MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND LIVESTOCK
SUPPORT TO THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT PROGRAMME (PEP)
The Support to the Agricultural Sector Performance Enhancement Programme (PEP) is a project funded by the European Union and managed and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of the Government of the Republic of Zambia (MAL). The programme’s total budget is Euro 8,900,000 and its overall objective is to contribute to growth and poverty reduction in Zambia through a strengthened agriculture sector.
The purpose of the project is that the capacity of MAL is strengthened in an effective and sustainable way and their operations improved, and this will be achieved by providing financial and managerial support in four key result areas:
1. Change Management and Service Delivery;
2. Sector policy, Planning and Financial Management;
3. Human Resources (HR) Management and Information and Communications Technology (ICT); and
4. Monitoring and Evaluation.
The programme is implemented through Programme Estimates, which include activities and budgets and implementation arrangements, agreed and signed by the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Authorising Office in the Ministry of Finance and the European Commission Delegation.
To date a Start Up Programme Estimate (SUPE) has been completed (August 2012 to January 2013) and the first Operational Programme Estimate (PE1) is under way (February 2013 to February 2014). The second Programme Estimate (PE2) is about to start.
The following are the major achievements in each result area to January 2013.
Result 1. Change Management and Service Delivery Improved
Establishment of Change Management Mechanisms
Programme governance arrangement have been established including a Project Steering Committee (PS level and external stakeholders) to provide strategic guidance, a Change Management Team (the 10 departmental Directors the Chief Accountant and representatives from Cabinet Office) and Provincial Change Management Teams (Provincial Heads of Departments and District Agricultural Coordinators). A Programme Support Unit provides technical and administrative support, through the two Technical Assistants, a project Accountant and a project Administer.
Leadership, management and supervisory skills training
PEP is supporting the Department of Human Resource and Administration in planning a leadership training programme, which will be implemented in PE2. A management skills training programme for middle managers has already been successfully conducted at all provincial capitals and for HQ staff and Zambia College of Agriculture, Monze were contracted to conduct two supervisory skills courses for district staff from Lusaka and Southern Provinces.
Collaborating with RESCAP for extension harmonisation
The Department of Agriculture, supported by the Rural Extension Service Capacity Building Project (RESCAP) and PEP, has been facilitating a process of standardising and harmonising field-level extension delivery approaches by the different service providers. PEP has supported this process.
Result 2. Sector Policy, Planning and Financial Management improved
Strengthen Sector Dialogue and coordination
PEP supported a large stakeholder workshop convened by MAL to: (i). review the National Agricultural Investment Plan (NAIP) to determine any gaps in the situation analysis, investment areas identified, results framework, budget and implementation framework, (ii). To provide input to those gaps and (iii). To endorse the NAIP. The revised NAIP was submitted to NEPAD for an Independent Technical Review and was subsequently launched in May 2013 by the Vice President.
Strengthening capacity for policy development, monitoring and analysis
PEP supported the Department of Agriculture to update the farmer register in the 10 districts, to pilot the approach as a basis for strengthening the farmer register nationally, as a basis for MAL management activities and subsidy programmes. 505,618 farmers were registered. In addition, PEP and RESCAP jointly supported the Department of Agriculture annual review and planning meeting in November 2013.
Assist with development of sector Strategic Plan
Two workshops were jointly funded by MAL and PEP and facilitated by staff from the Management Development Division (MDD) of Cabinet Office to draft a new sector Strategic Plan. This draft was later subjected to a wider stakeholder’s consultation. Following these consultations the Strategic Plan was submitted to MDD for approval. The Strategic Plan has since been approved by MDD and is ready for launching by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.
Review of planning and budgeting process & development of Planning and Budget Guidelines
A review of the planning and budgeting process and the development of Planning and Budgeting Guidelines, supported by PEP, began with a situational analysis to investigate the current planning and budgeting process at all levels and identify ways of improving it carried out in two provinces. This then provided the basis for the development of planning and budgeting guidelines for the ministry which are currently lacking.
