based on the work of M. Njunkena P.B. Satia
Division des Pêches
Ministère de l'Elevage, des Pêches et des Industries Animales
|This paper details a comprehensive approach to aquaculture planning in African countries. It reviews some of the possible causes for the disappointing rate of growth in aquaculture in recent years and suggests a practical approach to the indentification, design and implementation of aquaculture projects. The Logical Framework Matrix Analysis method is described and there is a discussion of the importance of the monitoring and evaluation of projects and of selecting appropriate project leadership. There is a bibliography for further reading.|
1. INTRODUCTION TO AQUACULTURE PLANNING
Aquaculture, the raising of aquatic organisms (animals and plants) in a controlled environment, has a history of less than fifty years in most African Countries. Its early history represents attempts by preindependent administrations to provide protein and alternate employment to rural people whose main task was to grow cash crops (cocoa, coffee, rubber, oil, palm products, etc.) to provide raw materials for the running of overseas industries.
Generally, and depending on ecological conditions, two broad types of aquaculture have been attempted: pisciculture or fresh water fish culture and coastal aquaculture. The latter can be subdivided into mariculture, the propagation of animal organisms in marine environments, and valliculture, representing the growing of animal organisms in lagoons and estuaries.
A variety of enclosures: ponds, pens, cages, raceways, akadjas, etc. have also been used to carry out these activities.
Of these two main types of aquaculture, freshwater fish culture using earthern, concrete or other structured ponds is more prevalent and has been practised for a considerable time in most countries. In some cases, the results have been good and even spectacular, but in many other instances the efforts have remained disappointing if not frustrating.
Indeed, using unofficial but non-the-less reliable statistics, an ACMRR Working Party on Aquaculture (FAO 1982) determined a minus 13 percent rate of aquaculture development in Africa for the period 1975–1980. On the basis of increase in product, the rate of development was 2 356 t/year; and on the basis of increased product per capita, the rate of development was minus 5 grams/Capita/year. Many factors account for the negative rate of aquaculture development in Africa, including a paucity of research and the multiplicity of barriers to innovation, the adoption of unsuitable techniques, failure to synchronize interdependent activities, weak extension services and the lack of well thought out and well designed development plans on aquaculture. In most cases existing “plans” represent little more than a listing of aspirations and wishes, and their implementation depends on the whims of the person in command. Poorly identified and prepared plans, the absence of plans, or the poor implementation of well thought-out and elaborated plans often slows the development of a national aquaculture industry and wastes scarce resources.
The purpose of this paper is to provide some guidelines on the techniques of planning in aquaculture and to show that plans are indispensable to successful aquaculture development.
1.2 Aquaculture Planning (Definition)
Aquaculture Planning is the process of setting out activities to be undertaken in aquaculture and a time schedule for doing them. In the process, the planner attempts to provide as much detail as possible as to what should be done, by whom, when, why and if possible how. A national aquaculture plan may be a single project or a series of closely related projects.
A “project” may be defined as a planned undertaking, a unit of management that clearly specifies what is to be accomplished, for whom, over what estimated period of time, and at what estimated cost. It is a specific activity with a specific starting point and a specific ending point intended to accomplish a specific objective. Normally it would have some geographic location or at least a rather clearly understood area of geographic concentration; a specific clientele group which it is intended to reach; a relatively well defined time sequence of investment and production activities; a specific group of activities to be financed and a group of benefits for which we can identify and estimate values. It may have a partially or wholly independent administrative structure and a set of accounts.
Depending on the stage of aquaculture development in a country, region or zone, several projects can be undertaken simultaneously; for example -the building or remodelling of enclosures, the construction of hatcheries and feed plants, the setting up of marketing facilities or other supporting services such as training, extension services, research, credit, information, etc.
Figure 1 identifies the scope of aquaculture activity, indicating the types of water, animals, and technical/scientific factors to be taken into account in aquaculture development. Development of a national aquaculture plan will involve consideration of this whole range of aspects.
1.3 Why Plan
Some reasons for effective planning include:
Much of the art of planning has to do with the proper phasing of development activities and raises such questions as, “Is the situation ripe for the aquacultural project, what are the positive and negative effects on overall development, what are the possible bottlenecks, what is the technical and financial ability of the farmer or nation to undertake this task, what is the social and administrative climate of the country, etc?” To provide answers to these and other questions, planning is necessary if not indispensable. Indeed, planning provides guidelines for the choice of development projects.
Planning forces decision makers to stop and think, to formulate long range goals and to bring immediate actions into line with longer perspectives.
Planning eliminates wastage of resources.
Successful projects which have an economic purpose invariably have a social spin-off. They may create employment, at times foreign exchange, worker up-grading, expanded opportunities and inject vitality in what is often a somber and listless economic scene.
