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LESSONS:

Livestock Development Project in Pakistan (Loan 973-PAK[SF])

sector: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development | country: Pakistan

Design. The Project was implemented at two levels of government, and across four geographic areas and a diverse scope of activities. Thus, the design is considered complex, difficult to implement, and overly ambitious. Implementation arrangements proposed in the original design required establishment of an extension network, through village livestock extension committees (VLECs), that required considerable effort to become operational and effective in delivering new technical packages. But the design failed to incorporate serious dialogue with the stakeholders, including potential beneficiaries. Neither the implementing institutions nor their lower levels adopted participatory processes. Therefore, many technologies that were introduced were never presented to the broader community. Coverage ultimately suffered due to the lack of design flexibility to accommodate this diversity. Future attempts to increase production should carefully examine producer incentives to use improved technology, and should promote cost effectiveness and practicality. Also, project loans to individual provinces could be favored over umbrella-type countrywide projects with the Government considering the diversified feature of the provinces.

Value of Participatory Approaches. Participatory approaches should be used more when designing and implementing projects, especially those targeted at reducing poverty in rural areas. The participatory approach increases the sense of ownership of a process and facilitates accomplishment of objectives. Furthermore, a participatory approach can better deal with the more diverse characteristics of the target beneficiary population. Its social and resource diversity reinforces the need to develop different technical recommendations for different situations. For example, target beneficiaries who own land have a different approach to fodder production than the land-scarce or landless. Finally, participatory approaches tend to result in more sustainable interventions, because beneficiaries help determine how to address problems they identify.

Need for Systematic Project Monitoring. This Project, again, is evidence of the importance of establishing sound monitoring procedures. Apart from the traditional efficiency and effectiveness monitoring required by ADB projects, the lack of an adequate physical monitoring process during implementation caused several project delays. An early warning mechanism to alert managers and, hopefully, steering committees of slow progress or barriers to projects are necessary for efficient implementation. Such a mechanism can also be used to guide future activities, particularly if the project is implemented over a long time period. Attention should also be given to post-project monitoring through the institutionalization of monitoring procedures used during implementation. Without the routine collection of information by verifiable indicators, it is difficult to assess what benefits the Project generates versus benefits from external influences.

Institutional Analysis at Design Stage. An important lesson from this Project is the need for assessment during the design phase. Then it can be determined if the institution is likely or not to have the will to change its approach from an animal health orientation to a broader goal of service to livestock production and, if so, if it can maintain the broader approach after completion. If so, will the institution have the financial resources to maintain that service capacity? Designers must also determine if the public sector is most appropriate for delivery of extension services. If not, then investments in capacity building for extension are misdirected.

Development of Private Sector Support Services for Livestock. Greater focus should be given to helping the private sector in future livestock development projects. Some animal health services are mostly of a public nature. For example, the Government should bear part of the costs of disease monitoring and meat hygiene. But private sector involvement is essential for any sustainable mi pact on farm productivity. This includes those who provide inputs and services to agriculture, and may include credit providers, risk minimization or insurance organizations, input suppliers, and produce marketers. If the Government is to initiate development through direct investment, it should demonstrate a clear ability to respond in a timely and cost-effective manner. Thus, future support for development of the livestock subsector in Pakistan should pay greater attention to mechanisms by which it can support private sector development.

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