Aide memoire

Download 167.17 Kb.
Size167.17 Kb.
  1   2   3   4

Sierra Leone Rural and Private Sector Development Project, ISM, Nov. 21-Dec 1, 2011


Sierra Leone

Implementation Support Mission for

Rural and Private Sector Development Project (IDA Grant # H2900-SL)

November 21-December 2, 2011


1. A joint team1 of World Bank/Government of Sierra Leone carried out an implementation support mission (ISM) during the period November 21 – December 2, 2011. The objective of the mission was to review overall progress in the implementation of project activities after the Additional Financing was approved on May 19, 2011. Specifically, the ISM focused on reviewing: (i) the institutional arrangements and project management, annual work plans, procurement, audit and financial management, compliance with agreed upon covenants, including environmental and social safeguards and (monitoring and evaluation; (ii) strategies for the rehabilitation of feeder roads; (iii) construction of community infrastructure; (iv) delivery of matching grants; (v) support to farmer based organization; and (iv) safeguards due diligence.

2. The mission visited all the Local Government Councils (with the exception of Kailahun, Bonthe and Kono) interacted with their members and some Chairpersons of the Councils, beneficiary groups, and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), Ministry of Works, Housing and Infrastructure (MoHWI), Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), Njala University (NU), Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI), Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), Sierra Leone Standards Board (SLSB) and the National Association of Farmers of Sierra Leone (NAFSL). The mission expresses its sincere appreciation to the Project Coordination Unit for the excellent arrangements made for the visits and all parties the mission interacted with for the fruitful discussions and insights they provided.
3. This aide memoire summarizes the key findings, recommendations and the agreements reached with the Borrower during a wrap up meeting held on December 1, 2011. The meeting was chaired by Minister, MAFFS, Dr Sam Sesay and present at the meeting were members of the Project Steering Committee and development partners.


4. The Sierra Leone Rural and Private Sector Development Project (RPSDP) was approved by the Board of Directors in August 2007 and became effective on June 30, 2008. The objective is to improve efficiencies along the value chain of agricultural commodities with higher benefits flowing to producers. The project has four components: (a) Domestic Market Improvement; (b) Agricultural Export Promotion; (c) Farmer-Based Organizations and Technology Improvement and; (d) Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation and Policy Regulations. After experiencing effectiveness and implementation delays the project was eventually restructured in August 2009 due to unsatisfactory performance in project implementation. The performance thereafter improved and the Bank provided additional financing in the amount of US20m in 2011 to further support scaling up of feeder roads rehabilitation, support for the cocoa sector and capacity development of farmer based organizations.

5. Like the previous missions (the mid-term review and the February 2011), the implementation support mission observed that significant progress continued to be made in project implementation following the project restructuring and subsequent execution of most of the recommendations of the mid-term review of July 2010. To expedite progress towards the achievement of project goals, the following key actions were agreed upon: (i) that the project support, through SLARI, distribute planting materials to farmer groups for multiplication to improve access to improved technologies and raise farm level productivity; (ii) provide logistical support for extension workers to advise farmers engaged in the seed and planting material multiplication; (iii) review (with the assistance of IITA) the requests for cassava processing machinery and make appropriate recommendations on the type and capacity of equipment for the intended processing system for the FBOs; (iv) ensure that structures housing the investment are appropriately designed to minimize the cost as well as provide hygienic environment; and (v) identify and form a core training group, comprising people knowledgeable on cocoa agronomy, processing, quality control as well as a cooperative officer in each district to provide hands-on training at the village level for the members of the coops; (vi) engage consultants to review the legal, institutional, structural and capacity issues of FBOs in Sierra Leone to clarity the type of support required for a national effort; (vii) support the councils to improve on contract management – take proactive steps to terminate failing contracts and demand redress by invoking the relevant provisions of the contractual agreements to send a strong signal to non-performing contractors; (vii) prepare a comprehensive action plan for 500km of feeder roads to be completed under the Additional Financing facility; (viii) complete the seed policy to provide guidance for the maintenance of community seed bank; and (ix) address all safeguard issues that emanate from implementation. In addition, the PCU requested to collaborate with the Local Councils to document the social and environmental impacts: the types and number of people affected as evidence of levels of impacts. The documentation was to include consultations held with the community members and agreements reached with regards to addressing the impacts.


