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LESSONS:

People’s Republic of China: Fujian Soil Conservation and Rural Development II Project

sector: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development | country: China, People’s Republic of

This validation concurs with lessons outlined in the project completion report (PCR) on subproject selection, the need for partnership with the private sector, and avoidance of complex and large number of subprojects. On subproject selection, the PCR highlighted that the systematic subproject selection process indeed worked and led to funding of better ventures. (Subproject selection process introduced by the project involved the following: (i) the Fujian project management office [PMO] trained implementing agencies in subproject selection and the latter disseminated subproject opportunities and requirements to the public; (ii) implementing agencies called for proposals from enterprises; (iii) county PMOs and financial bureaus screened candidate subprojects (based mainly upon financial viability and sustainability for enterprise subprojects, and local development plans and priorities for infrastructure subprojects); (iv) prefecture PMOs and financial bureaus recommended candidate subprojects (considering borrowing capacity, priority industry and area of prefecture); and (v) the Fujian PMO and the Fujian Finance Department [FFD] assessed the proposed subprojects and selected the most feasible ones on behalf of the FPG. The selected subprojects met public needs, Fujian Provincial Government [FPG] priorities, and ADB requirements.)

On partnership with the private sector, the project experience confirmed that private enterprise involvement was important in branding and marketing of farm products, in introducing quality standards and technology, in improving farm infrastructure, and in providing extension services. On the design of project components, one should be realistic in the number of components covered, as reducing it to a manageable size would have facilitated project management. This validation is of the view that the latter is the main lesson from this project. The eight components – spanning agriculture improvement, natural resource conservation, hydropower, and credit – were not conducive for (i) a high quality project design, (ii) relatively short ADB processing missions, and (iii) effective implementation by one PMO. These resulted in various technical problems under the project.

The PCR reported significant revisions of performance indicators and targets during project implementation. During the midterm review, project impact and output baseline figures were changed (in addition to reduction in targets). The inadequate baseline information should be treated with caution as this would lead to inaccurate work planning.

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