1.4 Major Ingredients for the Success of Plans
A national aquaculture plan, especially where state projects are concerned, should have authorization - that is be approved by government, or it soon degenerates into a policy. This is important because the Ministry of Finance must be willing to make available national or borrowed funds in the right amounts and time.
The plan should designate prerogatives and responsibility. It should not only appropriate funds but also individuals to carry out the stated activities and compensate for any successes and reprimand failures.
It should set specific targets, that is, explicit clientele and objectively verifiable statements of results expected within a specific time period.
It should establish a network of communications conveying information and commands. Furthermore, there should be a constant two-way flow of information between the planners at the higher and at the lower levels and a willingness on the part of both to accept adjustments. In planning terminology this process is called “successive approximation”.
The plan should reflect internal initiative and not external pressure.
Proposals in the plan should be revised continually as circumstances alter and new information becomes available.
The method of planning should be adapted to the country's socio-economic conditions, taking into account the institutions under which growth is to occur, the distribution of wealth and income that will result; and the concentration of activities in areas that possess the maximum of the requisite factors for successful aquaculture. Sometimes, new institutions may have to be fashioned, or those inherited may have to be adapted to the requirements of the present and future.
The plan should concentrate on a few key areas especially it the economy is fragmented and unsophisticated in the industrial sector as is the case in many African countries.
Since aquaculture is a multi-disciplinary activity the planning team should be made up of people from as many relevant displines as possible. The composition of the team depends on the particular project, local circumstances and organizational relationships. By adopting the team approach to planning we benefit from various viewpoints, kinds of experience and skills. However, having a team in the planning process does not in itself assure success; the members of the team should have adequate work experience and training in the development of manageable, logically organized plans and/or implementation of plans. The team should undertake its work with the utmost candor and objectivity. Where possible the same team should be maintained from the beginning to the end of the plan.
1.5 Some Reasons for the Failure of Existing Plans
Aquaculture planning is still an undeveloped discipline. Even in many developed countries, the sector is considered too small to warrant specialized attention and the tendency is to rely on agricultural planners to include aquaculture projects in their so called “Master Plans”. By and large the aquaculture projects retained represent a listing of proposed activities and not a plan or project document in the sense defined above and further elucidated upon in this paper.
Although agriculture and aquaculture tend to have much in common from the conceptual point of view, in the sense that in both disciplines there is a stronger correlation between inputs and outputs than there is between capture fisheries and aquaculture, there are operational details which are best understood as a result of formal training and experience in aquaculture, qualities that the agriculturist may not have. In some cases fisheries technicians have participated in drawing up plans but they too may be handicapped because they may not be familiar with the concepts and techniques of economic and social planning.
Some countries have often considered foreign aid as “gift horse” and have disregarded the unhappy consequences it may have on long term development in the absence of rational plans for its application. Uninformed domestic political interference and corruption in high places have either hindered the elaboration of good plans and/or the effective implementation of existing plans.
Many plans bear no evidence of internal initiative within the country, but are rather fruits of external pressure. There are examples in other areas and even in aquaculture where plans that have been drawn up as a result of external pressure remain untouched on office and library shelves. In some cases the plans are written in English for a French speaking country, or vice versa.
At times, the scarcity or even absence of private entrepreneurial initiative has hindered the drawing up of sound and effective plans.
1.6 Life of Plans
There are three sizes of plans: the short, medium and long term. The short is the annual or controlling plan; the medium range is between 3 and 7 years with 5 years as the most popular choice. The long range plan from 10 years and above and is sometimes called the “perspective plan”.
Every national aquaculture plan should have an annual or controlling plan. It is called the controlling plan because it is the only document which when passed by parliament or the management board of an agency authorises the plan execution officer to spend money. This point reinforces the fact that a plan should have authorization.
The annual plan is also the operation document, and year by year matches resources to achievements.
Bearing in mind the scope of aquaculture, it would seem appropriate that for those countries which do not have a national plan, the life of the first national plan should be at least 5 years. The making of the first plan requires an assessment of long term perspectives. For example we may need to build up an effective extension service and train personnel. This takes time. As well, it takes time for a programme to be self-sustaining. Seeds have to be produced, the market and distribution system has to be set up, research has to be undertaken, and all these are tied up with manpower training. Results have to be evident to encourage and favour investments. Again these require time to obtain.
The plan may need to be spread in many areas for political reasons but initial available resources such as capital and manpower may be inadequate to make a large coverage initially. To retain support, government may be anxious to see aspects of the plan spread to many areas where the technical, ecological and administrative prerequisites are good. For all these reasons the first plan should consider the medium to longer term.
1.7 The Planning Process and the Organization of this Report
The Planning Process is made up of four interrelated phases namely:
Planning must take place with respect to defining information requirements and for information gathering, for the design of projects as well as for the implementation of projects. Similarly, how overall success and success of projects are to be measured and evaluated must be included as part of the planning process.
