The SARD-SC project funded by the AfDB has come out tops once again, as the members of the Bank’s Supervisory mission have unequivocally described the project as one of the Bank’s best managed projects. This was the verdict of the AFDB officials who recently undertook the sixth supervisory mission to the IITA/SARD-SC project from 29 November – 4, December 2015, in Ibadan, Oyo State. The team led by Dr. Ibrahim Amadou, Task Manager, accompanied by Mr. Usman G. Mohammed, Disbursement Officer, Mr. Jaffar Abba, Procurement officer, and Mr. Olufemi Ojo-Fajuyi, Financial Management Consultant, also commended the project team for efficient project implementation in all ramifications and for achieving significant outputs for transformational impact in project countries.
While welcoming the AFDB officials to IITA, Dr. Chrys Akem, Project Coordinator, stated the purpose of the supervision was “to evaluate the project’s progress and how far it has carried out the bank’s recommendations and also to proffer solutions to issues which may have arisen from the last Mid Term Review held in May 2015.”
During the course of the mission, the team paid a courtesy visit to Dr. Nteranya Sanginga Director General of IITA, and briefed him on the Mission’s terms of Reference. The DG welcomed them and expressed his pleasure on the reported progress of the SARD-SC project. He also assured the team of the readiness of the IITA’s senior management to do all that is necessary to ensure that the project delivers its planned outputs and impacts.
The members of the mission listened to project implementation presentations and held several discussions with the various management and project implementation teams from the executing agency (IITA) and the implementing institutions (AfricaRice ICARDA) All of the Project implementation Unit staff of the three key project implementing institutions (IITA, AfricaRice and ICARDA) were present at the supervisory mission.
The mission activities kicked off with comprehensive presentations by the project Commodity Specialists; Dr. Marie Yomeni for cassava, Dr. Sam Ajala for Maize Dr. Sidi Sanyang, for Rice and Dr. Solomon Assefa, for wheat. Dr. Issaka Amadou, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist also presented on M&E updates while Mr. Seyi Fashokun presented on Project Accounts and Mrs. Zulfawu Yahaya on Procurement.. The presentations addressed progress on all the commodity components since MTR as well as procurement and financial executions of the project and were followed by informal discussions with the Commodity Specialists, and other officers, to get clarifications on various aspects of project implementation and outputs.
The team made some key observations on the project implementation status, especially their satisfaction on significant improvements in project implementation across all the commodity value chains of cassava, maize, rice and wheat; as well as within the different components (technology and innovation generation, technology and innovation dissemination, capacity building and efficient project management). They also observed that efforts to achieve the various targets set for the different indicators show that the project is on track. While rounding off the Supervisory visit, Dr. Ibrahim Amadou, Project Task manager, commended the SARD-SC project “as one of the best managed projects of the AFDB.” He therefore urged the “Project Management Unit and project team members to continue to work hard and ensure the project has transformational impact on beneficiaries in order to earn a second phase.”
The disbursement rate of the project, they noted is currently 63.55% which, the Bank officials said was a good rate for such a complex project at its current level of implementation. They expected this to increase further as the project draws to its end in 2017.