Agricultural Development Project in Matam (2004)

11 十二月 2004

Interim evaluation1

The Agricultural Development Project in Matam (PRODAM) originated in 1989 at the request of the Government of Senegal, following the events with Mauritania and the forced displacement of border populations that followed. Carried out in 12 villages, the project was consistent with the hydroagricultural development policy for the left bank of the Senegal River.

PRODAM was launched in 1995. The project was cofinanced by a loan from IFAD for USD 16.1 million (SRS 030 SE, 98% disbursed), a loan from the West African Development Bank (BOAD) for USD 7.3 million (PR SN 92 00, also 98% disbursed), and funding contributed by the Senegalese government and the beneficiary populations for an estimated USD 4.2 million. The total cost of the project was therefore USD 27.6 million. The IFAD and BOAD loans closed in June 2001.

With a view to the preparation of a new project – which both the beneficiary populations and the Senegalese government have requested and which IFAD, considering the results achieved by the project thus far, wishes to carry out – the Office of Evaluation (OE) was asked to undertake an interim evaluation of PRODAM.

The objective of the evaluation mission was, in a spirit of partnership and joint evaluation, to assess the relevance of the project's activities and approaches, to measure the impacts and changes produced and to identify lessons for the future, but also to strengthen the capacity for analysis, self-evaluation and formulation of proposals among the farmers' organizations that participated in PRODAM in order to facilitate their future role in the design and implementation of the second phase.

Given the abundance and the quality of the studies and evaluations already undertaken on this project, a classic external interim evaluation mission was not considered justified. Consequently, the centrepiece of the evaluation process was an innovative participatory evaluation workshop, which was complemented by a desk review and a comparative anthropometric survey of the nutritional status of children and their mothers in the PRODAM area.

The evaluation process took place between January and April 2002. The evaluation team was composed of three consultants, accompanied by the responsible officer from the Office of Evaluation (OE) of IFAD.

Context and design of the project

The department of Matam, located along the Senegalese frontier with Mauritania, had a population of 215 000 in 1988. The majority of this population consisted of rural households practicing agriculture, livestock production and, less often, river fishing. Over the last three decades, a dramatic decline in rainfall (from 496 mm to 250 mm/year) and changes in the flood pattern of the Senegal River caused by the Manantali Dam had pushed the families living in this area into a situation of increasing economic insecurity and poverty. Conditions got even worse following the events of 1989 and the repatriation of 7 000 refugees, who settled in the department.

Although, as originally conceived in 1989, this project was an emergency intervention aimed at providing support for and facilitating the reintegration of the repatriated and dispossessed population in the area, it evolved into an agricultural development project whose initial activities did not get started until 1995.

Hence, in the context of the agricultural reform effort under way at the time, the overall objective of PRODAM was to enable the beneficiary farmers and herders to become highly productive agricultural operators, capable of ensuring food security for their families and improving their standard of living. The specific objectives for the project were to: (i) enhance income and food security; (ii) facilitate the resettlement of repatriates in their communities of origin ; (iii) boost agricultural productivity through the rehabilitation of village-based irrigation schemes (périmètres irrigués villageois – PIV); (iv) introduce dual cropping in the irrigated areas; (v) improve the productivity of pastoralism and rationalize the distribution of animals in the Ferlo area; (vi) maintain and improve the environment; (vii) strengthen village institutions to enable them to manage the supply of inputs needed for farming and livestock production; and (viii) initiate the process of integrating small farmers and herders into the market economy through appropriate institutional and policy initiatives.

Implementation and evolution

The basis for the strategy adopted was: (i) a village approach that took account of all segments of society so as not to provoke any tensions by specifically targeting the repatriates; (ii) a focus on communities with under 2 000 inhabitants, with no known land disputes and with a sufficient amount of land in the Walo area to develop or rehabilitate irrigation schemes; (iii) sound distribution of the available land for crop farming/livestock production; (iv) a willingness to intensify existing systems of production in order to achieve better market participation; (v) a strong emphasis on involvement and ownership by beneficiaries at all levels; and (vi) contracting out, to different private or public partners, the operational implementation of the various components.

Overall, the design of the project did not change in the course of its implementation, and both the main objectives and the modus operandi remained the same.

