Agricultural Growth Programme (AGP) Survey and Establishing a Baseline Data for Impact Evaluation.

The project was a 5-year programme that was started in 2010/11 and implemented in 83 selected woredas of the Amhara, Oromiya, SNNPR and Tigray regions.

Client: Ministry of Agriculture

Objective of the study: The essential components of the AGP intervention are: expansion and strengthening of irrigation agriculture, increasing crop and livestock productivity, enhancing processing and marketing (commercialization) of high-value agricultural commodities. The overall objective of the study was to produce baseline data on these intervention components on the basis of impact result indicators in order to be able to monitor and evaluate the overall implementation and the immediate and ultimate impacts of the Agricultural Growth Programme.


Methodology Used : The baseline study was designed in such a way so as to enable the assessment of the impacts of AGP on the target variables of agricultural growth, productivity, commercialization, input use and institutional services. This was done by comparing the changes in the target variables with those of the baseline status of the AGP in intervention woredas, and by comparing the changes in the target variables withthose of the quasi-control (non-intervention) woredas. The baseline data was collected through a household survey by employing a structured questionnaire and through key informant interviews.


Concluding Remarks The Agricultural Growth Programme was launched with the aim of realizing the following outcomes:
1) Increasing agricultural productivity of major crops and livestock,
2) Increasing market access for key and high value agricultural commodities,
3) Establishing and/or capacitating farmers’ organizations,
4) Strengthening key advisory services for enhanced productivity and value addition,
5) Scaling up best practices,
6) Increasing market orientation and specialization in selected key value chains,
7) Realizing and managing demand-driven infrastructure investment for improved agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner,
8)Realizing and managing demand-driven infrastructure investments for improved access to markets in a sustainable manner.  

     Two problems have been observed when considering the above outcomes while conducting the AGP Baseline Survey. Firstly, many of the outcomes given were not adequately SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). Secondly, the indicators given for each outcome were vague, less specific and difficult to measure. Besides, the assumption that some of the indicators of the outcomes could be collected through rapid interviews of woreda officials/managers  was tested to be wrong, due to the absence of well documented records of quantitative data/measures on agricultural activities and interventions and projects in each woreda. The main point made by the survey was that outcomes and their indicators must be stated clearly, specifically, measurably, relevantly and attainably so that data on them could be collected using a structured questionnaire.

End-Term Evaluation of Shebedino Food Security Project of Shebedino Programme Unit in nnPR

Client: Plan International.

Plan International launched the Shebedino Food Security Programme Unit to achieve the following short term goals:
1) increasing food production through using improved crop and livestock varieties,
2) improving household cash income,
3) improving nutrition for all household members but particularly for children,
4) enhancing the capacity of stakeholders, particularly that of government line offices.

Objective of the study: The objective of the evaluation of Shebedino Food Security Project was to assess if the project had achieved the above stated goals in terms of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. In other words, the evaluation was meant to answer the following questions: What did Plan Ethiopia set out to achieve? What mechanisms were set in place to achieve the planned outputs? What tangible outputs were achieved both at the household and the community levels? What challenges were encountered in implementing the plan and the measures that Plan Ethiopia undertook?  Are there any lessons learnt in designing and implementing projects?


Methodology Used : The following techniques were used for gathering quality data required for the assessment of the project.
1) A careful survey of 409 households was undertaken;
2) Focus Group discussions were conducted;
3) Cases of “success” and “failure” stories were carefully recorded;
4) A survey of children’s perception of the project was undertaken in selected kebeles;
5) Key Informant interviews with selected respondents were conducted;
6) Relevant documents were examined.

Findings The evaluation exercise carried out by BDS-CDR on the Shebedino Food Security Project brought out major features of Plan Ethiopia’s approach to community development. The following are the major features revealed by the study.