It must be kept in mind that these planning phases are interdependent and may occur, to some extent, simultaneously. The remainder of this report, however, discusses each in turn. Since the various distinct aspects of project design must be elaborated in some detail, these contitute the three middle chapters of the report. To summarize:
The second chapter provides a discussion of information requirements and information gathering for planning aquaculture projects in Africa.
Chapter 3 concerns project identification and project design. It outlines the main components of project design and introduces the “normal approach” to designing a development project, and the use of logical framework analysis, with particular application to aquaculture projects. It also outlines some alternative approaches.
The fourth chapter focuses upon implementation planning and analysis, outlining key considerations in planning for implementation, and a set of guidelines for drawing up an implementation plan.
Chapter 5 provides an introduction to guidelines and methods for determining the technical and economic feasibility of identified projects and their design components. Technical and economic analysis is seen as a central aspect of aquaculture planning, and a key feature of the project design document.
Chapter 6 discusses the importance of incorporating an ongoing evaluation process into the project design plan, and suggests some mechanisms for doing so.
The seventh chapter focuses briefly upon a number of key principles to keep in mind for implementation of a project once a project design document has been prepared. Particular attention is given to the qualities of the project leader, responsible for overall implementation.
One technical appendix is also provided, on social environmental information requirements.
2. INFORMATION GATHERING
Once we are convinced that it is necessary to adopt planning in aquaculture, our first action in the planning process should be to gather information that would enable us to identify projects, design, implement, and evaluate their outcomes. The word “information” is preferred to the customary or traditional terminology “data” to emphasize the point that simple quantified information (data) though very useful is not enough in planning. Several non-quantified types of information such as government attitudes, traditions, life style, education level, civil disruptions, administrative and organizational capacities, etc. influence aquaculture development and should be considered.
Not only in aquaculture, but in many other disciplines, planning has become information conscious. Many reasons account for this phenomenon.
All purposeful action is based on the possession and use of information. A plan should be based not on need but on resources available and their development potential.
Information is essential to clarify problems, understand the context in which the plan is to operate, and provide a sense of dimension, scale and limitations.
The availability of information, usually quantifiable data, and their quality impose constraints upon the type of planning models employed.
The soundness and effectiveness of a plan depends on the nature and quality of bio-technical, socio-economic, legal, and political information available.
2.1 Kinds of Information in Aquaculture Planning
Successful aquaculture planning demands not only biological, technological and legal information but also some socio-economic information. Table 1 summarized the main information requirements in aquaculture planning in the form of five major and 15 sub-major factors including some elaboration and examples of each. Each of these factors can influence aquaculture development in a positive or negative way. An analysis of these factors provides most of the information that will be needed for drawing up a project or plan.
Information Requirements in Aquaculture Planning
|Factors||Sub-factors||Examples of Aquaculture Information required|
|Environment||Physical||-||land/water: temperature, salinity, ph. tides,|
|-||soil type, vegetation, etc.|
|Institutional||-||Government attitudes/support for training, extension services, financial assistance:|
|-||existence of aquaculture agencies; level of research, success of existing projects.|
|Social (For more detail on social environmental factors see Appendix 1)||-||Population density, growth rates, and composition;|
|-||socio-cultural traditions, life styles;|
|-||political system and developments;|
|-||sector analysis of economy;|
|Space||land/water||-||availability, access and uses of spaces such as lakes, reservoirs, bays, lagoons, estuaries, mangroves, swamps|
|-||economic obligations to use of space (ownership, lease, taxation, etc.)|
|-||legal constraints relating to, for instance, disposal of discharges|
|Technology||Culturing Methodology (state-of-the-art techniques & methods for growing aquatic species)||-||species: quantity, quality, costs; feeds/feeding;|
|-||availability of raw materials|
|Product||-||handling systems during harvest, processing, preservation, packaging and proper storage; distribution channels and transportation techniques;|
|-||energy requirements, availability, regularity of supply, and costs|
|-||existence of quality control legislation, personnel, and enforcement systems|
|Production||Planning and Management||-||species now cultured, sites used, design and construction techniques|
|-||availability of manpower with technical and business management skills|
|Inputs||-||Seeds: species, quantity available, quality, costs, suitability for culture, acceptance by the population, etc.|
|-||Feeds and fertilizers: types, quantity, quality, costs, availability.|
|-||Water: flow rates, quantity, quality, costs, legal constraints, rainfall regime, etc.|
|-||Energy: Sources of energy available to maximize profits as for feed and product processing, feeding, distribution etc, and their costs;|
|-||Other materials: Availability and costs of such tools and equipments as bulldozers, compacters, nets, spades, rakes, picks, etc.|
|-||Manpower: To manage the ponds, harvest and take fish to the markets, availability of skilled and unskilled manpower and costs; competence and efficiency of available manpower|
|Operations||-||stocking, fertilization of ponds, feeding the fish, water quality control, disease and parasite prevention and control, harvesting and marketing|
