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Final Evaluation of the SFOAP Pilot Phase

An external independent evaluation, financed by the European Commission (EC), was carried out from March to September 2012 to assess the SFOAP pilot phase.

The first objective of the evaluation was to make an overall independent assessment of the past performance of the programme, paying particular attention to the results achieved. Moreover, as a new phase of SFOAP was being considered, the second main objective of the evaluation was to come up with practical recommendations for a potential new phase.

The evaluation team carried out field missions in 11 countries and was able to meet representatives from national FOs from a total of 18 different countries. The team also met a wide variety of stakeholders from the public and private sectors and from the donor community.

According to the final evaluation:

  • SFOAP has significantly contributed to strengthening Regional networks (RFOs) and NFOs (national farmers’ organisations) by building up their institutional management and leadership capacities as well as their capacity to lobby and advocate;
  • SFOAP is highly relevant. Its objectives correspond to smallholders’ genuine needs and are liable to contribute significantly towards poverty reduction and food security. SFOAP stakeholders and partners encompass the necessary range of actors. Farmers’ Organisations (FOs) are representative of African smallholder farmers. The approach is flexible and adapts to the varying needs of its diverse beneficiaries. SFOAP is logical and coherent;
  • Considering the programme’s timeframe, its effectiveness has been satisfactory. SFOAP has contributed to FOs emerging as significant rural development actors and introduced them in sectoral institutions. Their governance, reputation, credibility and visibility have all been significantly improved. Similarly, their representativeness and capacity to interrelate with their members and to communicate and manage information have been strengthened;
  • FOs have developed a series of positions around key themes related to agricultural development and have formulated arguments in their defence. The combination of greater networking capacity and a heightened reputation has enabled FOs to become almost unavoidable players in agricultural policy review and formulation processes;
  • Despite major achievements, the results vary between regions and within networks. For a significant proportion of NFOs, organisational capacities are still limited. Planning and budgeting capacities vary widely. Not all FOs are in a position to conduct effective lobbying and advocacy;
  • SFOAP should continue to provide support to knowledge management, lobbying and advocacy, where RFOs and their networks have the most added value;
  • SFOAP should strengthen FO networks by supporting more technical and organisational capacity building and the emergence of economic services at lower levels of the network;
  • Efficiency is considered to be acceptable given the significant results obtained from a relatively limited budget for a continental programme. However, this does not mean that a number of significant SFOAP weaknesses with regard to efficiency should be overlooked. This applies in particular to its inability to disburse funds on time and the resulting delays in programme implementation. Synergies with other programmes were lacking;
  • There is clear evidence of a potential impact on producers, although its impact is currently centred on FOs. Sustainability is still a challenge;
  • The promotion of the participation of women and young people and their integration into the activities of FOs should be improved through the development of strategies, mechanisms and tools and the implementation of activities specifically targeting them. A gender/age sensitive Monitoring and Evaluation system should also be developed;
  • Lastly, the programme unquestionably needs (and deserves) to continue so that the achievements of this initial phase may be consolidated and built upon and to further develop the range of services (particularly economic) that FOs can offer to their members.

The main conclusions of the evaluation were discussed with all stakeholders (regional networks, European Commission, IFAD and other partners) at a workshop in Nairobi in September 2012.

These discussions led to a common agreement among all parties on how to take into account the conclusions and recommendations of the final evaluation in the next phase of the programme. This constitutes the “Agreement at completion point” document, available here.

A summary of the evaluation report is available here.

Document type: Programme Documents
Thematic Areas: Access to Services, Capacity Building, Gender, Knowledge Management, Markets and Value chains, Monitoring and Evaluation, Natural resources, Policy Dialogue
Region: PAN Africa
Year of Publication: 2012