1. Plan Ethiopia adopts innovative strategies and approaches: In its engagement in the Shebedino Project,it undertook a need assessment survey, constructed problem trees to identify underlying problems of food insecurity and their causes, used networking to involve stakeholders in order to build lasting partnership and promote common understanding and adopted, as one of its principles, the newly emerging concept of institutional learning in the form of quarterly meetings in which key stakeholders such as NGOs and the local government offices could be actively involved.

2. According to the findings of the BDS-CDR study, by principle, Plan Ethiopia’s project is child-centered. It is unique in that it particularly focuses on the overall improvement of the quality of life of the children in the project area. As a result of Plan’s project, their nutrition has improved significantly. Some 90% of them have access to better health services. Sickness due to malaria has been reduced with the widespread use malaria nets. They go to better schools. In general, at a time when most children in other parts of rural Ethiopia draw a gloomy picture of their future, some of the interviewed children in Shebedino vision a bright future for themselves.

 3. The BDS-CDR study showed that the Shebedino Project has been effective and has made a significant impact on the life of the people. The data sources: household survey, focus group discussions, perception survey, case studies, key informant interviews consistently confirmed that Plan’s intervention has been relevant and, to a large extent, effective. The effectiveness looms out particularly in the areas of crop diversification, bull service, hybrid heifer availability, health and education services, sanitation and nutritious food.

4. Findings of the BDS-CDR evaluation further showed that Plan Ethiopia ensures the effectiveness of its intervention through: a) building the technical capability of the community, the household and the individual, b) strengthening the capacity of the local government’s line offices, c) putting in place innovative and context- specific financial institution (i.e. a village savings and credit scheme) in the form of a revolving fund that caters to the needs of poor women, d) improving the quality of life of children through education, improved health and nutrition services and awareness creation, e) using animation to facilitate knowledge transfer and awareness creation using available resources, f) strengthening market linkages and value chains by working closely with relevant Desks of Woreda Agriculture Offices, g) introducing appropriate technologies that are simple, affordable and location-specific.


Recommendations Based on its findings, BDS- CDR forwards the following recommendations:
1. Fair and objective criteria should be set up for selecting beneficiaries.
2. Plan’s monitoring and evaluation system should be updated and strengthened.
3. The most recent techniques of policy influence and lobbying should be adopted and formalized.
4. Plan should do more to learn from farmers and make effective use of indigenous knowledge systems and institutions.
5. Plan should consider the option making difference by concentrating resources in limited areas.   

By way of conclusion, we underline that the project has brought a difference in Shebedino.  However, Plan’s interventions are still required to deal with unfinished business, and to rectify some of its shortcomings.  Plan’s long-term objective of achieving food security to improve the wellbeing of children may not be realized within four or five years.  Thus, Plan should look into other alternatives so as to bring more significant and lasting differences in Shebedino

Situation Assessment for the Introduction of Weather Indexed Insurance in oromiya Region

Client: Sanyu Consultants Inc.

Objective of the study: Insuring crops against crop failure in rain-deficient areas is a common scheme being used to help farmers survive hard times due to rain failure. The project focuses on an insurance scheme designed to introduce farmers in rain-deficient highland farm areas to insuring their crops. The general objective of this Situation Assessment is, therefore, to identify potential kebeles with types of crops to be insured by Weather Indexed Insurance


(WII), as part of a programme under a pilot project to be implemented by the Rural Resilience Enhancement Project in five woredas of the Oromia region (Arsi Negele, Adami Tulu, Bora, Boset and Ilfata) characterized by a prevalence of low rainfall. The specific objectives are:

• Identifying potential kebeles  and their characteristics,
• Identifying communities within the identified potential kebeles to further assess the situation through focus group interviews,
• Assessing the attitude of the community towards the demand for WII.


Methodology Used :The methodology, tailored to fit the stated specific objectives set in line with the main objective, has three major components: collecting data on agricultural and administrative aspects of the five woredas using a questionnaire, conducting a woreda-level situation assessment workshops to identify potential kebeles and finally conducting key informant interviews and focus group discussions in selected communities. The data collected through the three channels was compared and triangulated.