6. Most of the previous agreements reached with the borrower have been implemented (See Annex 2). And considerable progress has been achieved in project implementation as most of the planned activities under the 2011 work plan have been completed. However, a new and a major problem with regards to compliance with fiduciary covenants has emerged, which if not resolved timely might jeopardize the gains achieved so far and stall project implementation and raise a risk flag. The approval of the additional finance was based on the assurance made to the World Bank Board of Directors that “ the PCU will be maintained in its present form to ensure effective inter-sectoral coordination and provide fiduciary support to all implementing agencies”. The implementing agencies of the project are MAFFS, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Works, Housing and Industry and their respective agencies. The fiduciary responsibility was contracted to KPMG in 2008. The mission was made to understand that the contract expired on September 30, 2011 and has not been renewed. This implies that the projects associated with the PCU have been without legally binding financial, procurement and grant management functioning authority for two months. This is a breach of the covenants of the Financing Agreement dated June 29, 2011 Schedule 2 Section IA. The mission recommends that the four Ministers representing the implementing agencies mentioned above should meet under the chairmanship of the Minister for Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) as a matter of urgency to rectify the situation. The inability to resolve the issue may lead to undesirable consequences such the invocation of Article VI Section 6.02 of the General Conditions for Credits and Grants for the suspension of the project. The vacuum created by the absence of a legally constituted team to carry out fiduciary responsibilities affects all other projects whose approval was linked to the existence of the RPSDP PCU, including the WAAPP which might face effectiveness challenges.

7. During the wrap-up meeting the Chair and Minister for MAFFS demanded an explanation as to why the Ministry being the host of the project should consult with other ministries to be able to make a decision on the fiduciary arrangements. It was explained to him that the MoTI, MoWHI and MLGRD, under the revised Financing Agreement dated June 29, 2011, have major responsibilities as detailed out in the Project paper dated April 25, 2011 (refer to pg 8 para 33, 34 & 35.) to which the PCU is expected to provide services as indicated above. Consequently, decision to alter the composition of the PCU and their responsibilities should be taken in consultation with relevant ministries whos will be affected by such decisions including the MOFED, the Government’s legal representative.

Achievement of Development Objectives

8. The mission concluded that overall, the project is making significant progress towards achieving the objectives as outlined in the PAD and modified following approval of the additional financing , even though it experienced initial implementation challenges. The project has been quite successful in completing the rehabilitation of about 421 km of feeder roads to make it possible for beneficiary communities to transport goods and services from and to markets and access social services; supported the creation of cocoa cooperatives that has enhanced the capacity for the produce and export 150 tonnes of quality cocoa beans and earn premium prices; supported 275 FBOs in agro-processing to add value to farm produce and reduce post harvest losses. The project has also supported the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau to produce over 66 priority national standards published and gazzetted, and SLIEPA and MAFFS to establish external and internal market information systems for trade promotion all meant to provide the right environment for internal and external marketing of agricultural produce.

Assessment of Implementation Performance


9. Project implementation is rated satisfactory. All project components and activities have progressed quite satisfactory. Project management, however has been weakened by the resignation of the M&E Officer. It is recommended that the project recruits a new one together with the proposed recruitments for WAAPP through UNOPS to save cost and time.