Main results

Twelve villages benefited from the activities of PRODAM (28% of the villages in the department), with the number of direct beneficiaries estimated at 16 500 people. The principal results for the five years of project execution were as follows:

Development of irrigated agriculture. A total of 1704.5 ha of village irrigation schemes were created and equipped with high-volume power pumps. Thirteen market gardens, with a total surface area of 58 ha, were created for women's groups, and 87 km of windbreaks were planted. Only 60% of the surface area was planted in winter rice, but the average yield per hectare was over 5 tons of paddy rice. Neither off-season rice-farming nor the planned diversification activities were truly embraced by the farmers. This is explained partly by the difficulty of obtaining credit to refinance a new crop when marketing of the previous one had not yet been completed. The financial institutions involved were disinclined to take risks, owing to their past experience with delinquent loans in the area. The financial and economic viability of the land use models put in place appears rather doubtful, particularly in view of the evolution of prices for paddy rice, on the one hand, and the cost of diesel fuel and other inputs, on the other hand, in recent years. Finally, the expected gains with regard to the organization of farmers for marketing do not appear to have been achieved. Nevertheless, net household income from irrigated rice-farming has been estimated at CFAF 270 000/ha. The average total income of households in the Walo is estimated at CFAF 610 000, of which 44% comes from irrigated rice-growing.

The methodology for development of PIVs consisted in: (i) carrying out baseline socioeconomic studies to determine the number of target families and identify the land to be developed (on the basis of 1 ha per household), commissioning feasibility studies and outsourcing the heavy works to companies. The beneficiaries were responsible for the finishing-off work. Local stakeholders (pump operators, mechanics) were trained in operation and maintenance, and support was provided for the establishment of rules of use for the village-based irrigation schemes. Consolidation and redistribution of land had been organized previously. This was done in a participatory manner, with rules imposed to ensure access to irrigated land for the entire target population. Agricultural consulting services were subcontracted to the Senegal River development agency, Société nationale d'aménagement et d'exploitation des terres du Delta du fleuve Sénégal (SAED). The average cost of these irrigation schemes was USD 4 300/ha, not including support for operation and training.

Development of livestock production. The main achievements were: (i) strengthening of the operating capacity of the livestock service through institutional support; (ii) creation of three new pastoral units covering 210 000 ha and capable of supporting 95 000 new tropical livestock units (TLUs)2 (iii) construction of five cattle feed storage facilities and five vaccination pens; (iv) creation and support for the organization of three new economic interest groups (EIGs) and reorganization of five existing EIGs; (v) development of management plans for the three new pastoral units; (vi) zootechnic monitoring of 18% of the herds in the area by the Centre de Suivi Écologique [Ecological Monitoring Centre] (CSE); (vii) importation of 60 buffalo from Brazil, of which 20 buffalo were distributed on credit to farmers for animal traction; (viii) support for the Makhana farm; (ix) artificial insemination of 153 cows with Holstein or Montbéliarde semen with a view to improving milk production.

The methodology for formulation and implementation of pastoral unit management plans consisted in grouping together all villages and hamlets within a 25 km radius of the boreholes and assessing, in a mutually agreed and participatory manner, the estimated biomass resources and livestock count, and then redefining the rangeland. An assessment of the composition and production of vegetation carried out for each pastoral unit found that these areas were not degraded. Local organizations of livestock producers took responsibility for organizing livestock-grazing, fighting brushfires and preventing the unwarranted felling of trees. Through economic and zootechnic monitoring, it was possible to measure the improvement in the main parameters of livestock production, thus providing evidence of the impact of the training and advisory services provided to the EIGs. However, sales rates remained unchanged, indicating that producers did not alter their strategies in this area. The establishment of eight veterinary pharmacies helped to improve animal health, but lack of transparency in their management by the producers has weakened the functionality of these village pharmacies in recent years. The distribution of 20 buffalo among the groups made it possible to test this approach, but the results with regard to animal traction and increased productivity in village irrigation areas did not meet expectations. The artificial insemination activities did confirm the technical feasibility of this method, but its economic viability has yet to be demonstrated. The total cost for the "development of livestock production" sub-component was SDR 616 019, excluding support and infrastructure costs.

Rural financing

Implementation of the credit line by the Caisse nationale de credit agricole du Sénegal [National Agricultural Credit Fund of Senegal] (CNCAS). As of 30 June 2000, a total of CFAF 533 million in loans had been granted to 65 EIGs (16 173 beneficiaries), with an average repayment rate of 97%. Of the 200 loans extended during the PRODAM execution period, 98% were seasonal credits and only 2% were loans for the purchase of equipment. Overall, irrigated agriculture received 90% of the total amount of credit allocated, against 8% for livestock production and 2% for conversion activities. The objective of serving 18 250 beneficiaries through PRODAM was thus 87% achieved. In 1996, seasonal credits were granted for nine months at an interest rate of 12.50% per year, with self-financing of 20%; subsequently, in 1997, the interest rate dropped to 7.5% and the personal contribution to 10% of the loan amount.

