The project to support the National Agricultural Research and Extension Programme (NAREP) is in line with the Cameroonian government’s sector policy that aims to reduce institutional constraints in order to promote competitive, sustainable and equitable agricultural and rural development in all the agro-ecological regions of the country. Hence the Bank’s favourable answer to the request of the Cameroonian government for the
financing of the research component ’to support the second phase of a vast extension-based programme on WB financing.
Project implementation: The loan became effective on 1 October 1999, i.e. slippage of 10 months on the estimated schedule and the signature date of the Loan Agreement on 8 December 1998. These were owing to the difficulties the Borrower had fulfilling certain loan agreement conditions. With regard to the implementation schedule, the operational activities of the project were implemented over a 7-year period (July 2000 to June 2007, excluding one and a half years dedicated to loan effectiveness) instead of the five years initially projected (January 1999 to December 2003). The difficulties stemmed from inefficiency, departure of the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and lack of familiarization with the procedures during the first three years. The major modifications related to the upward revision of the costs of the civil works, equipment and consultation categories, to the detriment of the unallocated category.
Conclusions, Lessons Learnt: The project implementation was satisfactory overall, in spite of the difficulties encountered, arising from lack of familiarization with the procedures during the first three years. The project outputs, though unsatisfactory in relation to the needs, contributed to the revival of agricultural research in Cameroon and greater incentives to the researchers.
The principal lessons learnt are: (i) efficient agricultural research is indispensable for the sustainable economic and social development of a country; (ii) the improvement of the implementation period of projects depends on the steps taken to build the capacities of the staff to master ADB procedures as from project start-up; (iii) the need to define the objectives and scope of Bank projects, on the basis of the type of project and the results expected; and (v) the current technological level gives IRAD the capacity to find, in the short term, appropriate responses to the food crisis.
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