Development projects supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Nigeria have been effective in improving the livelihoods of rural area people, a report has said.
This will strengthen their food production systems in a number of impoverished, remote communities, according to findings presented on Thursday in Abuja by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD.
The main objectives of the evaluation were to assess the results and performance of the IFAD and government partnership in reducing rural poverty and to generate findings and recommendations for the future partnership between IFAD and Nigeria.
According to the report, IFAD in the evaluation found that the programme targeted poverty reasonably well.
During the period covered by the evaluation between 2009 and 2015, IFAD, funded operations focused on the poorest states in the country, and have effectively provided support to poorer northern states.
The single most important achievement, according to the evaluation, was the creation of community-based organisations which enabled local governments to channel funding into otherwise hard-to-reach places.
These committees continue to play an active role in planning community infrastructure and managing community assets in a sustainable way, in particular in northern Nigeria.
According to the report, IFAD supported programmes has reached up to 9.2 million people out of the 14.2 million targeted.
The outreach was less than planned, but the concentration of investments in a smaller number of villages enabled the activities to be delivered successfully and to create good results.
It said that notable achievements were recorded with regard to access to financial services, community capacity building and job creation.
It said that the benefits derived, in terms of building assets and disseminating technology, were visible and, according to a field survey conducted by the evaluation team, are well sustained.
Local governments will continue to fund the community activities beyond the lifetime of IFAD’s support.
“The evaluation has allowed us to reflect on the impact of our work in areas such as community-driven development,” said Ides de Willebois, Director of IFAD’s West and Central Africa Division.
“IFAD’s support in community driven development activities has been particularly successful, especially with community development associations, linked to local government authorities and that continue to function after the project completion.”
The evaluation noted that the scale of the impact remained limited given the size of the country, and poverty statistics overall showed an increasing divide between the urban and rural areas and wealthy and poor people.
In particular, the evaluation highlighted the need for a more strategic approach to partnership-building at federal and state levels and that IFAD expand its existing partnerships as well as develop new ones.
“A missing partner, particularly in the earlier IFAD supported operations, has been the private sector.
“Its involvement is crucial given the move towards markets and processing across the portfolio,” Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation, Oscar Garcia, said.
“It is necessary to mobilise a range of public-private partnerships around fertilizer, seeds and processing in line with the approach stipulated by Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).”
A more strategic approach would be supported by stronger coordination of donor-funded programmes at the federal level, the report concluded.
Over the last 30 years, IFAD has supported 10 projects in Nigeria for a total cost of 795.3 million dollar, of which IFAD has provided 317.6 million dollars.