Republic of Uganda: Vegetable Oil Development Project

25 мая 2011

The core learning partnership and evaluation stakeholders

In 2009, the IFAD Office of Evaluation (IOE) conducted an interim evaluation of the IFAD-funded Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP) in Uganda. In line with the IFAD Evaluation Policy, this interim evaluation was undertaken as a standard procedure in preparation for a possible follow-up phase of the project. The main objectives of the evaluation were: (i) to assess the performance and impact of the project; and (ii) to generate a series of findings and recommendations to guide a second phase of the project.
A core learning partnership (CLP) was established comprising IFAD and Government stakeholders to assist in the evaluation process and to maximise the opportunities for learning from the evaluation. Feedback gained from the CLP during the preparatory mission in November 2008 was incorporated in the evaluation Approach Paper.  The main evaluation mission was conducted in February/March 2009. A final evaluation workshop was organized in December 2009 to discuss the evaluation findings and capture inputs for the Agreement at Completion Point (ACP). This ACP sets out understandings between IFAD and the Government of Uganda of the evaluation findings and recommendations, and their proposals to implement them within specific time frames.

Main evaluation findings

VODP has three different components:1 (i) the introduction of commercial oil palm production on Bugala Island, Kalangala District; (ii) the development of traditional oilseeds in 23 northern, eastern and mid-western districts of Uganda using existing public extension; and (iii) institutional support for Research and Development (R&D) of oilseed crops including essential oils, farmer groups and associations and project coordination. The three subcomponents differ in their scale, time span, geographic areas, modes of implementation and partner institutions involved, making the project complex.

Overall, VODP is a successful project, with commendable achievements in the "traditional" oilseeds (mainly sunflower) component and good though delayed achievements in the high potential oil palm component. The Essential Oils Subproject has also achieved its objectives, although it does not have the commercial potential that the other vegetable oil activities have. The project had a catalytic effect on sunflower production with over 200,000 beneficiary families reached, an expansion in sunflower cultivation from 2,000 hectares in 1989 to 81,500 hectares in 2008, and an increase in grain milling and processing. Five essential oil crops were tested and good economic potential established for citronella and lemongrass, although bottlenecks in transport, distilling, and marketing need to be addressed in the future if there is to be scaling up and commercial marketing. Participating households in both traditional oilseed and essential oil production realized major improvements in their incomes and living standards. The Oil Palm Subproject had a delayed start, but the nucleus estate was rapidly established. The Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust (KOPGT) has successfully provided loans, extension advice and other services to farmers. The implementation of the smallholder and outgrower development of oil palm has been slower than anticipated. Implementation of environmental protection measures for oil palm has been good and there has been compliance with environmental monitoring. Proactive outreach, communication and dialogue on the environment with concerned groups could have been greater as their issues were already known. The potential returns to farmers participating in oil palm development are high, and will be realized once the harvesting of fresh fruit bunches begins, five years after initial planting.

VODP has benefited from relatively good management, strong ownership and support from high levels of government and a successful private-sector partnership in oil palm development. It is an innovative project and has already achieved or has the potential to achieve sustainability for both oil palm and oilseed production by farmers. Both components have faced external constraints that were largely beyond project control, although some (such as subdivision of the districts and re-organization of the extension system) were an effect of government policy. There are a number of remaining challenges, related to ensuring the long term financial sustainability of KOPGT, the future of adaptive research in support of oilseed crops, and the provision of extension for oilseed farmers on a longer-term self-sustaining basis.

The project has high relevance to the major stakeholders – Government, the private sector and the rural poor. The relevance of design to objectives was undermined by an awkward project structure and an inadequate logframe, with unclearly specified indicators and targets, which created difficulties for Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and for financial reporting, which might have been addressed by more dynamic management by the project.  The effectiveness and impact of the three components varied greatly due to their different timeframes and scales of operation. While the Traditional Oilseeds and Essential Oils Subprojects have been implemented for over ten years, the principal benefits from the Oil Palm Subproject are yet to be realized. The successes with the traditional oilseeds were offset by the limited scale of impact in oil palm (due to delay) and essential oils (due to its very small size).

In terms of efficiency, the project benefited from a relatively efficient project coordination unit but was undermined by delays in follow-up with regard to procurement, particularly the delay in contracting the private-sector partner. Project costs per beneficiary varied greatly between the three subprojects.

