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LESSONS:

Selected Technical Assistance for Agricultural Planning and Statistics in Nepal

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

A strong participatory process for strategy development through a TA may lead to a focus on consensus creation too early in the formulation stage, which can detract from the innovativeness of the strategy. Participation has to be properly managed if results are to stay focused.

ADB’s sustained engagement in the agriculture sector, with a series of TAs complementing ADB’s loan inputs, shows that such engagement can have positive effects on needed policy reforms. Sequencing policy and institutional changes should follow the principle of identifying the most binding constraint to a sector’s development, the removal of which would generate the largest impact. Since removing a bottleneck may highlight other obstacles to reforms, this process requires a long-term perspective to nurture and gauge the success of a given policy change or reform measure.

All TAs, even those that are primarily geared to conducting studies and drafting policies or plans, need to pay attention to capacity building and institutionalization of their outputs. Permanent government units should be involved in the studies or design of the policies or plans to get better results but also to learn by doing.

Careful consideration needs to be given to the division of responsibilities for collection of statistics between line ministries and statistics organizations such as Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Whenever a new division is mandated, a mechanism needs to be set up to ensure optimal coordination for collection and use of statistics.

Perspective plans, such as promoted by ADB through TA, should be less preoccupied with output targets, allow flexibility, and focus primarily on institutional reform process.

Sector review TAs, such as the agriculture sector performance review (ASPR), need to allow time to disseminate the findings properly, so that these can be digested at various levels and in various geographical areas, and the impact of such reviews improved. In general, the implementation period should be longer to allow for remedial action when problems with the utilization of delivered outputs arise.

The tying of the use of certain TA outputs to covenants of ADB program loans contributes to the effectiveness of such TAs (as well as of the loans).

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