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Mid-term Evaluation of the project "Value Chain Development of Fruits and Vegetables in Nepal"
Commissioning Unit: Nepal
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2022
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 12/2021
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Nepal
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

The initial Theory of Change for VCDP had revolving fund provision for input support as one of the assumptions that led to increased access to finance which was modified later into provision on input support. This modification in assumption does not exactly lead to increased access to finance which should be reconsidered and revised accordingly by implementing agencies including UNDP and KOICA.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20]

Agreed. The 4th Project Board meeting on 24 July 2019 endorsed the decision to change the activity of the revolving fund operationalization to technology transfer and input provision. Project will revise “Theory of change”.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Revise Theory of change
[Added: 2022/01/20] [Last Updated: 2022/06/29]
VCDP Project Team 2022/07 Initiated To be endorsed in July PEB History
2. Recommendation:

As this project envisages strengthening collection centres for enhanced market linkage, it was observed that the role of collection centre and that of cooperative was largely limited to that of collection of produce only. Therefore, an integrated mechanism i.e. a collection centre or the cold store with basic facilities such as washing, cleaning, trimming, sorting, grading, sanitization or disinfection, garbage disposal and packaging practices as per the commodity requirement should be considered for enhanced market linkages. This integrated collection centre should be piloted, should be placed in an accessible place and land for collection centre should be managed by the farmers’ cooperative or the local government. Also, existing collection centres should be improved to support large storage facility (greater than 10–20-ton capacity) to be able to store enough volume for considerable benefits for the farmers. If possible, collection centres should be linked with supply market.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20]

Partially agreed. The project will conduct the assessment on the resource requirements and its implementation modality. Though the construction and functioning of a packhouse does not deem possible within the remaining project period, the assessment can serve as a knowledge product for government counterparts in consideration of a packhouse.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Conduct an assessment on the resource requirements and its implementation modality
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP/UNDP 2022/07 Not Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Institutional capacity building and system strengthening has been the core of the VCDP intervention. However, it was realized during the survey that all the Palikas have not utilized the learnings effectively while ownership and internalization by the institutions is critical for the sustainability of the project. Hence, a refresher capacity building or revisiting of the system strengthening and dissemination should be done, and these activities should be continued based on the capacity of the institutions.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20]

Partially Agreed; The project has put the institutional capacity building and system strengthening as core of its interventions. It supported palikas to a) develop and endorse sectoral plans and agriculture program operational guidelines; b) have knowledge materials such as summary of local government’s role in delivering agricultural programs according to the Constitution; and c) capacitate local government leaders and staff in planning and executing extension activities. The approach will be continued with capacity building training and knowledge product dissemination. Given that the local election is planned at the end of second quarter, the workshop for local government leaders can take place in the third quarter, when new leaders are on board.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1. Organise Capacity building training for Agriculture Technicians of all 37 palikas
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/07 Initiated
3.2. Organise Capacity building workshop for Mayors/Deputy Mayors, Chair/Vice Chairs, and Chief Administrative Officers of all 37 palikas.
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project team 2022/08 Not Initiated
3.3. Distribution of a package of knowledge materials to 37 palikas
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project team 2022/10 Not Initiated
3.4. Develop visual material of knowledge product
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project team 2022/11 Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Grading is important component for reducing postharvest loss, however the knowledge and practice of grading seems limited in the respondents. Therefore, more awareness and technology transfer for grading that is locally relevant and adaptable should be widely promoted. Besides, packaging container should be designed to avoid damage to the commodity during transportation and handling. Transportation container should be designed to keep produce without damage and the produce should be transported during night-time or in refrigerated containers. For the effective marketing, there should be a store of the farmers in the cooperative for which the plastic crates are the most suitable in the present context.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20]

Agreed. The project will develop a technology rollout strategy which includes the grading part, and conduct training for Agriculture Technicians and market actors.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.3. At least two episodes on grading will be aired in 3 local FM radio stations
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/08 Initiated
4.1. A technology rolls out strategy will be developed and shared with relevant stakeholders
[Added: 2022/01/20] [Last Updated: 2022/04/05]
VCDP Project team 2022/03 Completed Technology rolls out strategy was prepared and shared with the stakeholders. History
4.2. Conduct Training on grading for Agriculture Technicians, and market actors focusing postharvest handling
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/08 Not Initiated
.4.4. Developed post-harvest knowledge products will be distributed
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/11 Not Initiated
5. Recommendation:

It was observed during the survey that farmers' diaries are not maintained properly and training on record keeping is not done in all Palikas, which is in fact critical for farmer’s records. Hence, prioritizing record keeping in training is must in all the intervening Palikas. Monitoring of farmer’s diary is also part of monitoring plan of the project, however it has not been maintained so needs to be considered.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20]

