AFDB supervisory mission to SARD-SC project, scores it high on implementation

The African Development Bank(AFDB)  has  undertaken  its  third  supervisory mission  to the IITA/SARD-SC project  from 1  to 10 December 2014 in Ibadan. The Members of the team  were  Dr. Jonas  Chianu, Principal Agricultural  Economist, the project’s  Task Manager, Mr. Baba Abdullai, Principal Procurement Officer and Mr. Olufemi Ojo-Fajuyi, Financial Management Consultant.

In  the  course of the  Mission,  the members of the Mission  paid a courtesy  visit to Dr. Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director- General, Partnership and Capacity Building, IITA, and  briefed  him on  the Mission’s  terms of Reference. The DDG 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  benefits

 

The  members of the  mission held  several  discussions  with the  various  management and   project staff  from the  executing  agency(International  Institute  of Tropical  Agriculture) and  the Implementing Institutions(AfricaRice and International Center  for Agricultural  Research in the Dry Areas(ICARDA). Most of the staff of the three key project implementing institutions (IITA, AfricaRice and ICARDA) were well represented at  the supervisory mission.

The mission activities kicked off   with   a comprehensive   presentation by Dr. Chrys  Akem, SARD-SC  Project coordinator, on project  updates on the four commodity value chains.  The presentation addressed all the components as well as procurement and financial executions.

The members of the  Mission  visited  project  funded  works located at  the IITA campus, such as the Maize Warehouse, Maize Cold store, and  the Cassava Processing  and Equipment Fabrication facilities. They also reviewed relevant project documents on the execution of physical, financial and procurement aspects of the  project.

They noted some key  observations  on project  implementation status.  However,  they have  found  significant  improvements in  project  implementation  and across  all commodity value  chains-cassava, maize, rice and wheat- and  components(technology and innovation generation, technology and  innovation  dissemination, capacity  building and  project,  management). They also observed  that  efforts to achieve  the  target  set for the  different  indicators  show  that the project  is on track. The disbursement rate  of the project, they  said   is   currently  over 35%.  And it   is  expected to  increase  further  in  2015 after   the  full cost  recovery  in 2013 and  2014  would have been settled.

However, some issues were identified:

1.The full Cost  Recovery, which was raised in previous mission,  was  yet  to be  resolved.

2. Recruitment of MSc and PhD students,

3. Overpayment   to Best Initiative for Rural  Development in Sierra Leone(BIRD SL) on a  contract for Baseline Survey. BIRD SL was  said  to have been overpaid  by  US$10,388.74 as  contained in the Internal Auditors  Report  of IITA.

3.Participation of NARES in Lesotho: The  mission  noted  that  among  the 12  target  countries   which   the wheat  component of  the project  is partnering, the participation of NARES in Lesotho  was  declining  overtime and  was  below  expectation.  More so, the US$15,000 advanced to the partner in Lesotho   was yet  to be accounted  for  after  more  than 8 months. There was also the issue of delay in  transferring  funds to NARES.

The mission suggested timelines for  some actions  to be undertaken by  the  different  centres. Publication of the Baseline  Studies Reports  is  to  be completed by April  2015 while  the  appointment  and  replacement of Project Steering Committee member who retired   recently should  be done  before the next  PSC  meeting next year. Completion of construction of  on- going  Force Account works at  the IITA Headquarters by June 2015 among others.

The  ten –day  Supervisory Mission  was  concluded  by the signing of the  project’s Aide Memoire by Mrs. Hilde koper-Limbourg, Head of Project Administration, on behalf of Dr. Kenton  Dashiell, DDG, while Dr. Jonas  Chianu signed on behalf of the Bank.

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