Continue support to roll-out and operationalisation of IFMIS
The MAL Human Resource Development and Training (HRDT) section were assisted in identifying IFMIS training needs and organising training all approving officers (Directors), together with refresher training for profilers and requisitioners.
Result 3. Human Resources Management and Information and Communications Technology Improved
Reconcile Staff Payroll and Make Outstanding Payments of retirement packages for MAL retirees
An auditing exercise for outstanding retirement packages for MAL staff resulted in an audited total of K17,870,360 against a PEP budget of Eur 1,120,000 (around K 7,700,000). At the same time, MAL released K 12,511,540 for the same purpose. It was agreed that the EU funds should be applied to Southern and part of Eastern Provinces, whilst GRZ funds would be applied to the balance of Eastern Province, the other provinces and HQ. Payment of outstanding retirement packages to 222 MAL staff in these two provinces has successfully been completed and for a further 16 is in process.
Capacity building of HR staff at all levels, including planning, budgeting, records management and personnel management
A training course was held in June 2013, for Senior Executive Officers (SEOs) from each of the provincial offices, Registrars/EOs from 6 MAL training institutions, SOE/EOs from 8 HQ departments and 17 members of the Dept HRA. This examined the role of HR in an organisation such as MAL and the current and desired HR structure within MAL. A skills audit instrument is being designed to assess the range and depth of skills HR staff currently possess. The outcome of this audit will inform the development of an appropriate training programme for all HR staff to build capacity at all levels.
Re-instate induction/orientation training and incorporate in policy.
The Human Resource Development and Training section in conjunction with all MAL departments and supported by PEP Technical team, has developed an integrated draft induction programme for new staff in the ministry. This programme is currently being piloted in Western province.
MAL agricultural training institutions: situation/needs analysis
A consultancy is under way to study the status of the 10 certificate and diploma level agricultural training institutions falling under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, in order to prepare a development plan for curricula, staff and infrastructure that GRZ and its development partners can support in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of pre-service training in the agriculture sector. In addition, PEP together with RESCAP supported management training for 10 Farm Institute Principals at Masaiti Farm institute.
Develop and Improve ICT at all levels
During the Start Up PE a study was commissioned to develop a draft ICT strategy to provide a conceptual framework for a vision for ICT in MAL and a sequence of steps to achieve this vision. In this PE1 a follow-up consultancy was supported that focussed on one of the four desired outcomes from the (draft) Ministry ICT Strategy, i.e.:
- Outcome 1: ICT Policy Framework
- Outcome 2: Established ICT management system/structure
- Outcome 3: Improved connectivity linking district, provincial and HQ office
- Outcome 4: Existence of a Virtual private Network for the ministry
This is being done through five priority activities, where the PEP programme can contribute to improving MAL’s ICT in the short term. This work is on-going, however the website has been re-launched, the HQ e-mail system is being renovated and plans for database integration, ICT training and ICT procurement are nearing completion.
HIV & AIDS and gender activities
Training was provided Senior Executive Officers (SEOs) from provinces, HQ departments and training institutions, on a right’s based approach to HIV and gender issues. Following this, fieldwork and drafting activities were undertaken to develop a revised MAL HIV & AIDS Workplace Policy and Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines. The drafts for these documents will be presented to top leadership before a training of trainers programme is undertaken.
Result 4. Monitoring and Evaluation Improved
Review and enhance the MAL M&E System
The PEP budgets for M&E are supporting MAL in two ways:
(i). M&E training at all levels from HQ down to Camp level, which will to follow on from the recent development of a new MAL M&E manual, with indicators, data collection tools, systems and procedures.
(ii). Supporting the establishment of a Zambia SAKSS (Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System). Two workshops organised MAL, in collaboration with ReSAKSS-SA, have been supported: One was to develop a questionnaire (data collection tool), based on the M&E manual drafted under a SAPP-supported consultancy but also incorporating the requirements of the SAKSS Annual Trends Report (ATR). The other was to launch the data collection exercise for the preparation of the 2014 Annual Trends and Outlook report for the Zambia Agriculture Sector.