Mid-term Evaluation of the project "Community-Based Agriculture and Rural Development - West (CBARD-West)

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Evaluation Plan:
2015-2019, Afghanistan
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
03/2019
Completion Date:
04/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
50,000

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Title Mid-term Evaluation of the project "Community-Based Agriculture and Rural Development - West (CBARD-West)
Atlas Project Number: 00097936
Evaluation Plan: 2015-2019, Afghanistan
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2019
Planned End Date: 03/2019
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
SDG Goal
  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
SDG Target
  • 1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
  • 1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
Evaluation Budget(US $): 50,000
Source of Funding: Project resources
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 50,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL)
Countries: AFGHANISTAN
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

  1. Monitoring: For the project to make good management decisions and provide sound advice to farmers, it needs a reliable information base.  The recommendations in this section will help to develop that information base and feed into the economic analyses as well as develop monitoring information on project activities and deliverables.

2

Economic Analysis: The project needs to be sure that it is promoting the right interventions, and its extension staff need good information to help persuade and advise farmers.  These recommendations for economic analysis will help transform the monitoring data from the previous section into actionable conclusions

3

Round Two: As the project moves into its third operational year and launches its second big round of interventions, it needs to be sure that it is promoting the right interventions and delivering them in ways that maximize the beneficial impact on treatment communities

4

Access to finance remains one of the unsolved challenges of the project.  It is clear that beneficiaries want finance, but equally clear that the normal finance and micro-finance organizations simply do not yet exist in rural areas.

On marketing, it appears that output markets work better than expected, returning a higher-than-usual share of final value to the farmer, but that input supply markets are under-developed and inefficient, perhaps linked to the relatively low use of inputs on low-value crops.

5

Strengthening Extension: Extension is a key part of the project approach, implemented through Lead Farmers, Common Interest Groups and District Monitoring & Extension Advisors.  However, it depends very heavily on the capacity of Lead Farmers with rather limited training, support and experience of extension.  The next step should be to develop a more systematic approach and a strong support system for the front-line extension workers.  Attention should also be given to how farmers with orchards and greenhouses can continue to get good advice after the project finishes.

6

Project Management: The following recommendations are given for improving the project management in the project.

7

Looking Ahead: The following recommendations are given for the remainder of the project

1. Recommendation:

  1. Monitoring: For the project to make good management decisions and provide sound advice to farmers, it needs a reliable information base.  The recommendations in this section will help to develop that information base and feed into the economic analyses as well as develop monitoring information on project activities and deliverables.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/29]

The project acknowledges the need to update the monitoring systems and agree to implement the below recommendations. The project has been working on an M&E toolkit which will be updated to include the recommendations below.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Project database: The project will convert the existing spreadsheet records into a structured relational database and ensure that future data are properly checked and coded before import.
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/10/16]
CBARD project 2020/03 Initiated This key action postponed to 2020 since Management decision required. Technical support apparently offered by MAIL subject specific technical support on the content and structure of the database. History
1.2. Data exchange with UNODC: The project will arrange standard operating procedures for regular transfer of relevant data from UNODC databases to the project database.
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/07/15]
UNODC to share with CBARD project 2019/06 Completed UNODC regularly shares data as per request with UNDP and project. The operating procedures and rules of government on data sharing is followed. History
1.3. From output to impact: The project will consider methods and approaches for assessing overall project impact, ensuring that all necessary indicators are collected, and give greater prominence to indicators that strongly influence household income
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/10/16]
CBARD Project with UNDP L&R Unit Support 2020/03 Initiated Data will now be collected to allow estimation of gross margins. This currently for greenhouse crops and will be extended to fruit crops once production starts. History
1.4. Results Framework: The project will review and synchronize the targets in the Results Framework and Performance Monitoring Plan and create standard database reports to give regular status updates.
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/07/15]
CBARD Project with UNDP L&R Unit Support 2019/06 Completed The Results framework is revised and approved by the project board meeting on 13 June 2019 History
1.5. Gross Margins Survey: The project will supplement the Area, Product Yield (APY) survey with sample-based collection of cost data to produce full gross margins for each high-value crop, including orchard inter-crops
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/07/15]
CBARD Project with UNDP L&R Unit Support 2019/06 Completed The Gross margins are completed for all target crops History
1.6. Record-keeping for demonstration activities and irrigation projects: The project will keep records for a representative sample of irrigation project and demonstration activities so that costs and benefits can be calculated.
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/10/16]
CBARD Project 2020/03 Initiated Not yet started. Suggest to discuss during the CBARD-east evaluation what is required. History
1.7. Analysis of other alternative livelihood projects in agriculture: The project will consider analyzing similar interventions under other projects, such as the World Bank-funded National Horticulture and Livestock Programme (NHLP), to determine their long-term effect on opium growing, so long as it is in line with the project mandate and activities*
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/07/15]
UNDP L&R Unit 2019/06 Completed This is communicated to MAIL. The project has shared the capacity and tools to conduct this. History
2. Recommendation:

