Rural Business Support Project (RBSP)

Rural Business Support Project (RBSP)

Donor:  Asian Development Bank (JFPR/ADB)

 Budget:

  • US$ 12, 356,001.00
  • RBSP spent till April, 2011:   69 % out of 12,356,001  MillionUSD
  • The 31% left budget: will be spent till  June 30, 2011

Duration: June 30, 2011           

Location: Balkh, Nangrahar and Bamyan Provinces                   

Status:Under MAIL Program Implementation and Coordination Unit

Objectives:

To add value to the three selected value chains through the RBSP pilot/demo, equity/credit program and trainings/capacity building

Components

The activities undertaken by the project are divided into three major agricultural commodities, which will be focused on in three different provinces.

Progress

The project was supposed to end on December 30, 2010, but was extended till June 30, 2011 due to incomplete, ongoing and pending activities. The six month extension provided an opportunity to complete the on-going and pending activities. The project has made significant progress and impact in all three commodity value chains in the three targeted provinces. Key achievements are summarized below.

Carpet Value Chain Development:

Targeted Provinces: Nangarhar, Bamyan and Balkh.

  • Distributed 327 pilot spinning wheels and 211 carpet looms in RBSP targeted provinces.
  • Trained 1492 wool processors and carpet weavers in best practices and carpet designing
  • Provided 360 carpet weavers with pilot inputs (woolen thread, cotton thread) to assist them in becoming independent carpet suppliers.
  • Linked independent carpet weavers to domestic carpet traders.
  • Developed 10 websites to enhance carpet marketing for Afghan carpet traders in three provinces.
  • Linked international buyers to Afghan carpet traders in the three targeted provinces
  • Conducted a Carpet Marketing and Strategy National Workshop in Kabul for 70 participants. 

 

Potato Value Chain Development:

Targeted Provinces: Bamyan

  • 19 on-farm demonstrations conducted on best potato production practices (2009-10) 
  • 40 Afghan trainers (MAIL and RBSP extension workers) trained through TOT training and 2000 potato farmers trained in best potato production practices.
  • 1411 producers of seed and/or ware potatoes provided 50% equity on production inputs.
  • 8 pilot 4-wheel tractors (60-hp) with 7 implements distributed to RBSP producers’ cooperatives in three districts in Bamyan.
  • 20, 4-wheel tractors (75-hp) each with 3 implements invested in by potato producers with 50% equity contribution from RBSP.
  • 8 potato producers’ cooperatives established and sustainable.
  • 16 pilot potato storages constructed on-farm and used for demonstrations
  • 549 potato storages constructed in Bamyan by potato producers with 50% equity contribution from RBSP

 

Edible Oil Value Chain Development:

Targeted Provinces: Nangarhar and Balkh

  • 100 on-farm demonstrations conducted on best oil crop production practices (2009-10).
  • 40 Afghan trainers (MAIL and RBSP extension workers) trained through TOT training and 5000 oilseed (sesame, cotton, and safflower) farmers trained in best production practices in Balkh and Nangarhar.
  • 5000 producers (2000 in Balkh and 3000 in Nangarhar) of oil crops provided 50% equity on production inputs.
  • 725 pilot wheelbarrows distributed to RBSP Cooperative members in three targeted provinces.
  • 4 and 8 pilot 4-wheel tractors (60-hp) with 7 implements distributed to RBSP producers’ cooperatives in five districts in Balkh and 4 districts in Nangarhar.
  • 4 and 8 oil crops producers’ cooperatives established and sustainable  in Balkh and Nangarhar
  • 2 oil processing cooperatives (one in Balkh and one in Jalalabad) established.
  • 3 and 2 oil processing units are purchased and installed in RBSP constructed buildings in Mazar and Jalalabad, respectively, and provided to the oil processing cooperatives.
  • Completed an environmental impact assessment and pre-feasibility studies on all three value chains.
  • Completed a baseline study of all work areas as a benchmark for future achievements
  • Completed a pre-feasibility slaughterhouse study.
  • Three MISFA orientation workshops were conducted in the three RBSP targeted provinces.

 

Challenges

  • Lack of improved potato and oil seeds varieties (through mini-tuber imports, tissue culture).
  • Lack of seed certification for potatoes and oilseeds.
  • Lack of better access to credit programs (for potato storage construction, for working capital for purchasing oilseeds, etc.)
  • Lack of grades and standards for agricultural commodities (potato, oilseeds, wool).
  • No director and finance officer of the Project Implementation Unit (PIU): The absence of an effective Project Director and finance officer for the PIU resulted in little assistance to RBSP and slowed the response from MAIL/ADB on many Project developments. The project was not able to hire full time project director to oversee daily operation of the project, however the RBSP Team coupled with the General Director of the Project Implementation and Coordination Unit of MAIL have completed much of the terms of reference of the Director of the PIU.
  • Itemized approval requirements of ADB made the situation difficult for project team to implement all planned activities on the determined time frame.
  • The RBSP receives late approval from ADB which make it difficult to implement the planned activity with the remaining time on the project
  • Low capacity of local bidding companies to participate and compete in RBSP projects bidding caused serious delay in all procurements activities. For example, the procurement of equity tractors/implements did not carry out in first round, because the participating bidders were not technically and financially responsive.