Viet Nam: Supporting Community-Based Agricultural Extension and Training in Mountainous Districts

Sovereign Project | 39142-012

Summary

The JFPR Project will contribute to poverty reduction in the mountainous districts in the northern central region of Viet Nam by enhancing agricultural income and ensuring food security (rice and maize) among the poor through community-based agricultural extension and training programs. The Project specifically aims to (i) improve livelihoods of the rural poor in remote communities through better cultivation practices on food crops, and through appropriate knowledge and technologies for other crops and income-generating activities; (ii) increase the capacity of local agricultural extension workers and grassroot-level extension agents in appropriate cultivation techniques, and participatory and pro-poor extension services; (iii) establish farmer-to-farmer learning networks; and (iv) promote decentralized and participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation.

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Project Name Supporting Community-Based Agricultural Extension and Training in Mountainous Districts
Project Number 39142-012
Country Viet Nam
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 9071-VIE: Supporting Community-Based Agricultural Extension and Training in Mountainous Districts
Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction US$ 900,000.00
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change
Sector / Subsector

Agriculture and Natural Resources - Agricultural production

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Description The JFPR Project will contribute to poverty reduction in the mountainous districts in the northern central region of Viet Nam by enhancing agricultural income and ensuring food security (rice and maize) among the poor through community-based agricultural extension and training programs. The Project specifically aims to (i) improve livelihoods of the rural poor in remote communities through better cultivation practices on food crops, and through appropriate knowledge and technologies for other crops and income-generating activities; (ii) increase the capacity of local agricultural extension workers and grassroot-level extension agents in appropriate cultivation techniques, and participatory and pro-poor extension services; (iii) establish farmer-to-farmer learning networks; and (iv) promote decentralized and participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation. The Project will also disseminate relevant information and knowledge generated from the Project to AST institutions, provincial governments and other key stakeholders to learn the impact of applying improved techniques and how to take advantage of community resources for agricultural extension and training programs. Gender will be mainstreamed into all project activities.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

This JFPR Project was conceived to complement the proposed Agriculture Science andTechnology Project (ASTP) which was being formulated by ADB. In line with the Government's medium- to long-term strategies as presented in its Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (May 2002), the ASTP aims to increase agricultural income and contribute to reduced rural poverty by strengthening the country's agriculture science and technology (AST) system (research, extension, and education). In conjunction with the ASTP, the JFPR Project will provide (i) increased opportunities for grassroots application of AST for poverty reduction in the mountainous districts of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces, and (ii) important feedback and lessons learned on the effectiveness of pro-poor approaches and participatory planning techniques for community-based extension and training. These new approaches and techniques will be introduced and replicated in new districts based on the practical experience of Canadian Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI), a Canadian non-government organization, which worked successfully in other districts of Thanh Hoa province.

ADB and CECI jointly developed the JFPR Project, drawing primarily on CECI's experience with the Improved Livelihoods for Mountainous Communities Project (ILMCP) financed by the Canadian International Development Agency in two remote mountainous districts of Thanh Hoa province. The ILMCP provides a strong rationale for the JFPR Project as it has been highly successful in assisting poor, mountainous, ethnic minority communities to rapidly and widely achieve food security through capacity building of local extension workers and establishment of community-based extension systems. As a result, farmers have been able to sustainably increase their food crop production and go from net deficit to surplus production in a relatively short period. The ILMCP also supported several cash crop and small livestock income-generating activities for farmers. More than 6,000 households increased their incomes by 30% or more through the activities. These include mostly ethnic minority communities representing the poorest in the two districts.

Impact Improve food security and income generation in the target mountainous districts
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Improved cultivation of food and cash crops, and production of small livestock through increased dissemination of agricultural science and technology; enhanced the capacity of local government agricultural extension staff and commune extension workers in cultivation techniques and pro-poor participatory extension mechanisms; and established grassroots farmer-to-farmer learning networks
Progress Toward Outcome The Project showed that the improved community-based agriculture extension system were viable in mountainous areas in the northern central region. The Project delivered needed extension services to the project beneficiaries through the system. The beneficiaries appreciated some practical farming practices introduced in demonstration sites by the Project. The extension system, together with the linkages with existing credit institutions which would provide fund for agricultural inputs, was expected to contribute to food security and income generation in the project area.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Increased participation of the project beneficiaries and other stakeholders in planning, monitoring, and evaluation through: (a) conducting participatory rural appraisals (PRAs), and (b)conducting semi-annual and annual review and planning (SARP) at village, commune, district, and project levels.