Project implementation performance:
Component 1: Domestic Market Improvement
10. Rehabilitation of Feeder Roads: The project successfully completed the rehabilitation of approximately 421Km (90%) of the approved 468Km of feeder roads across all 13 districts in the country. There were 9 non-performing contracts, the extended deadlines of which have expired and the councils duly notified to terminate. The responsibility for the completion of these failed subprojects and the invocation of appropriate sanctions to the contractors lie with the councils. The mission visited a number of the completed feeder roads and noted that some of the roads are deteriorating as a result of lack of maintenance. The mission agreed to provide support for the maintenance of the roads on a cost sharing basis with the district under a 3-year plan. The Project will provide 70% of the cost of maintenance while the districts provide the remaining 30%. This ratio will be reversed in year two – project 30%: Councils 70%. Thereafter the districts will bear the full maintenance cost. The contribution by the district will have to be provided upfront in the Bank account of the project at the district.
11. District Road Selection Committees in 9 districts have submitted a list of feeder roads for rehabilitating the initial 500km under the additional financing. The district engineers are carrying out road condition surveys and a national-level verification team will visit each of the roads to ensure conformance to the agreed criteria for selection as well as their consistency with the national feeder roads policy. The mission recommends that councils benefiting from these investments should produce feeder roads maintenance plans detailing strategies for raising resources and maintenance of both old and new roads prior to approval for the rehabilitation.
12. Matching Grants to Farmer-Based Organizations (FBOs): The project is supporting some 275 FBOs and Trader Associations in Sierra Leone (including 75 for the pilot phase and 200 new ones). All the physical structures for the pilot phase FBOs have been completed and the requested equipments supplied. The mission observed encouraging progress in the implementation although significant challenges still remain. A number of good examples and initiatives by some of the FBOs were observed. A case in point is where the Mafu Tamba Commercial Farmers Cooperative, at Nyafurandor Village in the Koinadugu District has secured a contract and supplied World Food Program (WFP) 25 Mt of milled rice from last season’s rice harvest under its Purchase for Progress (P4P) program.. This same FBO has secured another contract (with clearly defined delivery time lines) to supply WFP 40 metric tonnes of rice this season. Other good examples were encountered in fish and cassava processing activities.
13. However, the challenge of getting some of the cassava processing initiatives fully functional remains high. The propriety of some of the cassava processing equipments supplied, as was raised by the previous mission, still remains relevant. There is little/no technical guidance to groups as the PSU staff appear to be technically challenged in cassava processing. Modifications are ongoing for about 85% of the facilities. Arrangements for collaboration with IITA for technical support is ongoing. There were issues also with some of the rice processing equipment supplied - some are actually dysfunctional. The mission was informed that replacement for these faulty equipment is underway. Moreover, many of the groups have been adversely affected in various ways by the long waiting time for equipment to be installed – weakened group cohesion and capacity due to the lack of follow up training. Nevertheless, the mission observed in the phase 2 FBOs demonstrated understanding and application of the RRI mechanism. Nearly all the newly supported FBOs have completed the main physical structures and waiting for equipment to be installed. The mission observed that lingering governance and administrative issues between and among the DICs, their secretariats and the offices of the District Chief Administrators are contributing to implementation delays. The mission advised that the ToRs for the above structures be revisited and any duplication or unclear responsibilities cleared up.
14. The mission recommends that the cassava processing facilities be simplified: sophisticated equipments such as mechanical roasters and fryers causing challenges to the groups be replaced with simpler and well tested ones. Installations for the new cassava processing facilities should follow the IITA recommendations. Furthermore, the project should strengthen the collaboration with IITA in the area of providing technical guidance and capacity building for the cassava processing groups.

15. Knowledge Management and Technical Assistance to Improve Access to Market Information: The project supported capacity building of key staff of the Planning, Evaluation Monitoring and Statistic Division (PEMSD) of MAFFS in radio presentation and ethics as well as in group marketing skills, as part of its support to the implementation of the Domestic Market Information System and the Export Information System. The proposed National Agricultural Management Information System (NAMIS) developed by SLIEPA but taken over by MAFFS is yet to take off. The mission had in earlier mission recommended the project to support SLIEPA to host the NAMIS and reiterates the need for the MAFFS to cooperate to make the NAMIS operational. Meanwhile, the Export Trade Information System is almost fully operational except for a few challenges. The mission requested SLIEPA to submit a work plan detailing steps to make the system fully operational. SLIEPA is almost at the point to fully cost the operation of the system and proposes to charge a fee for the use of the facility.

Component 2: Agricultural Export Promotion

16. Introduction of High Yielding Crop Varieties: The project continues in its efforts to support cocoa farmers to replant their aging farms with improved planting materials in the cocoa growing districts. Under this scheme over 156000 cocoa seedlings have been raised and distributed to farmers at a cost of Le2000/seedling. Given, the high demand for proved planting materials, more nurseries should be raised closer to the farmer, at the sectional level to improve access to improved seedlings.

17. Support to Improving Quality and Standards: In addition to the initial support to the Standards Bureau (SB) in the development of 66 priority national standards, the project has also supported Njala University with laboratory equipments. Unfortunately, the NU appears not ready and prepared to receive the equipment. The mission recommends that NU should as a matter of urgency complete the rehabilitation of the laboratories and also develop a protocol to provide service to the private sector at a cost. The NU must also complete the MOU on the sharing of facilities with the SB whist the latter helps in getting the NU laboratories accredited. In addition, the completion of the Phytosanitary Policy and Import Quarantine System developed by SB has been held up by MAFFS whose input was solicited about 10 months ago. The mission recommends that the MAFFS should expedite its review for the process to move ahead.
18. TheBank will consider request to consider extending assistance to the Investment Promotion side of SLEIPA, in view of the sectors they have identified and successfully attracted foreign investors, subject to the relevant Ministry’s backing the request and providing the TTL with the requisite supporting documentation. The mission recommends that opportunities for out-grower schemes in the agricultural sector be pursued.
Component 3: Support to Farmer Based Organizations and Technological Improvement
19. Strengthening the Legally Registered FBOs and their Unions: The project focused its capacity building efforts on the new (200) FBOs that the DICs approved for funding, particularly in the application of the RRI, group dynamics, leadership and organizational management and business plan development. These trainings were planned to precede the commencement of the construction activities to enable the beneficiary groups make efficient use of the skills acquired. The project is also supporting cocoa farmers in good agricultural practices in cocoa production. The review and support to national associations have not been taken up seriously under the project. The mission recommends the project to expedite the completion of the TORs and recruitment of consultants to commence the assignment. The mission reiterated the importance of the organizations or individual members/enterprises registering their firms with the Registrar-General’s either as sole proprietorships or partnerships. Such formalization will enhance the entities’ ability to avail itself of business development services from the financial sector and other service sectors.

