The basic question this book investigates is how the public resources
available through grant projects can be deployed to support agricultural
commodity chains for local economic development, with a specific
objective of poverty alleviation. This book describes some of the
practical dilemmas that project designers and implementers face. It is
intended for development professionals and students, as well as donors
that want to increase the likelihood of project success. It aims to help
project designers, implementers and evaluators make pragmatic, realistic
decisions in designing and implementing commodity development projects
This chapter discusses issues relating to complexity in commodity
projects. Complexities relate to the type of commodity, the focus the
project chooses in terms of single or multiple issues tackled, the
approach used, starting from a problem or an opportunity, and the number
of countries involved. It draws the following lessons for project
designers and implementers:
- It is important to focus on opportunities rather than problems. It is
only when an opportunity exists that an intervention can have a
positive impact on the stakeholders involved. The project can then
tackle the constraints that hinder the intended beneficiaries from
taking advantage of the opportunity.
- Single-focus projects need specific justification. They should be
initiated only where a thorough systems analysis has clearly
identified a single, most important bottleneck for commodity
development. Even then, other relevant issues should be made explicit.
In other cases, focusing on a single issue is not justified.
- Commodity system innovation often requires a multi-focus approach,
working on different issues simultaneously – which makes commodity
projects complex. The coordination should have a broad overview of the
system and be able to coordinate among a range of stakeholders.
- A multi-country project is only justified if the participation of
other countries brings clear benefits for each country. The project
has to make such a win-win situation explicit.
Agwanda, C. Choices in commodity project design. In: Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) (Eds) From sorghum to shrimp: A journey through commodity projects. KIT Publishers, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2011) 11-22. ISBN 978-94-6022-156-9
Choices in commodity project design