|Costs (both fixed and variable)||-||Costs of land lease, construction, water, stocking materials, feeds and/or fertilizers, labour, marketing, and interest costs.|
|Marketing||Planning and Management||-||the form product is sold live, fresh whole, decorticated, processed, etc.|
|-||the marketing strategy: on pond sites, local markets, exports; by individuals, by cooperatives, to middlemen, directly to consumers; time or seasons|
|-||advantages and constraints of marketing strategy|
|Demand||-||Consumer demand: affected by customs, habits, religious beliefs; price competitiveness of aquaculture product relative to other fish products, meat, etc; quality of product; precapita incomes and income distribution; knowledge about the product|
|-||Middlemen demand: affected by price, marketing costs, returns on competing activities; transportations costs, barriers to entry; stability of demand and supply|
|Operations||-||depuration plants or systems of holding the live product prior to marketing|
|-||preservation, processing, transportation storage, commissions, taxes|
|-||availability of food quality control regulations, their enforcement; availability of trained personnel in the sector.|
|Revenue||-||total production and production per hectar/acre|
|-||amount of fish sold|
|-||price per kilogram|
Also as part of the planning process we should identify present and past attempts at aquaculture (location, individuals involved, capacity, etc) and the success or failure of these past attempts. We need information on the various operations in terms of time and costs. Unfortunately, in most aquacultural undertakings in Africa, be it state or private, this information is hard to get because adequate farm records are not maintained.
Similarly training and extension services are usually needed to provide a sound technological basis for the development of aquaculture. We need to look at the core personnel existing or projections for training, as well as the competence of the existing extension service.
The above chart provides guidelines as to the kinds of information we may gather for planning in aquaculture. Emphasis in information gathering should be placed on those areas or factors likely to bear heavily on the objectives of the plan. For example, in a project geared at raising the living standard of rural people, emphasis should be placed on socio-economic considerations. On the other, in a seed production project (hatchery projects), the physical, environmental, spatial and technological factors will take prominence.
Information can be gathered by using geographical maps, surveys, remote sensing techniques, interviews and questionnaires as well as consulting reports and other published materials.
The reader is advised to refer to the works of Shang (1981), Schmidt (1982) and Williams (1983) for a more detailed treatment of socio-economic factors in aquaculture. Shang provides guidelines for carrying out a socio-economic survey in aquaculture. With some care, these guidelines can be adapted to gather most of the information needed for planning in aquaculture.
3. PROJECT IDENTIFICATION AND PROJECT DESIGN
Project Design establishes the intent, the plan, the means of measuring progress and the assumptions underlying a project. It is made up of four main components; Goals, Purpose, Inputs and Outputs, as well as the implementation planning and the technical and economic analysis of the project.
3.1 The Normal Approach to Project Design
The process of designing a project can be as complex as implementing one. The procedure outlined below may be regarded as the “normal approach”. In Africa, however, aquaculture project design teams are often faced with seemingly impossible tasks. Lack of data alone frequently precludes adequate feasibility analysis without the time consuming and costly basic survey work. In other cases, designers are faced with institutional voids and may have to plan in a vacuum. These constraints may be avoided by modifying the project design process in the manner as discussed at the end of this chapter under “Alternative Approaches”.
The “normal” approach to project design can be divided into 4 main phases:
Bio-technical and economic analysis
Each of these phases in project design is separately discussed in the remainder of this report. The first two are the subject of this chapter while discussion of the implementation and analytic phases is the subject of chapters 4 and 5.
3.2 Project identification phase
This phase is limited to identifying the project; that is:
What can be done and how; what is the project about and what is it expected to do?
What data are needed; which of these are available and which should be collected or reinvestigated in depth?
What skills are needed; are they available or should they be contracted; if they should be contracted, the mode of obtaining these skills and timing of various consultants?
What are the amounts and types of resource inputs needed?
What should be the composition of the project planning team, their training level, job experience, roles and job descriptions?
Should it be a phased design effort or a comprehensive unified team? Many complex or innovative projects may be better suited to a phased series of “mini teams” rather than one unified team. The early teams would basically define primary constraints and suggest a programme to address these constraints. The planning officer would then review the recommendations and define the components of the projects. Finally, a final design team, which should, if possible, incorporate some of the same staff as the earlier “mini team”, will prepare the detailed description, budgets and analysis of the project.
What time should be allocated to the design phase to ensure that accurate analytical studies and precise design are carried out?
3.3 Actual Project Design Phase
This is the detailed technical design phase. It provides specifications about techniques, training, equipment, material, budgets, timing, etc. of the project. Work in this phase should follow a logical sequence and should terminate with a “Project Design Document.” The project design document should be a straight forward, well organized and honest exposition of the goals, purposes, inputs and outputs, of the project as well as a narrative summary. It should also include an implementation plan and biotechnical and economic analysis of the project.