Economic Analysis: The project needs to be sure that it is promoting the right interventions, and its extension staff need good information to help persuade and advise farmers.  These recommendations for economic analysis will help transform the monitoring data from the previous section into actionable conclusions

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/29]

The project acknowledges and agrees to further extend the economic analysis to be based more on actual data coming from monitoring of project activities and areas.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Further analysis of high-value crop margins: The project will update and extend the analysis of high-value crop margins using data from project monitoring.
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/07/15]
CBARD Project with UNDP L&R Unit Support 2019/06 Completed The APY has been restructured to be able to collect actual data for gross margins. The gross margins will be conducted on annual basis based on this data. History
2.2. Economic analysis of other project interventions: The project will conduct standard financial and economic analysis of all project interventions to determine their viability before promoting them widely*
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/07/15]
CBARD Project with UNDP L&R Unit Support 2019/06 Completed This has been completed for raisin houses, onion storages and compost interventions. History
2.3. Economic modeling for farms and villages: The project will combine the gross margin budgets into economic models to show the impact of the project on whole farms and villages, considering also their other crops and how project successes can be upscaled.
[Added: 2019/04/29]
CBARD Project with UNDP L&R Unit Support 2019/12 Initiated Develop farm models based on gross margin analysis; Develop (or use existing) beneficiary questionnaire to monitor and record non-project and project income/production; (Evidence: farm models)
3. Recommendation:

Round Two: As the project moves into its third operational year and launches its second big round of interventions, it needs to be sure that it is promoting the right interventions and delivering them in ways that maximize the beneficial impact on treatment communities

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/29]