The methodology consisted of: (i) providing institutional support to CNCAS; (ii) placing at its disposal a credit line worth SDR 1 425 000 (increased to SDR 654 000 after the mid-term review); and (iii) subcontracting this sub-component (and its objectives) to CNCAS. At the start of the project, CNCAS was unwilling to grant credit to almost all the target groups because of their past and present failure to repay loans. Hence, the project's initial efforts – which continued until June 1996 – were directed towards restructuring the EIGs and settling their accounts with the banking sector. For its part, CNCAS agreed to extend the deadlines on pre-project debts. This sub-component thus helped not only to reorganize and strengthen the management of farmers' organizations and EIGs, but also to improve their relations with the banking sector.

Promotion of credit unions (caisse populaires d'épargne et de credit – CAPECs). Results as of June 2001 included the creation of four functional inter-village CAPECs, with a total of 1 262 permanent members, 44% of whom were women. The value of the capital shares held totalled CFAF 3 858 500 (1 629 shares3), total assets of the CAPECs amounted to CFAF 2 232 149 and total deposits came to CFAF 51 million. Overall, 171 loans were granted for a total amount of CFAF 10 076 000 (85% of the loans granted after the first half of 2001). The loans approved were for commerce (82%), agriculture (10%), and livestock production and fishing. In some cases, so-called "emergency credits" were also extended on the basis of informed decision-making. The ceiling for this type of credit was set at CFAF 15 000. Generally speaking, the total amount of credits appears low compared to the amount of deposits, but this is a reflection of the CAPECs' prudent start-up policies and their present level of activities.

The methodology consisted of carrying out a socio-economic study and then negotiating future activities with beneficiaries. Four CAPECs (versus the eight proposed in the project appraisal) have been maintained, owing mainly to the population densities and distribution in the area. The operational approach was divided in three stages, in the course of which extension activities, training and exchange visits resulted in the emergence of the four CAPECs that are functional and recognized by law today. This area remains fragile, however, and most of the general expenses of the CAPECs were still being entirely covered by PRODAM at the end of the project. The total cost for the "rural financing" component was of SDR 943 711, excluding support and infrastructure costs.

Strengthening of local capacity

Strengthening of capacity. The main results were: (i) training of 214 trainers in 24 different areas, which enhanced their technical, professional, training and communication skills for working in the rural environment; (ii) training in group management and organization for 1 913 rural managers (of whom 37% were women) and formulation, with the beneficiaries, of their own management documents based on their actual needs; (iii) technical training (agro-pastoral and environmental advisory services) for members of EIGs and women's groups in order to enable them to carry out agricultural production, marketing-gardening and women's self-development activities; (iv) literacy and post-literacy training for 9 663 participants (48% women) through 145 centres and production of 42 post-literacy support documents or manuals.

The methodology for providing agricultural advisory services consisted in organizing a participatory assessment in the villages in order to identify constraints and solutions with respect to production activities and then developing the content of programmes. Extension activities included field visits, advice on equipment, demonstration, visits for the exchange of experiences and review days to take stock of progress. As for the activities aimed at the women's groups (more than 4 000 women in all), the intervention methodology consisted in multiplying the training received by trainers and by women leaders chosen by the groups. The women were given instruction in topics relating to reforestation, fabric-dyeing, hygiene, health and nutrition. The total cost for the "strengthening of local capacity" component was SDR 333 431, excluding monitoring and infrastructure costs.


The principal results were the construction of two 113 metre bridges to make it possible to cross the two main branches of the Senegal River at all seasons, two box culverts, five lined drainage channels and two submersible concrete aprons. The amounts budgeted were not sufficient to complete all the works (the lowest bid submitted was CFAF 3 390 008 594, while only CFAF 1 559 000 000 was available). It was therefore agreed that the works that would enable access to the project area during all seasons would be carried out in this first phase, and that the remaining terracing works would be postponed until further financing was received.

Impact, relevance and effectiveness of the project

The evaluation confirmed that PRODAM has had numerous positive impacts, including, notably, the improvement of productive capital on the farms in the area. The rehabilitation of 1 704 ha of village irrigation schemes benefited 1 484 heads of household and 3 450 women (market gardens) directly, the overall number of beneficiaries totalling 16 324. The project facilitated equal access to land in disparate communities (consisting of owners, refugees, dispossessed persons) and increased fourfold the average amount of land being farmed by the villagers in these areas. While PRODAM did thus enable the most destitute members of the population and the repatriates to have access to the Walo, its approach to land use models for the Senegal River valley requires further study in order to establish its economic sustainability.