Each of the goals, purposes, inputs and outputs of a project should have objectively verifiable targets (indicators), and a means of verifying that these targets have been achieved. The project design document should also include the various assumptions on which these design components are based.
The language in the document should be simple and precise.
Logical Framework matrix
To facilitate the design of a project, it is suggested to use a “Logical Framework Matrix” (LFM), defined as a summary worksheet divided into 4 rows (for goal, purpose(s), inputs and outputs) and 4 columns (for narrative summary, objectively verifiable targets (indicators), means of verification and important assumptions (see figure 2) for the analysis of project design and evaluation of a project.
|1. Narrative Summary|
2. Verifiable Targets/Indicators
|3. Means of Verification|
4. Key Analytic Assumptions
Figure 2: Logical Framework Matrix (LFM)
The Logical Framework Matrix is applicable both in developing initial project design, and, where an existing project is being evaluated, in systematically analysing and clarifying the original design. In preparing an initial matrix it may be more convenient at the outset to record ideas on separate sheets of paper rather than the one-page matrix; the information can be condensed afterward.
The Logical Framework Matrix has a number of advantages: It is a convenient way of recording the critical elements of a project design; condensation assures the elimination of excess verbiage and reduction of factors to most important elements; and, it makes analysis of the various elements of the project design considerably easier.
The terms in the column of the matrix can be defined as follows:
Narrative Summary: A resume of the project: history, description, needs, targets and possible impact if successfully accomplished.
Indicator: An explicit and objectively verifiable measure of results expected. Good project design must include pre-establishing what will be measured or observed to demonstrate progress. Progress should be objectively verifiable so that the proponent of a project and informed skeptic would agree that progress has been as planned. Furthermore, pre-establishing objectively verifiable indicators helps focus discussions on evidence rather than on opinions.
Means of Verification: The means of verifying achievement in either quantitive or qualitive terms by means of appropriate indicators, e.g., increased per capita income over a given period; increase in fingerling production, etc.
Assumptions: An event or action which must take place, or a condition which must exist, if a project is to succeed, but over which the project team may have little or no control. The explicit statement of such assumptions is an aid in reducing the uncertainty of the project's environment, and by codifying significant external events allows the project to be re-evaluated and revised to allow for changing outside influence. Although assumptions must be comprehensive it is important that only important assumptions are listed. They must also be the result of thorough and critical study and analysis.
3.4Other approaches to project design
Under certain circumstances, the normal, comprehensive or unified approach to project design may be modified. Three such circumstances and the suggested approaches are outlined here. The interested reader should consult standard books on planning for detailed information on their uses.
Phased Development: In those circumstances where a project is clearly of a long term nature, (in terms of institutional, system or sector objectives), the project may be carried out in discrete phases.
The first phase can lay institutional, research and infrastructure goundwork over a number of years, for example, with a significantly expanded field operational phase to follow. The entire life span of the project and the number of phases would depend on many factors including no doubt the type of project, but it is important that the phases be sufficiently discrete, especially the first phase. Furthermore, the phases should be tied to each other so that no momentum is lost as the proceeding phase expires and the next phase begins.
The Process Approach: The Process Approach involves the notion of a dynamic design, implementation, redesigning and replanning. It is appropriate where actual field experimentation should take place along with data gathering and analysis in order to adequately shape and reshape interventions.
Evolutionary Approach: This is a variation of the “Phased development approach” and may be adopted where the project objectives and constraints are of such a high degree of complexity and severity that a funding agency would be skeptical to hand out money easily.
It involves designing a “pilot project” with modest initial interventions, while technical specialists carry out the work necessary for the development of the larger or main project.
4. IMPLEMENTATION PLANNING AND ANALYSIS
Generally, implementation planning and analysis has meant drawing up of a bar chart and/or a list of actions with rough timing. In some cases implementation plans have been developed in a vacuum using fire-fighting techniques and appended as an addendum to the “Project Design Document”. This is not sufficient. Implementation planning and analysis should have the same priority as any other major analytical component in the project design process. No matter how sound and thorough the other major analytical elements of project design, feasibility of implementation is of great importance.
Implementation planning and analysis serves as a guide to avoiding practical and technical problems (delays, false starts, improper sequencing of events, bottlenecks, etc.) in the carrying out of the project. Faulty implementation plans may cause serious problems and create false expectations, cause serious damage to morale and momentum as well as expense for replanning and redesigning of the project. Two simple examples may help clarify this point.
If it will take 3 years to build a hatchery and feed brooders to maturity, false hopes should not be generated by stating that fingerlings from the hatchery will be available to farmers in the second or even third year of the project. It would be proper to set the fourth year of the project as the approximate date at which fingerlings will be available and even here the fourth year projections should be conservative unless we have strong evidence that the personnel would have acquired enough experience to produce large quantities of fingerlings in the fourth year.