Improved access of farmers to information and knowledge on advanced agricultural production and marketing practices through (a) establishing demonstration models for key food and cash crops and small livestock; (b) training farmers' groups on improved farming and income generating techniques for food and cash crops, and livestock; (c) improving linkage between farmers' groups and existing credit programs; and (d) establishing demonstration sites for participatory micro-irrigation management models.

Enhanced knowledge and skills of extension agents on agricultural knowledge and technology, extension management, and participatory approaches through: (a) providing training of trainers for local government extension staff and commune extension workers, and (b) preparing operational plans for extension activities by farmers' groups, communes, district agricultural extension centers (DAECs), and provincial agricultural extension centers (PAECs).

Established farmer-to-farmer networks aiming at encouraging the exchanges of experiences and knowledge among farmers through: (a) establishing a farmer extension network in each district; (b) fostering farmer extension network leaders; and (c) conducting farmer forums, study tours, and exchange visits.

Effective project coordination mechanisms and smooth project implementation through: (a) preparing office space and equipment, and assigning government counterpart staff, (b) establishing project coordination committees (PCCs) and holding PCC meetings, and (c) preparing and submitting annual work plans and quarterly progress reports.

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

The Project produced satisfactory reports and technical documents. These included manuals for PRAs, SARP, and training for extension agents. These manuals were expected to improve the sustainability of the project outcome. Through PRAs and stakeholder consultations at the inception stage, the output performance indicators were clarified and refined to monitor the project performance in more practical and effective ways and fit local geographical situations. This enabled the Project to deliver satisfactory performance of the indicators. Three farmers' groups in each village were organized in a participatory manner and a total of 180 farmers' groups were operational at the end of the Project. Each group introduced one or more of pro-poor farming models (e.g., improved rice farming with pill fertilizer, hybrid maize cultivation, poultry raising, and pig raising). Requiring relatively low inputs, these models appeared suitable for poor farmers. Two micro-irrigation schemes in Hoc village, Chau Dinh commune, Qui Hop district were rehabilitated and farmers' groups committed to manage their schemes. In addition, the Project, on the one hand, trained local extension agents. The Project also fostered dedicated farmer leaders for farmer-to-farmer networks, on the other, although the networks were voluntary and informal and required further support from PAECs and DAECs. The demonstration models were disseminated by the activities of the farmer leaders. They connected farmers' groups with each other, as well as with local governments' extension staff and commune extension workers. The target villages were sparsely located; nonetheless, the Project could deliver inputs and generate outputs by facilitating project activities at the village level through the nexus of extension agents, community-based farmers' groups, and farmer-to-farmer networks. The Project, therefore, was efficient.

Detailed work plans for project activities were developed and updated through PRAs and SARP processes. These participatory and iterative processes improved the practical project implementation. The SARP process ensured that introduced techniques were fit for villagers' needs, and that technical problems encountered by farmers were addressed in a timely manner. The Project noted that farmers could access credit through Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Bank for Social Policy, or People Credit Fund. So, the Project monitored the situation to see if farmers could access to existing financial institutions. By emphasizing the importance of leaning by doing, the Project succeeded in providing target farmers with hands-on experiences and eventually confidence and self-reliance in their farming. Widely shared simple methodology for SARP was thought to improve farmers' participation. Beneficiaries appreciated new farming techniques introduced by the Project. The Project, therefore, was effective.

The Project also succeeded in motivating local staff by sharing the objectives and importance of the Project. PAECs and DAECs expanded the agricultural extension activities introduced by the Project to other districts or communes and other agricultural development projects in their jurisdiction. Representatives PAECs, DAECs, and commune people's committees were committed to sustain the project outcome and some project activities were incorporated into their development plans. These movements would enhance the sustainability of the project outcome. In addition, the EA organized a national workshop where promising demonstration models and lessons learned were disseminated to the central and local government staff including staff in other provinces and project staff of ASTP, and representatives of other NGOs. The project outcome would be sustained if DAECs, PAECs, and NAFEC could continue to support extension staff and workers who would in turn support farmers' groups, farmers' leaders, and farmer-to-farmer networks.

