In 2005, the Nigerian government launched Fadama II, a World Bank-funded project intended to increase the income of farmers, fishers, and other poor people in the low-lying floodplains, or fadama areas, where poverty is concentrated. The project provided demand-driven extension services, increased local capacity to resolve conflicts over natural resources, developed rural infrastructure such as roads, and increased the capacity of beneficiaries to manage economic activities. To gauge the success of the project, the World Bank asked the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to evaluate outcomes. IFPRI researchers conducted an in-depth evaluation, finding that after its first full year of operation the project had increased average household incomes by 60 percent.
The evaluation assessed not only the project’s success in increasing the incomes of beneficiaries, but also its impacts on asset acquisition and the villagers’ other needs. The study revealed that after only one year, project beneficiaries had acquired productive assets, such as agroprocessing and small-scale irrigation equipment, and had been able to reduce their travel time to the nearest town—factors that would likely continue to increase their incomes. The percentage increase in the value of productive assets was significantly higher for poor people than for other groups, suggesting that the project successfully targeted poor and vulnerable people with its support for productive asset acquisition.
The evaluation also highlighted some areas for improvement. For instance, the project had limited impact on the incomes of the poorest households, possibly because of their weaker capacity to manage assets. The evaluation also found that credit services are needed to provide competitive loans to poor people. Modifications in the next phase of the project will address these and other shortcomings and make the project more sustainable.
IFPRI’s high-quality review is contributing to the design of the next phase of the project, particularly in its recommendation to involve credit providers to make the productive asset provision sustainable and to improve the targeting for poverty reduction. The Nigerian government has requested a minimum of $250 million for Phase III. In addition, the results were a major criterion in the decision to award the project the World Bank Africa Award for Excellence for sustainable development.