There are several examples where projects have been plagued with serious consequences in terms of lost time and frustrations because technicians arrived months in advance of completion of necessary housing and other required installations and preparations.
In analysing and planning the implementation of a project, several considerations of a technical, managerial, administrative, organizational, commercial, financial and economic nature should be taken into account:
The ability of the project staff to administer the activities called for in the project.
The opportunity of the farmers to obtain the new skills they need if they are to adopt new practices or cropping patterns.
Whether authority and responsibility are clearly defined and linked.
If the project makes ample arrangements for manpower training (if needed).
Arrangements for reporting on the progress of the project activities.
If disbursements can be promptly made.
Whether arrangements for marketing the outputs produced by the project and for supply of materials (e.g. seeds, fertilizers, feeds, equipments, building materials, etc.) and services to build and operate the project are well defined.
Whether there will be sufficient farm-family income and enough incentives for participating farmers.
Analysis of the existence and capabilities of public entities or commercial organizations such as cooperatives, banks and private inputs, distributors or processing companies.
Whether the project is likely to contribute significantly to the development of the economy as a whole and if the contribution of the project is likely to be great enough to justify the use of the scarce resources which will be needed.
On the basis of these and many other considerations we can then draw up the implementation plan of the project using the following guidelines:
The implementation plan should be developed by the full design team. Each member of the team should be satisfied that events and actions in his/her area are properly established in time, in order, and in relation to other events.
The implementation plan should be honest. False hopes should not be generated.
Events and actions should be properly sequenced and have the correct relationship to each other.
The implementation plan should be presented as a bar chart or graphically (see Figure 3). The chart should however be accompanied by concise narrative description which explain important relationships and candidly point out potential problem areas.
Figure 3 provides an example of an implementation plan, timing a set of 18 activities to be implemented over a four year period.
5. TECHNICAL AND ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
Determining the technical and economic feasibility of a project is a very important part of aquaculture planning and will be part of the project design document.
5.1 Technical Feasibility
The work “technical” as used here embodies biotechnical and administrative considerations. The need for a technical feasibility analysis in aquaculture projects or improvements in this area involve technological interventions. To be sound and effective, projects have to be technically sound. To determine the technical and social soundness of a project many things have to be considered. The planning team should ensure that:
The technologies proposed are relevant to those expected to adopt them.
There has been adequate interaction with professional nationals and that the technological packages have not been developed in a vacuum.
The project reflects the “art of the possible”, is based on history, and projected results are sufficiently conservative.
The level of inputs and technical services have been weighted both on the basis of recurrent costs as well as on practicability.
Markets are available and prices are attractive to create incentives for production.
There is enough skilled manpower to accomplish the tasks in the project, and if the contrary, that proposals for training have been included in the project design.
Other ministries or agencies that are likely to be involved in the project directly or indirectly, are aware of the project and agree in principle to cooperate in its implementation.
Rules and regulations pertaining to aquaculture (environmental, investment, ownership or tenure, resource allocations, etc.) have been addressed in the project design.
The technical and financial planning are adequate for the project and its components.
The project components are adequate to ensure the smooth implementation of the project.
The project addresses itself adequately to engineering considerations (skills, soil type, adequate water supply, availability of building materials, etc.) and that topographic maps of the area are available.
|1.||Training of 5 intermediate level staff||X||X||X||X|
|2.||Arrival of Techincal Assistance||X||X|
|3.||Training of 40 low level staff (year)||X||X||X||X|
|4.||Seminar for staff||X||X||X||X|
|5.||Construction of fish station (20 ha)||X||X|
|6.||Construction of housing for labourers||X|
|7.||Purchase of four 4×4 vehicles||X||X||X||X|
|8.||Construction and installation of feed mill||X|
|9.||Construction of Sibs||X|
|10.||Purchase and installation of Electric plant||X|
|11.||First stocking of ponds||X|
|12.||Construction and equipment of fish hatcheries||X|
|13.||Purchase of 45 motorcycles||X||X|
|14.||Production of fish food||X||X||X||X|
|15.||Production of fish seeds||X||X||X||X|
|18.||Foreign Travel for Director of Project||X||X|
Figure 3: Sample Implementation Plan
The project design has taken a look at the possible effects of the project on the fragile human environment, i.e., air, water, land, flora and fauna and socio-economic conditions.
There is adequate organization for maintaining the project.
Whether technical assistance is necessary for the implementation of the project. If yes, has the project design defined the qualifications and experience desired of the technical assistance; their roles and job descriptions. It is essential that experts assigned to a project are more highly qualified and more experienced than local technical staff, or local staff will quickly identify the weaknesses of the “experts” and the project will be doomed to fail as a result of personality conflicts.
If foreign funding is necessary? If yes, who or what is the proposed grantee or borrower? Does the proposed grantee or borrower have the legal authority to accept or grant the loan? Is the funding source suggested appropriate for the type of activity proposed?
