To start with, here are key facts of significance on our outreach based on existing estimates issued by IFAD Operations Department:
Estimated beneficiaries (3.1 million out of 11 Million rural population that is 28% of rural population)
Cost by beneficiary: 20 dollars
GNI 760 dollars
Cost by beneficiary is equivalent to 2.6% of annual GNI, which is very modest. If we consider that these 20 dollars are spent on average over a period of 5 or 6 years, it appears that the real annual cost per beneficiary is extremely low at less than 0.5% of the GNI.
So we reach a significant share of the rural population, mostly the poorest but we invest very little per capita. Can we claim in any credible way that this level of expense allows us to lift a comparable number of people out of poverty. I doubt it. I would expect us to have achieved the poverty reduction target with a much smaller number of families and people. Let us assume for a while that this is the case. Our problem becomes then not to increase the total outreach but actually to increase the proportion of people reached that are actually lifted out of poverty. The question is therefore: how and this is to what I would like to invite you to share views and keep in mind as we progress in our COSOP design.
To get the ball rolling here are some pathways we can think of some of which have already emerged in some of our discussions:
1. Adopt a programme-based approach to promoting innovation and scaling it up around successful or promising experiments (ours and those of others) such as the extension-GRF model etc. . See the booster (push and pull model we have been discussing)
2. Some programmes such as LASED (social land concessions for the poor) have not succeeded in their pilot phase but have potential for success and scaling up if redesigned and implemented in a decentralized way;
3. Supporting membership based farmer organization in their providing services to their members;
4. A deliberate and more systematic choice of activities and investments that maximize the poverty impact rather than outreach (to be identified)
5. Facilitating and mediating between farmers and the private sector (value chain development and contract farming)
6. All the above are very much investment project or programmes financing. I would like to put forward another option which is radically different. Why not identify first a single policy measure or a small set of policy measures that if adopted by the Government and adequately funded and properly implemented would have a far reaching and lasting impact on rural poverty with large mulitiplier effects. Once this is done the programme would work at making an evidence-based case in favour of this measure and allocate adequate resources to their implementation.
I look forward to hearing more on this subject. Meantime I would very much like to receive some feed back on the above ideas.