The project acknowledges and agrees to extend the number of beneficiaries within the budget. The project has been working to deliver in tranches of beneficiaries. The ones that already have received interventions, will not be targeted again.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1. Intervention priorities: The project will focus Round Two on crops and structures that give a high return on project funds and can cover large areas of land or numbers of people
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/07/15]
CBARD Project with UNDP L&R Unit Support 2019/06 Completed This has been completed. Based on the financial analysis of all interentions, plans have been revised. History
3.2. Interventions for Women: The project will check the economic profitability of female-focused interventions and implement the profitable ones on a considerably wider scale
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/10/16]
CBARD Project with UNDP L&R Unit Support 2020/03 Initiated Cold chambers: financial analysis has resulted in changes in capacity for onion storage in Farah and Nangahar. Cost of construction has been reduced. Raisin houses: financial analysis completed. Monitoring data to be included in data collection for the APY. Compost units: work incomplete. Project will bring forward new designs aimed at reducing cost in order to improve replicability. Women-focused interventions: financial analysis of beehives and micro greenhouses completed. Estimates of financial returns to kitchen gardens and home processing cannot satisfactorily be made. Kitchen garden cropping patterns are not know and very small areas of individual crops complicates estimates of gross margins. Processing is partly for sale and partly home consumption with substantial inputs from homeproduced vegetables and fruit. Use of imputed costs and unpredictable sales prices (because of use of containers of variable sizes) makes estimation unreliable. History
3.3. Cost-effective solutions: The project will seek alternative designs for cold stores, raisin houses, compost units and irrigation structures than can be replicated by beneficiaries at minimal cost, thus ensuring greater sustainability and replicability of project successes.
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/10/16]
CBARD Project with UNDP L&R Unit Support 2020/03 Initiated Financial analyses of estimated returns to (a) zero-energy cold chambers; (b) raisin houses; and (c) compost (basic and vermiculture) completed. Based on the financial analysis, rework the designs to be most profitable and economic. Project to bring more engineering expertise for designing if needed. Cold chambers: financial analysis has resulted in changes in capacity for onion storage in Farah and Nangahar. Cost of construction has been reduced. Raisin houses: financial analysis completed. Monitoring data to be included in data collection for the APY. Compost units: work incomplete. Project will bring forward new designs aimed at reducing cost in order to improve replicability. Women-focused interventions: financial analysis of beehives and micro greenhouses completed. Estimates of financial returns to kitchen gardens and home processing cannot satisfactorily be made. Kitchen garden cropping patterns are not know and very small areas of individual crops complicates estimates of gross margins. Processing is partly for sale and partly home consumption with substantial inputs from home produced vegetables and fruit. Use of imputed costs and unpredictable sales prices (because of use of containers of variable sizes) makes estimation unreliable. (Evidence: financial analysis reports) History
3.4. Maximize beneficiaries: Adjust the intervention mechanisms for Round Two so as to reach as many beneficiaries as possible, aiming for more than the original target of 2,100
[Added: 2019/04/29]
CBARD with support of UNDP L&R Unit 2019/03 Completed The project has discussed this with UNODC and the Project Board and is possible up to the level budget allows. (Evidence: Meeting minutes of Project Board Meeting and Monthly Meeting with INL)
4. Recommendation:

Access to finance remains one of the unsolved challenges of the project.  It is clear that beneficiaries want finance, but equally clear that the normal finance and micro-finance organizations simply do not yet exist in rural areas.

On marketing, it appears that output markets work better than expected, returning a higher-than-usual share of final value to the farmer, but that input supply markets are under-developed and inefficient, perhaps linked to the relatively low use of inputs on low-value crops.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/29]

The project acknowledges the need for establishing the access to markets and finance. In fact, access to finance was part of the project but it couldn’t be established due to remote locations. Having said that, the project can see the feasibility of input supplies which good results didn’t have up to now, but project can work with farmers to increase the demand and link with businesses-men. On marketing, the project is revising marketing strategy which is more focused on international markets.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1. Input supply shops: The project will consider piloting local input supply shops as part of the project’s support to community-based input supply infrastructure, with these also serving as contact points for information and advice
[Added: 2019/04/29]
CBARD with support of UNDP L&R Unit 2020/12 Initiated The input supply shops are tried and tested many times by MAIL and USAID projects but failed. Therefore, the project will not work on their establishment but rather will review ways to work as facilitator to bring private sector suppliers and farmers together. To do this, the project may seek to determine the demand in project areas and link with businesses who can meet the demand. (Evidence: review of input supply shops benefits and pilot plans)
4.2. Working credit linked to input supply: The project will consider the viability of extending trade credit through the new input-supply shops, if established
[Added: 2019/04/29]
CBARD with support of UNDP L&R Unit 2020/12 Not Initiated This is a strategic recommendation and will be dependent on previous recommendation. There are contract farming possibilities given traders can be attracted in the area. This can also be linked with CBARD marketing approach. However, it might be infeasible to establish given as a similar activity (access to finance) couldn’t be established in 2018. (Evidence: assessment of trade credit extension viability) History
5. Recommendation:

Strengthening Extension: Extension is a key part of the project approach, implemented through Lead Farmers, Common Interest Groups and District Monitoring & Extension Advisors.  However, it depends very heavily on the capacity of Lead Farmers with rather limited training, support and experience of extension.  The next step should be to develop a more systematic approach and a strong support system for the front-line extension workers.  Attention should also be given to how farmers with orchards and greenhouses can continue to get good advice after the project finishes.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/29]

The project acknowledges and agrees with need for strengthening extension. The project can bring specific capacities to work on this with the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1. Extension Toolkit: The project will develop a toolkit of agriculture extension materials to increase the effectiveness of front-line extension workers, standardize approaches across all project areas, and for direct dissemination to farmers
[Added: 2019/04/29]
CBARD with support of UNDP L&R Unit 2020/06 Not Initiated Project to bring external resources to support project and MAIL extension structures, rework the extension toolkit, and work on project exit strategy in terms of extension after project. (Evidence: extension toolkit) History
5.2. Sharing lessons learned: The project will share experience of demonstration plots and regular interventions as widely as possible, with a strong emphasis on the lessons learned
[Added: 2019/04/29]
CBARD with support of UNDP L&R Unit 2020/06 Not Initiated Project to bring external resources to support project and MAIL extension structures, rework the extension toolkit, and work on project exit strategy in terms of extension after project. (Evidence: identification of lessons learned, success stories, and best practices) History
5.3. Extension strategy: The project will develop an agriculture extension strategy to guide the project’s work in this and integrate it more closely with the MAIL extension system for securing longer term sustained impacts of project successes
[Added: 2019/04/29]
CBARD with support of UNDP L&R Unit 2020/06 Initiated Project to bring external resources to support project and MAIL extension structures, rework the extension toolkit, establish stronger linkages with MAIL extension provision and work on project exit strategy in terms of extension after project. (Evidence: revised extension toolkit)
6. Recommendation:

Project Management: The following recommendations are given for improving the project management in the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/29]

The project recognizes the need for improved project management and a revised project organigram has been drafted. The revised organigram, which is based on these recommendations, will be presented to the next board meeting for approval.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1. Strengthening vertical teams and delegation: The project will develop vertical teams to increase delegation, strengthen cooperation between staff working on similar issues, and improve management efficiency. The project will also consider appointing an official Deputy Project Manager, if needed.
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/07/15]
Project and UNDP L&R Unit to prepare and approved by Project Board 2019/06 Completed The Project Organigram has been revised and presented to Project Board which was approved. The revised organigram has addressed this issue. History
6.2. More timely procurement: The project will allow greater lead time for procurement and delivery when time is limited, and make greater use of multi-annual “draw down” contracts for supply of standard items
[Added: 2019/04/29]
Project and UNDP L&R Unit 2019/12 Initiated The project is developing two-year work plans for timelier procurement. Possibility of bulk contracting and long-term contracting to be discussed with MAIL. (Evidence: procurement plans)
6.3. Communications expert and campaign: The project will recruit a communications expert, prepare a communications strategy and put it into effect.
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/10/16]
UNDP L&R Unit 2020/03 Initiated A TOR for the expert has been drafted, and expert will be hired. A new position for the Communications Officer has also been added. History
7. Recommendation:

Looking Ahead: The following recommendations are given for the remainder of the project

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/29]

The project will implement the recommendations up to possible level. Main recommendation is at strategic level aimed for government/donor which is out of project scope

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1. Project Duration: The project will consider extending the project until the end of 2021, continuing regular monitoring until at least 2028, and ensuring advisory work continues after the project ends*
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2019/07/15]
INL and Project Board 2020/03 Initiated The project duration has been requested to extend by 2 years. Project Board has approved this but is pending for donor agreement. History
7.2. Testing the scope for scaling-up: The project will focus some resources on a limited area to discover whether and how large volumes of high-value crops can be marketed and at what scales
[Added: 2019/04/29]
CBARD with support of UNDP L&R Unit 2019/12 Initiated To be addressed in the marketing support (under development). (Evidence: marketing strategy)

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