5.2 Economic Feasibility
Project planning involves both technological and economic investigations. The technologist as we have seen is concerned with blueprints, with the methods of production and with costings. The economist, on the other hand, deals with the choice among different methods, with assessment of indirect benefits and interrelationships, as well as with the appropriate scale and location of output. The work is time consuming and the soundness of economic feasibility depends on the availability of reliable technical data (farm management information).
Most economic feasibility is based on a series of hypothetical assumptions and it is important that the economist indicate and document these clearly.
Value of economic feasibility
Economic feasibility is a tool in decision making and its usefulness is to improve the decision making process and not to substitute for judgment. If well or correctly done:
It helps us judge if there is adequate income to enable individual farmers to earn a good living and sufficient incentive that they will exert their best efforts.
It enables us to make better judgement about which among alternate development opportunities is likely to accelerate the growth of income most rapidly.
It helps to determine if the plan is internally consistent, that is if expected increases in outputs of individual sectors are consistent with the expected increases in inputs.
It helps discourage flagrantly political projects which represent a serious drain on limited national resources and do not have a balanced equity perspective.
It ensures that resource requirements of the proposed increases in private consumption, public services and investments are not more than is available.
It helps ensure that demand and supply will balance in the sense that what people will demand is what the project will produce.
It provides baseline data for future evaluation.
It helps take project analysis beyond the expository stage and permits a certain quantification of project worth.
Because economic feasibility rests on the summary of so much technical information and judgement, it helps specify where underlying analysis has been forgotten or is inadequate.
Despite the value of economic feasibility, the exact role it will play will vary as a function of several parameters; for example, reliability of the data base, the availability of research on the topic, the organization and complexity of the project, and country orientations toward aquaculture.
Types of economic feasibility
There are two basic types of economic feasibility: financial analysis, when it involves the private sector, and, economic (social) analysis when it involves projects in the public sector. In both types of analysis the methodology of comparing “costs” and “benefits” is the same, but what is defined as “cost” and what is considered “benefit” is different.
Three important distinctions between financial and economic analysis are:
In economic analysis, prices may be changed to reflect better true social or economic values. The adjusted prices in economic analysis are often termed “shadow” or “accounting” prices; that is, the price which would prevail in the economy if it were in perfect equilibrium under conditions of perfect competition. Foreign exchange, commodities which are important in world markets, and unskilled labour should also be given shadow prices. In financial analysis, market prices including taxes and subsidies are always used.
In economic analysis, taxes and subsidies are treated as transfer payments because they benefit the society. In financial analysis taxes are treated as a cost, and subsidies as a return.
In economic analysis, interest on capital is not separated and deducted from gross returns since it is a part of the total return to the society. It is that total return, including interest, which economic analysis is designed to estimate. In financial analysis, interest paid to outside suppliers of money is treated as a cost and repayment of money borrowed from outside suppliers is deducted before arriving at the benefit stream. Interest imputed or paid to the entity from whose point of view financial analysis is being conducted is not treated as a “cost” because it is part of the total return to entity capital contributed by the entity. Hence is part of the financial return which that entity receives.
Methodologies for economic feasibility
There are many methods that can be used to evaluate the economic feasibility of aquaculture projects. Some methods are better than others but there is no one best technique. The three most common methods are: the payback period (pay off), the average rate of return, and the discounting (present value) method. The latter is made up of:
the net present value
the internal rate of return
the benefit cost ratio
The appropriate methodology for a specific project will depend to a large extent on the creativity of the economist(s), the state of existing analytic literature and the availability of accurate reference data.
6. EVALUATION AND EVALUATION PLANNING
Evaluation may be defined as the measurement and comparison of actual progress vis-a-vis prior plans, oriented toward improving plans for future implementation. It is an integral part of the planning process and it should be a continuing exercise.
Evaluation does at least five things in the planning process:
It questions the relevance of the project.
It challenges all aspects of the project design
It examines performance and adequacy of inputs and implementing agents.
It measures actual progress toward outputs, purpose and goal.
It results, if need be, in redesigning or replanning actions.
The Logical Framework Matrix (LFM) can be used in project evaluation, because project evaluation reconsiders each of the design elements presented in Section 3.3 and then attempts to assess the progress. Thus the framework of the original project design is also the framework for the evaluation.
For the first evaluation of the project, the LFM clarifies the project design against which progress will be evaluated. For the later evaluation exercises the LFM helps in consideration whether the design is still valid or should be changed in the light of changing circumstances and greater knowledge.
6.1 Steps in Project Evaluation
Evaluation of a project can be carried out in four steps:
Clarification of project design
Assessment of progress
Clarification of project design
At this step of the evaluation process, we lay out the project design including the hierachy of objectives, progress indicators and assumptions about necessary conditions.
