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Second Palawan Integrated Area Development Project (Loans 1033-PHI[SF]/1034-PHI)

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

A village-level benchmark survey could be combined with community mobilization in a village at the commencement of a subproject.

Capacity building for local governments and social preparation for the poor should be conducted prior to physical investment. Since these activities are time consuming, technical assistance from aid agencies could be used to build up local capacity prior to the design of loan projects.

In line with decentralization, integrated area development projects are better implemented by local governments, which are more attuned to the needs of their voters and the delivery of project benefits. National line agencies could participate as contractors to provide services based on client demand.

Investment in extension or training centers needs to consider the real value of such centers as well as factors that may reduce the expected outcome such as shortage of staff and operational budgets after project completion. In most cases, the key constraint to agricultural extension is not a lack of buildings or training venues but shortage of staff and travel budget.

Multiple interventions are needed for rural development and poverty reduction. To achieve real synergies, integration of project activities should be based on client demand and conducted at the village level instead of letting different line agencies independently implement different project components.

Project benefit monitoring will be most effective and efficient if local governments and communities are provided with strong incentives to monitor. Proportionate sharing of cash investment cost and allocation of project budget to local governments may be useful for this purpose.

Project monitoring should focus on project benefits rather than physical targets so as to draw the attention of project staff to the purpose of public investment. The newly introduced results-oriented monitoring is a step in the right direction.

Public investment in comunal irrigation systems (CISs) tends to be overdesigned. This leads to inefficiencies and poor sustainability. Due to their small size, most communal irrigation systems (CISs) benefit a small number of the better-off groups instead of the poor.

Regulations need to be developed to ensure exclusive use of the fund for emergency purposes. This measure will help screen out subprojects with poor sustainability, as local governments and beneficiaries that are unable or unwilling to contribute to the fund will likely be unable or unwilling to take care of the facilities after construction.

The top-down approach of designing a subproject by consultants with beneficiaries being informed of the investment decision leads to weak ownership of the subproject and poor sustainability. A better alternative is to let beneficiaries participate in subproject decisions, and share a proportionate cash investment.

When expanding a regular government program, its strengths and weaknesses need to be carefully studied. Under the project, the livestock program distributed animals to farmers free of charge in the name of helping the poor, but ended up benefiting a small number of the better-off groups at a high cost to the government.

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