The Project showed that the improved community-based agriculture extension system were viable in mountainous areas in the northern central region. The Project delivered needed extension services to the project beneficiaries through the system. The beneficiaries appreciated some practical farming practices introduced in demonstration sites by the Project. The extension system, together with the linkages with existing credit institutions which would provide fund for agricultural inputs, was expected to contribute to food security and income generation in the project area. The Project, therefore, is rated successful.

Geographical Location Than Hoa and Nghe Anh Provinces, Viet Nam
Safeguard Categories
Environment C
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples A
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects NA
Involuntary Resettlement NA
Indigenous Peoples NA
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

The Project was designed in close coordination with key stakeholders from the

concept stage. NAEC and other departments of MARD, and the AECs of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An Provinces, were consulted on initial drafts of the concept paper, and NAEC actively participated in meetings with provincial and district partners and field visits to potential project sites. Preliminary provincial coordination committees were formed in each project province to guide and advise the design phase, including selection of project districts, and review the main content of the project proposal. This committee will be formalized later as the official provincial coordination committee (PCC) for implementation. Field visits were carried out to a number of potential sites, and ethnic minorities and women farmers were interviewed. Based on the outcome of these meetings, comments and recommendations of stakeholders were incorporated in the detailed proposal.

Structured workshops with representatives from key stakeholders were organized in different potential project sites to present and review the JFPR Project in detail. Representatives from ethnic minority communities and district authorities participated. Information and data were collected in the communes, using participatory survey methods. The results were presented at provincial workshops for provincial authorities and other stakeholders. The result was

verification of key project assumptions, collection of additional data, and identification of priority stakeholder issues.

During Project Implementation

At project inception, the Project will organize participatory rural appraisal (PRA) surveys in the project communes. The PRA survey will provide staff and

communities with a good opportunity to learn about the JFPR Project, working area, and communities involved. In addition to collecting baseline information, it will also allow communities to identify their interests and priorities, and make initial plans for agriculture activities, including establishment of demonstration models.

The Project will inform the selected village communities about more project details and invite interested farm households to register their interest. Choice of crops will be determined based on consultation with project beneficiaries, usually including cereal crops like rice and maize, and leguminous crops and upland vegetables. For a demonstration site, an interested farmer group (20-30 farmers) with contiguous land of about 1 hectare will be selected and the need for repair and rehabilitation of small-scale irrigation schemes will be assessed. Cost sharing between the Project and participating farmers for procuring agricultural materials, land, and labor varies depending on the outcome of local consultations and assessments at project inception. The district AEC manages and administers these arrangements with assistance from the implementing NGO. The Project enters into an agreement with the AEC on the process, terms, and conditions, including training, monitoring, and other project activities.

At the end of the growing season, members and leaders of the community (village leaders, leaders of mass organizations, etc.) are invited to view the results. The AEC evaluates these results, which are presented at the semiannual review and planning (SARP) workshops. Possible self-monitoring by farmer groups will be considered at an early stage of project implementation and necessary training will be provided to farmers.

Business Opportunities
Consulting Services The selection and engagement of consulting services for the Project will be undertaken in accordance with the ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants and other arrangements satisfactory to ADB for the engagement of domestic consultants.
Responsible ADB Officer Kazuhiro Watanabe
Responsible ADB Department Southeast Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Division, SERD
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (MARD) Nguyen Tanh LamNational Agriculture Extension Center, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Timetable
Concept Clearance 11 Mar 2005
Fact Finding 19 Oct 2004 to 27 Oct 2004
MRM -
Approval 22 Aug 2005
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 14 Mar 2008
Last PDS Update 28 Feb 2011

Grant 9071-VIE

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
22 Aug 2005 04 Aug 2006 04 Aug 2006 31 Aug 2008 28 Feb 2010 31 Mar 2011
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 0.90 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 0.00 22 Aug 2005 0.00 0.88 98%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.90 22 Aug 2005 0.00 0.88 98%

Safeguard Documents

See also: Safeguards

No documents found.

Evaluation Documents

See also: Independent Evaluation

No documents found.


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