Agriculture Rehabilitation Project
sector: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development | country: Tajikistan
Engaging local expertise to undertake the survey and design of works expedites implementation, reduces costs associated with engaging international and national consultants for the purpose, provides the government with continuing access to project-relevant expertise, and builds national capacity for future projects.
Where WUAs are expected to participate in designing irrigation and drainage schemes, it is important that they be established in advance of the design process to ensure ownership.
The project completion report (PCR) identified two lessons. The first cited the need to engage local expertise in the survey and design of works while the second involved the benefits of establishing water user associations (WUAs) before designing irrigation and drainage schemes. This validation concurs with these lessons.
Mechanisms for sustaining support services for dehkan farms should have been incorporated in the project design. Agricultural support provided to dehkan farms was limited to the duration of the project. No mechanisms were put in place to ensure sustainability of benefits beyond the project’s life. The activities of demonstrations farms were very helpful to dehkan farms in increasing productivity, but these were stopped after project completion. Further, most of these demonstration farms were distributed to individual and family dehkan farms after completion of the project. Agricultural extension services are in the nature of merit goods, with positive externalities to the society. Hence mechanisms should have been established for the provision of these services on an ongoing basis to ensure sustainability of productivity gains.
The phasing of cost recovery and measures to ensure sustainable operation and maintenance of tertiary systems should have been identified at the outset. Transferring management of tertiary irrigation and drainage systems to beneficiaries as a means for participatory water management was appropriate and in line with integrated water resources management principles. However, the phasing of cost recovery and measures needed for water users’ associations to become sustainable should have been made clear at the outset. Measures for achieving full cost recovery should have been identified early in the implementation process.
A monitoring and evaluation system needs to be permanently established within the Ministry of Water Resources and Land Reclamation. While it was established as part of project management, monitoring and evaluation was discontinued after the project management office closed. Hence, project specific data cannot be provided for evaluating long-term outcomes, impact, and poverty reduction.
The project completion report had earlier identified the following lessons. By engaging local expertise in place of international and national consultants, to undertake the survey and design of works, the government can benefit from reduced costs, faster implementation, and continued access to project-relevant expertise. Establishing the water users’ associations in advance would help them participate in the design of irrigation and drainage schemes and ensure ownership.