Assessment of progress
We should at this step look at the following:
Objective data about the delivery of project inputs: i.e. are the inputs being provided on schedule and is there a reasonable expectation that the supply of inputs will be maintained?
Objective data about production of project outputs:
Are the outputs being produced on schedule? If not what changes are necessary in type, quantity or timing?
Are the projected outputs and assumptions underlying them realistic?
Are the project outputs likely to lead to the set of conditions expected at the end of the project. If not, what other actions are needed to accomplish this?
Based on the history of aquaculture in the area and on what pertains in other areas with similar conditions, are the assumptions on inputs and outputs reasonable. If not what can or should be done?
Are new inputs or outputs needed to assure success?
determine if project is making a significant contribution as planned to the higher goal:
Will conditions at the end of the project indicate that the purpose of the project has been achieved?
Are the assumptions of conditions operating in the project correct?
Will the achievement of outputs result in project objectives?
If the answer to the above three sets of questions are positive, we conclude that the project is being implemented successfully. If not we should review the design and made a note of any necessary changes.
The clarification the the project design and the assessment of progress as outlined above will normally be done by the project implementation leader or a project evaluation expert. Thereafter he should invite others, including members of his team and outsiders including consultants to review the evaluation of the project. Others coming in with different perspectives can be both an asset and a potential liability.
The project leader or an evaluation expert should serve as a moderator. The project leader is managing a project to benefit others and if he takes on a passive style of intervention the results of the Group Review will be better.
The evaluation review team should be thoroughly briefed by someone who is thoroughly familiar with the project. For the Group Review to be useful the assessment of progress report should be an honest representation of the situation of the project, and the discussion by the evaluation team must be carried out with the utmost candor and objectivity.
The group should review the project logically using as its working document the original LFM or the revised LFM and the assessment of progress report.
If the evaluation review is successful, the participants will come away with answers to the following questions:
What has been the achievement to date?
How does this achievement compare with previous plans?
What are the changes of the project achieving its ultimate objectives?
Is the project likely to have the expected impact on the sector or subsector goal?
What unplanned changes have accurred and what are their effects?
What alternatives can be made to the current plan?
Can the same objective be achieved more efficiently and cheaply by other means?
What changes would improve the project? e.g. Increase in inputs, increase or reduction in technical assistance, training, length of project, scrapping the project, etc.
The evaluation team should make a summary report of the project with recommendations and follow-up actions to be undertaken. The follow-up action plan should have a time frame. The supervision of the follow-up action should be assigned, if possible, to someone other then the project implementation leader.
A report on follow-up actions recommended will constitute the first item of the next evaluation meeting.
Implementation is the putting into action instructions and guidelines contained in the project design document. Each project should have a leader. Administratively, the leader is the focal point of the project. he supervises and monitors the project, that is, overseeing the decision making process in the project implementation and assures that actions and decisions represent the spirit of the project document, that inputs are properly utilized and actions are occurring within the planned time frame. Since the success or failure of a project may depend on the leader, project leaders should be carefully chosen. He or she must be technically competent and knowledgeable about aquaculture development, preferably experienced in project management and in working with people. There should be incentives and controls built in to a project for the project leader.
The point “go” in the implementation phase of a project is not the time to make hurried changes in the implementation plans. These changes would have been made in the project design stage or should wait the results of a thorough evaluation (Chapter 6). To formulate a sound and effective aquaculture plan may take months if not years. When resources, particularly manpower and capital as well as conducive social and political climates are available, every effort must be made or taken to execute the plan. The project design document is in itself a package of resources:- brain-storming by the project design teams and many others, time and money. These should not be wasted.
SOCIAL ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS IN AQUACULTURE PLANNING
A plan should have a specific clientele and for the plan to be sound and successful we need to know the aspects, variables and parameters of this clientele. These variables are usually subsumed under the term socio-economic. For example:
Population: total/densities/growth rates:
Composition: tribal/sex: urban/rural population ratio; average household size and migration patterns.
Social services: schools, hospitals, dispensaries.
Sector analysis of the Economy:
tertiary (trade, tourism, etc). sectors.
For each sector we may seek information on:
Tenure and ownership of property rights
More emphasis should be placed on those tied up with Agro-industrial activities and Livestock. For the latter it may be necessary to note the species, quantities, systems and levels of husbandry.
Income Distribution and Expenditure
The distribution of income within a population provides estimates of the purchasing power of each strata; while household expenditure pattern of different strata gives us an indication of the living standard of the population. Some of the information needed to make these approximations are:
Seasonal variations in exenditures
Socio-Cultural Dynamic Structure
To get an understanding of the interaction of individuals in a society we may need to know among other:
Life styles, mobility and value patterns
Political System and Development
The stage of political development or the political system can influence in a positive or negative manner aquaculture development and the success of aquaculture projects. We would need to know among others:
Affiliations of the community/nation