Agreed. The project will conduct training on farmer diary, develop knowledge materials, use the exiting knowledge dissemination platform, or radio program to emphasize the importance of record keeping, and conduct regular monitoring.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1. Organise Training on farmer diary to Agriculture Technicians of all 37 palikas
[Added: 2022/01/20] [Last Updated: 2022/06/29]
VCDP Project Team 2022/05 Completed Farm diary training done in 10 palikas. Due to budget limitation and other priority activities, it wont be able to cover all 37 palikas. History
5.2. Develop a visual material on record keeping
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/08 Not Initiated
5.3. At least two episodes aired on farmer record keeping in 3 local FM radio stations
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/08 Not Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Some of the approaches that should be considered for increasing women’s involvement in every phase of the project and engaging them in each step of value chain are flexible venue and timing of training for the women, couples training approach, involvement of both men and women in all value chain development work, developing linkage of women with market and changing self-perception of women.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20]

Agreed. The project will conduct a gendered study on agricultural value chains and make video materials as knowledge products. The project has and will continue to have at least one session in every training on GESI-related agenda.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1. Conduct a gender study on fruit and vegetable value chains
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/10 Not Initiated
6.2. Include GESI-related session in trainings
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/12 Not Initiated
6.3. Develop a video material to introduce a gender-sensitive approach in strengthening agricultural value chain
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/10 Not Initiated
6.4. Prepare at least three case studies on VCDP’s best practice to integrate gender responsiveness
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/10 Not Initiated
7. Recommendation:

Similarly, the project has not recorded number of people with disabilities who are benefitted from the intervention although it was noted that there are project beneficiaries with disabilities. As UNDP emphasizes “leave no one behind” notion, the project should increase participation of people with disability in upcoming activities and keep a record of it.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20] [Last Updated: 2022/01/20]

Agreed. The project will identify the list of beneficiaries who have disability from 10 collaborating palikas and devise appropriate mechanism.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1. Collect list of beneficiaries with disabilities from 37 palikas
[Added: 2022/01/20] [Last Updated: 2022/05/22]
VCDP Project Team 2022/12 Initiated History
7.2. Support farmers with disabilities and specific actions will be identified and implemented once the farmers with disabilities are identified in project sites.
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/12 Not Initiated
8. Recommendation:

Post-harvest training is usually provided only to the farmers however, usually market level stakeholders such as contractors of orchard or product harvester are handed over the responsibility of picking or harvesting fruits and vegetables and transporting to the market. Therefore, training should be provided to the contractors and product harvesters as well to maintain the productivity of the plants and reduce postharvest loss.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20]

Partially Agreed.  The project will continue to provide postharvest training to farmers as well as product harvester and market level stakeholders. Considering that contractors have existence for the fruit sector, not vegetable sector, the project will instead engage market intermediaries.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1. Organise Training/workshops for farmers, product harvester, intermediaries and market level stakeholders.
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/07 Initiated
9. Recommendation:

The disaggregated data of the project target beneficiaries in terms of gender, ethnicity and people with disabilities was found to be missing, and hence needs to be clearly mentioned from the beginning.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20]

Partially agreed. The project has continued to report gender/ethnicity-segregated data. It will in addition track those with disability.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1. The project will collect desegregated data (gender, ethnicity, PWD)
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/08 Initiated
10. Recommendation:

The value chain study of each commodity selected by the project seems to be missing which is important for strengthening stakeholder level chain considering the nature and scope of each commodity.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20]

Agreed. A separate study on commodity specific value chain will be conducted. While the project might not be able to initiate further actions to adopt recommendations considering the remaining project year, it will serve as knowledge product for government counterparts and value chain stakeholders.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
10.1. Conduct a study on commodity-specific value chain
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/10 Not Initiated
11. Recommendation:

Overall, the project intervention is currently in progress considering the challenges it has gone through in terms of delay of project activities in the initial stage and COVID-19 induced disturbance. However, planned activities could not be carried out in timely manner and certain commodities such as watermelon have not been intervened. Therefore, expediting of activities in certain Palikas and for certain commodities seems essential. Further, the survey also noted that the project intervention has not reached out to all its beneficiaries considering their mixed responses in perception related questionnaire. Hence, extension for the project seems essential and focus should be prioritized based on progress across different Palikas.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/20]

The project will continue its interventions with project commodities. For clarification, the project works on watermelon in selected areas in Khandadevi, Kamalamai, Manthali and Vyas. On delivery, the project will expedite the delivery in order to maximise the expenditure by end of December 2022. The delivery could be slower in 2022 Q2 due to local election, and the project will come up with alternate plan to minimize the effect in delivery.   

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
11.1 Prepare an alternate plan during the election period, endorsed from the Project Board and implement
[Added: 2022/01/20]
VCDP Project Team 2022/12 Not Initiated

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