This document has a restricted distribution and may be used by recipients only in the performance of their official duties. Its contents may not otherwise be disclosed without World Bank authorization. The Zambia Agricultural Research and Extension Project, supported by Credit 1746-ZM for US$13 million, was approved in FY87. The project was closed one year behind schedule in FY97 and an undisbursed balance of US$0.3 million canceled. Cofinancing was provided by the African Development Fund (US$12.6 million), Norway (US$7.2 million) and Zambia (US$6.0 million). The Implementation Completion Report (ICR) was prepared by the Africa regional office. The Borrower’s comments are included as an appendix. No comments were received from the cofinanciers.
The overall objective of the project was to raise the productivity of Zambia’s agricultural sector by improving the research and extension services, particularly for smallholders. The specific objectives of the project were to strengthen existing institutions and infrastructure; upgrade human resources; strengthen research-extension linkages; establish a Training and Visit (T&V) extension system; and promote better coordination of external assistance. The project, to be implemented over a period of eight years, was to support: research services for organizational restructuring, strengthening of research teams, and rationalizing and strengthening the national station network; extension services for organizational restructuring, introducing a T&V system in three of the nine provinces, and establishing an agricultural communication center; training for implementing a staff development program comprising the establishment of a Research and Extension Training Unit (RETU) and provision of fellowships; and, project management for the strengthening the Department of Agriculture to implement the project and establish a monitoring and evaluation system (M&E).
Achievement of the project’s objectives was mixed. Two important factors contributed to this. First, the project became effective in FY92, five years behind schedule, due to a lengthy suspension of disbursements to Zambia because of arrears in debt service. Second, on becoming effective the Development Credit Agreement was amended to expand the extension component to cover all nine provinces instead of the three envisaged at appraisal. Organizational restructuring of research and extension was largely successful. However, research was not successful in involving farmers in the determination of research priorities or the design/implementation of on-farm research. A T&V extension system was introduced but this was not adjusted to the varying farming conditions because of the fast pace at which the project expanded activities. Extension messages did not fully address farmer problems and tended to be input-dependent and repetitive. The RETU was not established but there was twice as much training as envisioned at appraisal. An M&E system was successfully implemented. Implementation of the extension and training components largely ignored recommendations made in the mid-term review.
The Operations Evaluation Division (OED) rates the outcome of the project as marginally unsatisfactory (marginally satisfactory in the ICR). OED notes the success in the organizational restructuring of research and extension but concludes that this success is outweighed by the failure to more fully involve farmers in the prioritization of research needs and on-farm testing. Many of the extension messages promoted were off-the-shelf blanket recommendations that did not take into account regional variation in circumstances. Sustainability is rated as unlikely (uncertain in the ICR). The continuation of the project is heavily dependent on donor support, and the Government seems unable to finance project activities, having met only 25 percent of its commitment during project implementation. OED agrees with the ICR in rating Bank performance as satisfactory, though the Bank should have made more effort to ensure that recommendations by supervision missions were implemented. Institutional development is rated as substantial (modest in the ICR) because of success with organizational restructuring and the extensive training program. Borrower performance is rated as unsatisfactory (satisfactory in ICR) because of poor financial and managerial performance.
Key lessons of the project are that: farmer involvement in determination of priorities and in design/implementation of research and extension programs is critical to their success and sustainability; and careful phasing of implementation of new and reformed extension programs is important to their success and sustainability.
The ICR is satisfactory. However, cofinanciers’ comments were not included and a greater effort by the Bank to obtain their views would have been warranted.
No audit is planned.