20. Access to Improved Agricultural Technology and Practices: Under this sub-component, the project is supporting the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI) to help farmers to adopt improved agricultural technologies to improve farm level productivity and increase production. A total of 197 farmers from 73 FBOs have been supported to undertake multiplication of planting materials on cassava while 252 others from 84 FBOs are engaged in the multiplication of improved rice varieties. The mission noted that progress has been made in some districts notably, Moyamba and Bo, largely due to the involvement and oversight responsibilities provided by the Chief Administrator and agricultural officers. The mission recommends a review of the entire scheme and support provided to districts which show signs of seriousness. In addition, extension officers in those districts should be supported with fuel for their motor bikes to visit and guide the farmers involved in the seed and planting material multiplication scheme

21. The mission also held discussions with some officials of the Ministry of Trade on strategies for job creation. The Ministry will share the nation’s private sector development strategy with the project team for input. Private enterprise development and possible government catalytic interventions with clear exit criteria are tried and tested ways to job creation.
22. The project has disbursed US$ 21.2 representing 70.7% of the original US$30m. There is a further US$3.5m committed leaving an uncommitted balance of US$ 5.2 as of October 31, 2011.
Financial Management:
23. For the additional financing (IDA H6970) that became effective in August 01, 2011. A new Designated Account will need to be opened for disbursements to commence. Overall, FM arrangements at the PCU meet the minimum requirements, including compliance with financial reporting as well as continuing support to the three other WB – financed projects under Ministry of Agriculture. Review comments on the previous quarters’ IFR will be communicated to the Project team in a separate letter through the TTL.
24. Based on the FM supervision plan and the project implementation stage, an on-site supervision and transaction review were conducted on the two LCs (Bo District and Waterloo Rural) during this mission. Details of the findings and recommendation are in the attached appendix. Further to the findings made and as part of the portfolio-wide exercise, all projects with implementation at the Local Councils and Community Driven (CDDs) will be subjected to FM in-depth review in the coming months. Details of the modalities will be communicated to the Project fiduciary team.

It is noted that the sustainability of the satisfactory FM rating of SL RPSDP and smooth implementation of the project depends on maintaining acceptable FM arrangement including a robust control environment, amongst other requirements.

25. The project continues to support the capacity building for the procurement units of MAFFS, MoTI, Local Council Procurement Officers and Civil Engineers, SLRA Engineers, Implementing Agencies of RSPDP, Suppliers, Contractors and Consultants through on the job and functional training. The procurement of goods, works and services are all on schedule and the procurement plan has been approved by the Bank.
26. The mission assessed issues related to both social and environmental safeguards. It was noted that there are no serious environmental and social safeguards issues at this stage of project implementation. The PCU has taken modest steps towards using the safeguards instruments prepared (Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) and Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) as guide and also taken some actions on operationalizing the grievance redress mechanism. The mission however notes that some of the activities like feeder roads, market construction may entail social impacts related to land acquisition and waste management issues. See annex 3 for the detailed Safeguards report.
27. On these and related issues, the mission recommends that the following actions be taken in respect of ensuring continuous safeguards due diligence.

  • Continuous monitoring of land related issues especially for the construction of Markets which will be bigger than what is required by the FBOs and therefore likely to result in some impacts

  • The Feeder road assessment should include both social and environmental impact assessment as part of the reports. Assessment report without information on potential social and environmental impacts should be considered incomplete.

  • All Engineers/contractors should have copies of the safeguards documents and PCU should have meeting with all including participating Districts to ensure they are conversant with the guidance from the RPF and ESMF and take needed actions to address any potential impacts.

  • PCU should follow up with District Councils on their waste disposal policies and give any form of support that will be beneficial to the project in the long run.

  • Continuous visit by the project team should include a District Health officer to check on waste disposal, cleanliness and ensure safety of processed products especially gari and cassava dough.

Download 167.17 Kb.

Share with your friends:
  1   2   3   4

The database is protected by copyright © 2024
send message

    Main page