from the ICR with some adaptation of language:
  • Obstructive and cumbersome procurement policies and procedures at the central level will likely cancel out the best efforts to introduce greater efficiency and celerity at project level. Such policies and procedures are best tackled as part of a Government-wide reform effort since they affect all externally-financed projects.
  • The involvement of local communities, backed by an appropriate administrative structure, will support the sustainability of project-financed facilities.In this case, local committees of representatives of farmer organizations and municipalities played an important role in the management and maintenance of storage facilities, drying areas and irrigation infrastructure.
  • The limited involvement of women in some of the project’s activities was, at least in part, the result of a lack of effective and visible gender mainstreaming in project design.
  • Input subsidies are easy to initiate but difficult to end. They are, however, likely to be unsustainable because of budgetary constraints. A sound market-based system needs to be pursued as soon as possible.

14. Assessment Recommended?

No

15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The overall quality of the ICR was good, and it provided ample evidence on implementation and outcomes. The gender discussion in the ICR, although not directly relevant to the project’s objectives, is important, especially given that the Emergency Project Paper gave guidance on female participation in agriculture in different targeted areas. Attention was also paid to issues such as environmental mitigation and impacts, although there was no clear statement of compliance with safeguards policies. The main text of the ICR could have drawn more from the economic analysis in Annex 3 to clarify the comparison of results in project and non-project areas. The results story could have been further strengthened by looking at longer time series on yields for the relevant crops in project and non-project areas. There is a discrepancy between the Grantee Performance Rating in the Data Sheet and that in the main text of the ICR.

a. Quality of ICR Rating: Satisfactory

(ICRR-Rev6INV-Jun-2011)
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