Findings : A close analysis of the survey data indicated the following findings:
-The data collected from the woreda administration and that obtained from workshops and focus group discussions and interviews indicate similarity in crops grown, pattern of production, crop calendar and seasons.

-The kebeles prioritized are truly in need of WII. The need has been felt by the communities as most of them expressed their willingness to pay for WII. The maximum amount of insurance premium farmers are willing to pay varies from crop to crop, kebele to kebele and individual individual. The expressed average premium payments could serve as a starting point for the evaluation of the adequacy to avail the insurance product.

-The crops to be insured include maize, haricot bean, teff, wheat and sorghum. The type of the most favorite crops varies from woreda to woreda. In most woredas, communities expressed that they wanted to insure multiple crops rather than a single crop.  The choice of the crops to be insured has to be kebele-specific on the basis of the peculiarities of production.

-The crop calendar and the seasons are clearly known. However, closer study of the frequency of occurrence of weather risks is required.

Survey of Rural Situation for Gode Zone, Ethiopian Somali Region

Sponsor: Sanyu Consultants Inc.

Objective of the Study: The government of Ethiopia is employing a variety of schemes to help pastoral people cope with adversities caused by rain deficiency. One of these schemes is to help them adapt themselves to a settled life based on pump-irrigated agriculture. The Gode scheme is designed to achieve this goal. The objective of this study is to assess the rural situation of the Gode zone that stretches along the Wabeshebele River together with existing pump irrigation schemes established within a 20- km radius of Gode town, and also to identify potential ex-pastoralists who are willing to be engaged in irrigation agriculture and a settled life.


Methodology used: Four aspects of the Gode situation were analyzed:

(i) the socioeconomic,infrastructure and natural conditions;
(ii) the profile of pump-irrigation schemes;
(iii) the situation of pump irrigation beneficiaries;
(iv) the situation of the ex-pastoralists who are non- beneficiaries of the operating irrigation schemes.


Different methods and approaches were employed to study the four aspects of the Gode rural situation. The methods included primary data collection, using key informant interviews and focus group discussions, inventory survey and workshop with irrigation beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries. Secondary data was also collected from different sources such as Agriculture Bureaus, Water and Energy Bureaus, CSA, Metrology Agency and Mapping Agency.


Findings :The study showed that despite the efforts being made by the government to help ex-pastoralists to benefit from a settled life based on pump-irrigated farming, agricultural production was low. The main factors contributing to the low production were the following:  Lack of high capacity motor pumps for irrigating larger areas,

1. Lack of sustainable supply of fuel for the motor pumps as well as the high cost for it,
2. Irrigation canals being clogged by alluvial soil due to wind erosion,
3. Lack of proper equipment for cleaning clogged irrigation canals,
4. Lack of adequate farm machinery such as plows and disc harrows,
5. Poor maintenance of pumps, canal systems and farm machinery due to lack of trained technicians.


In addition to the above specificproblems, the study showed that the people engaged in the irrigation schemes suffered from physical weakness due to lack of adequate and proper nutrition. They have no culture of saving resources for tomorrow and are very much dependent on external input such as government food assistance. They are also seriously affected by their limited farm experience and lack of crop diversification, depending mainly on maize. The study further showed that flooding, followed by heavy rains on the highlands during the rainy season, as well as lack of markets and unpredictable prices of fertilizer and other agro-chemicals are some of the additional challenges faced by ex-pastoralists engaged in the pump irrigation agriculture scheme.


Despite all of the challenges pointed out above, the participants engaged in the motor pump irrigation scheme of the Gode area have several strengths and opportunities. As a community, they have high motivation for work. They are hardworking, supportive of each other and strongly committed to the management of the scheme. Furthermore, they have good climate, plenty of fertile land available for cultivation and abundant water from the Wabeshebele River, for irrigation.  Add to this a supportive government and additional assistance available from a variety of NGOs operating in the area. In short, if the challenges mentioned above could be met through a close collaboration among the community, governmental development agents and other development partners in the region, the motor pump irrigation scheme could be highly productive and transform the life of the community.



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