Enhanced agricultural growth and productivity are essential if we are to meet the worldwide demand for food and reduce poverty, particularly in the poorest developing countries. Between 1998 and 2008, the period covered by this evaluation, the World Bank Group provided $23.7 billion in financing for agriculture and agribusiness in 108 countries (roughly 8 percent of total World Bank Group financing), spanning areas from irrigation and marketing to research and extension. This was, however, a time of declining focus on agricultural growth and productivity by both countries and donors.
The cost of inadequate attention to agriculture, especially in agriculture-based economies, came into focus with the food crisis of 2007–08. The crisis added momentum to an emerging renewal of attention and stepped-up financing to agriculture and agribusiness at the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC), as well as at several multilateral and bilateral agencies. World Bank financing rose two and a half times from 2008 to 2009, although this increased lending seems to have been accompanied by a decline in analytical work, which this review finds valuable in achieving results. This evaluation seeks to provide lessons from successes and failures in the Bank Group’s activities in the sector to help improve the development impact of the renewed attention. More >
Between 1998 and 2008, the World Bank Group provided
about $23.7 billion in financing for agriculture
and agribusiness activities in 108 countries.
Only a share of World Bank interventions that included
support for agricultural activities focused on improving
agricultural growth and productivity in poor, agriculture-
Project ratings against stated objectives in World Bank lending for agriculture have been on a par with lending in other sectors, with Europe and Central Asia achieving igher results than the Bank-wide average, and Sub-Saharan Africa notably lower results.
Similarly, IFC investments in agribusiness had above-average development outcome ratings in Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe and Central Asia but have been weak in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Overall Recommendation: To get the most from recent increases in financing for agriculture and agribusiness, the World Bank Group needs to increase the effectiveness of its support for agricultural growth and productivity in agriculture-based economies, notably Sub-Saharan Africa.
Recommendations are divided into three categories: Synergies and Complementarities, Knowledge and Capacity Building and Efficiency and Sustainability. Click on a tab to browse specific recommendations for each.
Synergies and Complementarities
Step up IFC’s engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa, including support for public-private partnerships and adapting the integrated trader-processor model for more effective use with small-to-midsize indigenous companies in the agriculture-based economies.
Set up a knowledge network that links agriculture and agribusiness supply-chain specialists across the World Bank Group to strengthen communication and collaboration among sector departments within the Bank and IFC, as well as across the World Bank Group.
Work with partners to ensure that CGIAR research and other global and regional efforts are translated into benefits in client countries, and facilitate partnerships among countries to encourage south-south knowledge exchange.
Ensure sufficient quantity and quality of Bank analytic and advisory services and IFC advisory services in agriculture-based economies, link them closely to lending, and use them to build counterpart commitment and to address constraints along the production chain.
Establish mechanisms to confirm ex ante if project monitoring and evaluation frameworks are adequate: a) with clear, relevant, and realistic objectives; b) thorough cost-benefit analysis; c)appropriate indicators; and d) adequate baseline data.
Review the human resource base and skill gaps (also in light of the increased lending) and develop and implement a strategic plan to enhance the technical and policy skills of Bank and IFC staff working in the agriculture sector, particularly in agriculture-based economies.
Increase World Bank Group support to medium-term expenditure planning to help ensure the adequacy of funding for operations and maintenance, and work with clients to ensure sustainable financing—including cost recovery where appropriate—for irrigation, transport, and research and extension services.
Take stock of experience in water management and crop technologies in rain-fed areas to inform future World Bank Group support.
Ensure that gender concerns are adequately mainstreamed and monitored in World Bank and IFC agriculture operations.
Expand the application of IFC Performance Standards to material biodiversity and other environmental and social aspects along the supply chain for primary suppliers (and for secondary suppliers to the extent the client has leverage), and enhance IFC support to the development and application of internationally accepted commodity certification systems.