Investing in rural infrastructure, transforming rural areas

By Line Kaspersen, Programme Analyst, Uganda Country Office

On 1 July 2015, the Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Project in Uganda, also known as CAIIP, held its project completion workshop. We, at IFAD, consider CAIIP as a flagship project in the IFAD-funded Uganda portfolio. And this is because throughout its life cycle, the project was able to rehabilitate more than 5000 kilometres of District Feeder Roads and improve the quality of Community Access Roads (CARs).

Thanks to these achievements, in 2013, the project received the prestigious US Department of the Treasury award.

What made CAIIP a success?
To start with, the project benefitted from a participatory design and involved communities in the oversight of project implementation. This process culminated with handing over certificates to the communities. The participatory approach was successful in terms of targeting the rural poor people and in ensuring roads were rehabilitated accordingly to industry standard.

The award also recognized the partnership and cofinancing with our sister organisation, the African Development Bank (AfDB). In 2012, the project also received an award at the East and Southern Africa regional implementation workshop for the quality of its financial management.

Within AfDB, the project is being used as a model for  future investments in agriculture in the region, focusing on infrastructural development. One of our success criteria is the fact that CAIIP was scaled up at national level, where phase 2 and 3 are currently being implemented, and phase 4 is in design. Furthermore, CAIIP has inspired other countries who are now looking into designing and implementing similar interventions.

Within IFAD, the construction approach of CARs was scaled up in the District Livelihoods Support Programme, a project under the implementation of  the Ministry of Local Government and the Project for Rehabilitation of Livelihoods in Northern Uganda, which is expected to start later in the year. Other IFAD-funded projects, such as the Vegetable Oil Development Project, have benefited from the engineering experience in developing farm and community roads.

Awards were given for best performing districts and for good planning and timely completion of works. For example, two neighbouring districts who planned to build a road close to each other, thus linking their respective communities, also received an award.

In providing rural infrastructure, CAIIP helped the communities to extend their access within the rural area, reduce transport costs for passenger and operating costs of vehicles by half. The implementation of rural roads has allowed farmers to increase by 13% the volume of marketed staples. CAIIP also addressed one of the challenges facing smallholder farmers – namely, reducing post-harvest loss – which led to a 30% increase in  income for farmers, earning as much as 200,000 Uganda shillings (USD 66) more per month.

Within IFAD, the project was selected as an IFAD10 impact evaluation and providing a sound basis for scaling up.

CAIIP is an excellent example highlighting the important role  roads and infrastructure have in transforming rural areas in the region.