Recommendations agreed upon by all partners

The below evaluation report recommendations are deemed acceptable and feasible by the Government of Uganda (GOU) and IFAD, and will be implemented in a second phase.

Oil palm. A second phase will continue and extend the partnership with Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL) through the replication of the nucleus estate and smallholder oil palm model on Buvuma Island, and continued consolidation and expansion in Kalangala District to some outlying islands. In addition, efforts to identify new areas for future oil palm production will be continued through oil palm research trials. The lessons learned from the current phase about the commercial potential for vegetable oil, the importance of adequate opportunities for securing land, effective environmental management and addressing farmers' incentives and constraints have been incorporated into the design of the second phase. These will be addressed through a full social and environmental impact assessment, a new environmental management plan with emphasis on communications, and activities to promote livelihood enhancement in the oil palm communities.

  • Partners involved in implementing the recommendation: GOU, IFAD, OPUL
  • Timeframe: During the design and implementation of the Vegetable Oil Development Project, Phase 2 (VODP2)

KOPGT.  GOU and IFAD will give priority to ensuring the long term financial sustainability of KOPGT by 2016.  The Trust will be fully assessed by type of task in order to ensure full cost recovery for services provided as well as the sustainability of financing operations. A medium term plan will be developed to indicate the long term scope of extension and financial services and how these can be provided on a sustainable basis. The plan will clarify the relationship between KOPGT and the Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Association (KOPGA). 

  • Partners involved in implementing the recommendation: GOU, IFAD, KOPGT, KOPGA
  • Timeframe: Starting during the remaining implementation period of VODP and being completed during early implementation of the VODP2

Traditional oilseeds.  IFAD and GOU have considered carefully the need for a second phase and decided that the focus should be on helping smallholder farmers to supply crushing material (both sunflower and soyabean) to millers. The programme will address concerns about declining soil fertility and farmer training will be provided in the use of fertilizers and other agro-chemicals, conservation agriculture and other related activities. There will be support for mechanization and value addition activities, as well as post harvest handling and group marketing. IFAD and GOU will continue to support the development of food standards and codes of practice for the vegetable oils subsector through Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS). In the second phase, there will be a stronger focus on promoting direct commercial relations between farmers and private sector actors, such as extension providers and processors, to promote the long term sustainability of oilseeds development. IFAD and GOU consider that oilseeds development offer good potential for livelihoods improvement, and this component will be expanded into areas further north (where the ex-Lords Resistance Army (LRA) has been operating). The follow-on project will take account of the need for special skills in post-conflict work and coordination with other donors and NGOs working in this region.

  • Partners involved in implementing the recommendation: GOU, IFAD, and private sector processors contracted on a cost-sharing basis
  • Timeframe: During the design and implementation of the VODP2

Subsectoral advocacy.  IFAD/GOU will build upon the experience being developed by the Oilseed Sub Sector Platform (OSSUP) so that it can expand its work in promoting information exchange and coordination amongst the different value chain actors, and developing policy dialogue to promote the subsector. IFAD will provide a grant to Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) to support OSSUP. Through this support, OSSUP will be able to play a critical role in promoting public/private partnerships for a range of activities to support oilseeds development (with millers, seed companies, banks for inputs and stock financing and farmers groups for bulking). Drawing upon the experience and learning gained, OSSUP will support the institutional and sub sector knowledge management frameworks that are necessary for promoting the sustainable development of Uganda's vegetable oils subsector.

  • Partners involved in implementing the recommendation: GOU, IFAD, SNV
  • Timeframe: Within the context of the design of the VODP2

Essential oils (i.e. Citronella). IFAD and GOU recognize that large scale public investment should be directed to commercial oilseeds such as sunflower, soybeans, groundnuts and sesame. Citronella is produced in limited quantities and remains a niche crop and it is unlikely to receive significant public investment. There is need for the GOU to identify partners, either NGOs or a private sector operator to carry on the Citronella work.  Once a viable partner is identified IFAD will provide modest grant financing to support this endeavour.

 1/ In this ACP, the term "component" is used for consistency with the terminology used in the original design and follow-on project (VODP2). It should be noted that the VODP evaluation assessed the project based on the three sub-sectors supported by the project namely oil palm, oilseeds, and essential oils (see VODP evaluation report para 29).

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