The project aims to equip beneficiaries with the necessary skills needed to resist the shock of acute food shortage by responding effectively and adapting sustainably to climate change by the development of stock breeding, irrigation schemes, and regional markets for agricultural and livestock inputs and products.
The project, which was NEMA IFAD funded, was launched in 2015, but suffered major delays, especially for the land development when the former Government in a failed bid to re-scope the project stopped all activities for almost two years.
It was in 2018 when work on the project resumed and while the Ministry of Agriculture and the Project Intervention Unit (PIU) was expecting a speedy implementation of these contracts, the COVID-19 pandemic seriously disrupted these schedules due to imposed restrictions on the movement of people that had detrimental impacts on the progress of these contracts.
This was further exacerbated by the ill-health and ultimate demise of the former Project Director in August 2020 which created a vacuum in the overall implementation and management of the project thus, caused significant delays in project implementation.
Similarly, the health condition of the Acting Project Director which resulted in poor communication between the project and the Bank had a significant impact on the reimbursement of the special account to make timely payment to contractors of the ongoing civil works.
It was also pointed out that among the challenges that caused a significant delay in the implementation of the project was the weak supervision and monitoring of contracts by the Supervising Engineer in addition to poor and inadequate design.
Staff attrition was another complication of the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema) Project of which the IsDB was a Co-financier as a result had to close and the current remuneration for the project team is still based on allowance. This led to the unfortunate resignation of key staff in the project.
Notwithstanding, the Senior Management and PIU were able to successfully negotiate with the Bank for an extension of the Project and have finalised the review of all the designs. The contractors have been re-engaged to complete all remaining works this year.
By Fatou B. Cham,
Information Officer, MoA