Strengthening Agricultural Economics, Market Information and Statistics Services (GCP/AFG/063/EC)

Strengthening Agricultural Economics, Market Information and Statistics Services
(GCP/AFG/063/EC)

Donor: European Union

Budget: € 5,000,000 ($7.0 million)

Duration: 1 Feb 2010 – 31 Jan 2013

Location: 34 provinces

Status: Ongoing in line with the intended plan

Objective:
The project has three immediate objectives: (i) institutional development, (ii) provide agricultural statistics for
food security and agricultural planning and policy and (iii) establish an Early Warning System in MAIL.
i. The requirements for establishing an agricultural statistics and market information system include an institutional framework and a provision of a cadre of specialists trained in agricultural data collection, analysis and reporting. From its inception in February 2010, the project promoted institutional paradigm that earlier FAO projects used. Accordingly, activities geared towards on-the-job training, formal training, intensive supervision and devolution of responsibilities are being accorded highest priority.

The project continues to enhance the capacity of local offices by attending and supporting some of mandated functions of Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and Central StatisticsOrganization (CSO). As an example, 3 staff members from each Provincial Office of MAIL (DAIL) contribute towards day-to-day crop and agricultural price reporting of MAIL. About 20 staff members from the central office of MAIL and CSO are involved in the project’s activities. Additionally, the project solely uses DAIL staff as enumerators or supervisors in sample surveys. Till March 2011 the project had 4 regional offices for activity implementation. Two additional regional offices have been established from March 2011 in Mazar and Bamyan. This action will enable MAIL to make the devolution of responsibilities easier.

The project hired a consultant for 6 months to help MAIL in analyzing a large-scale provincial household survey conducted by it in Parwan province. The consultant will submit a technical report for the use of MAIL.

ii. The project provided assistance to MAIL in providing agricultural statistics. The reports on agricultural
situation and price are circulated in hard and soft copies regularly and on time. The project also prepares policy and statistical papers on wheat supply situation and price for the use of stakeholders, which includes those who participate in MAIL’s Wheat Committee.

Land cover maps have been acquired at the cost of USD186,000. These detailed, satellite maps of 10m resolution are being used at FAO headquarters to update “Land Cover Atlas of Afghanistan”. These maps and their results will help improve the reliability of agricultural data at large.

Preliminary preparations have been made for undertaking marketing studies and for the conduct of the 2012 Farm Management Surveys covering 5,000 households.

iii. The main activities under objective 3 are scheduled to be undertaken at later stages of the project when
a consultant on Early Warning (EW) will be hired for 11 person/months. In due course, counterpart staff members have been identified for EW and information and data generated by the project are being used for the said purpose.

Components
Capacity building in the fields of:

  • Agricultural economics, including conduct of a national farm management survey covering 5,000 to 6,000 households across various agro-climatic zones
  • Marketing information
  • Agricultural statistics, including land cover mapping and support to MAIL Agricultural Survey

Progress/ Achievements
Overall progress made by the project so far is adjudged satisfactory. Impact of the project is very evident from
the objectively verifiable fact that the counterpart staff members of MAIL and DAIL are involved in what they
had been trained for (e.g. crop/price reporting on a regular basis). Reports and policy papers prepared by the
project have been well received by MAIL. In fact, they form one of the important sources of information for
MAIL. Afore-mentioned actions are very important to exert substantial and lasting impacts of the project.

Challenges
Considerable delays were experienced in delivery of Armored Vehicles and other technical services (e.g. satellite maps). Timely recruitment of consultants was also not possible due to exogenous factors like volatile
security situation. These problems have been resolved so far in a coordinated way.

Recommendations
For sustainability, MAIL should start earmarking budget for 2013 and beyond for continuation of the key activities initiated and put into place by the project.

Budget and Financial Report
Budget: € 5 million, expenditure till end of December 2010 (USD1.5 million)