The creation of three new pastoral units has opened up 210 000 ha of land for off-season grazing by an additional 95 000 TLUs. While the health conditions and productivity of herds seem to have improved, the breeders' strategy of herd accumulation did not change, and the impact of this sub-component in terms of higher incomes and greater food security was therefore very weak.

Access to water through the boreholes and infrastructure put in place under the project benefited not only the animals but the human population, lightening the daily burden of labour for women in some villages. However, a clearer definition of roles and responsibilities with regard to the institutional management of this infrastructure is needed in order to ensure its sustainability.

Productive capital also increased, thanks to the acquisition of equipment (power pumps) and draught animals via the producer organizations (OPs). Household food security improved as a result of the fact that rice yields on the irrigated lands tripled over five years. Families now have cereal supplies that are twice the food security threshold level set by the FAO. However, these results must be looked at in the light of the findings of a nutritional assessment which revealed that 20% of the children under the age of 5 in the department suffer from acute malnutrition, with no significant difference between PRODAM and non-PRODAM villages. Moreover, it remains to be determined whether this level of intensified farming on irrigated lands is financially sustainability, which is not a certainty, given the evolution of prices in recent years.

With regard to the organization and structuring of populations, the project launched a remarkable experience of promoting the formation of networks and associations, in addition to putting in place institutional tools in support of the project. This fostered the emergence of organizations that have become fora for consensus-building, resource mobilization, beneficiary empowerment, and the creation of future capacity to influence and propose alternatives for sustainable development activities in the area. However, despite these indisputable achievements, some deficiencies persist with regard to the sustainability of the activities undertaken, notably in infrastructure management and maintenance.

Although women play a crucial social and economic role, their involvement in the control of resources and in decision-making is far from commensurate with that role. In terms of social cohesion, the desired impact seems to have been achieved, with 79.5% of the repatriated households having been resettled. From an economic standpoint, net household income has improved greatly thanks to PRODAM and is estimated at an average of CFAF 325 000/ha net per plot. The project's impact on the environment and the natural resource base has also been positive, particularly the decrease in brushfires which has resulted from the assumption of responsibility for management by local organizations.

For all these reasons, the project is deemed to have been relatively effective and responsive to local problems, although, ultimately, the USD 27.6 million directly benefited only 12 villages and 16 500 people, without resolving the problems surrounding equitable and financially sustainable land use in the Senegal River valley or the problems relating to organization of marketing by producers.

Lessons learned

The main lessons learned from the PRODAM experience can be summarized as follows:

  1. Empowerment of grass-roots organizations is one of the necessary conditions for the sustainability and viability of the investments and economic activities supported by the project;
  2. The empowerment of grass-roots organizations should take place gradually and should be supported by activities to strengthen their capacity for organization and management;
  3. The intensification of rice production and the diversification of agricultural incomes in the project area will necessarily entail the improvement of access to markets and local financial services that are suited to their needs.


The positive results of PRODAM, the well-developed structure and the effectiveness of the farmers' organizations that have participated in the project, the competence of the project management unit (PMU) and its local partners, and the work undertaken during the participatory evaluation process and the Orossougui workshop are all factors that speak in favour of the formulation of a second phase. This second phase should be highly participatory and should fully recognize the rights and capacities of local stakeholders in rural development.

A grant from IFAD (ECP/NGO) will be made available for NGO "USE" to enable this organization to continue providing support to the CAPECs and the farmers' organizations. In the framework of this grant, the parties will consider extending a budget line of support for the KNB Federation in order to enable it to provide a minimum level of service for its members.

With regard to the communities that are hoping to be included in PRODAM-II, the Federation should remain cautious and avoid taking on commitments that it might not be able to fulfil. As for the farmers' organizations with payment arrears to CNCAS, the Federation should continue to encourage them to settle their debts as soon as possible. In general, the Federation and the CAPECs should continue seeking to work in concert with CNCAS.

1/ The evaluation mission consisted of: Mr Jacques Faye, rural sociologist/geographist (Team Leader) ; Mr Thierno Aliou Ba, sociologist-trainer (facilitator of the participatory evaluation); Dr Haidara Abdoulaye, physician, specialist in community health; and Mr Bouna Camara, demographic statistician. Mr J.Ph. Audinet, Evaluation Officer at IFAD participed in the preparatory mission and in the evaluation workshop. This Evaluation report has been written by Mr Hubert Boirard, agro-economist, IFAD consultant.
2/ 35 000 TLUs for Malandou and Péthiel, 60 000 TLUs for Wendou diohi.
3/ The minimum number of shares is set at one for individual members and four for corporate members.


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