The overall goal of the Area-Based Agricultural Modernization Programme in Uganda was to increase the incomes and food security of poor rural households in the programme areas and to modernize agriculture in the targeted districts. According to the project performance assessment, the programme’s support for and training of local farmer groups enabled them to expand their production and become more commercially oriented at a time when they were shifting from subsistence to market-based farming.
The programme also improved rural infrastructure, thus facilitating the commercialization of agriculture. Better rural roads improved access to other services, such as input and produce markets and financial services. There were concerns with the sustainability of some of these activities, but these concerns are relatively minor compared with the programme’s achievements. The assessment recommends to reinvigorate the infrastructure management committees as well as ensure the financial sustainability of the savings and credit cooperatives supported by safeguarding their nature as member-based and savings-first institutions.
The success of AAMP may be attributed to numerous factors, of which the most important were: (i) flexibility in the design of programme interventions, allowing for quick response to opportunities that arose during implementation; (ii) mainstreaming of activities into government programmes and linkages with decentralization policies, which helped build up capacity and enhance sustainability of benefits after programme completion; and (iii) the involvement of local people in selecting programmes interventions, taking real responsibility for the implementation of these interventions and sustainability over the long term. The high quality of programme management was also an important factor in the success of the programme.
The PPA identified a number of broad recommendations related to important issues for future IFAD operations in Uganda:
Financing arrangements. Should it not be possible to place all external funds in the same “basket” for monitoring or other reasons, parallel financing, organized under the same coordinating body, might be a relevant and efficient financing solution.
SACCOs . Promoting local SACCOs is a promising approach to creating a financial network to serve the financial needs of Uganda’s rural areas. The financial sustainability and long-term survival of SACCOs will need to be ensured, by safeguarding their nature as member-based and savings-first institutions. Consequently, the Government and support organizations for SACCOs should be careful when choosing the types of financial and technical support they provide.
Infrastructure management committees. These committees should be reinvigorated by means of training and endowing them with the authority and self-esteem to act by themselves, thereby allowing them to be accountable for the infrastructures they have chosen as priorities. Such follow-up would require funding through district and subcounty budgets or, in the medium term, with donor funds or as subcomponents of follow-on projects/programmes.
Indicators and targets for monitoring. Even when there are uncertainties about the types of subprojects to be chosen because of the community-driven development approach, it is important to have targets for indicators, with the caveat that such targets may be modified when clear local preferences emerge.
13 March 2012