Farmer productivity increased in Senegal as risks threaten long-term sustainability of IFAD-supported project - IOE
Rome, 01 October 2021 – The ‘Support to Agricultural Development and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme’ (PADAER) has had a positive impact on agricultural production, rice yields and the income and food security of farm households in the Republic of Senegal. Looking ahead, the sustainability of these and other benefits remains uncertain. The report published by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) provides substantive insights in this regard.
PADAER was approved in September 2011, and ran from March 2013 to June 2019. With an initial budget of US$51.71 million, complemented by US$5.98 million additional financing, the programme set out to improve the food security and income of smallholders (farmers and livestock producers) and create sustainable rural employment opportunities, particularly for women and youth. Although PADAER was originally conceived as a flagship programme to consolidate and scale up the achievements of other IFAD projects in Senegal, adjustments to the programme’s design shifted its focus more towards rice production rather than rural entrepreneurship development.
The incomes of farmers and beneficiary rural small and microenterprises benefitted from the programme’s initiatives, most notably from the infrastructure and irrigation activities. However, there was only limited impact on women's economic empowerment, and the programme did not include specific activities to promote the participation of women in local decision-making processes. PADAER’s main technological innovations were in the livestock sector, and involved the introduction of improved drinking troughs for animals. This improved the conditions for watering herds, saved time for livestock producers, and led to technical upgrades in the vaccination facility model in use.
The Evaluation concluded that PADAER has contributed to the Senegalese government’s goal of achieving self-sufficiency in rice production, although the rice yields obtained remain below expectations and the support to rice cultivation concerned only a limited number of beneficiaries.
For the results achieved, sustainability remains an issue of concern. The management committees of new pastoral units are not yet fully functioning, smallholders continue to face barriers in accessing markets, and the absence of specific programme activities to link farmers to bank financing has left them without the means to procure supplies and other inputs in the longer term.
The IOE report recommends addressing the sustainability challenges, including by ensuring that the programme’s second phase (PADAER-II) supports all infrastructure management committees and pastoral units. In broader terms, the PADAER experience highlights the importance of issues such as access to finance and agricultural insurance, as well as the need to design interventions based on thorough and commodity-specific value chain analyses.
Since 1979, IFAD has supported 16 programmes and projects in Senegal, investing US$216.4 million and directly benefiting more than 455,000 rural households. Poverty is more widespread in rural areas, where 75 per cent of poor households live. Rural women are almost 70 per cent of Senegal’s workforce and produce 80 per cent of the country’s food.
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