WHAT’S ASPIRE: (Agriculture Services Programme for Innovation, Resilience and Extension)
- The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has received a bulk of the financing is provided by IFAD in the form of a loan (USD 26.1 million) and a grant (USD 15 million supported by ASAP). Government funding is estimated at USD 11.4 million of which USD 3 million represents taxes. The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3iE), supported a number of development partners and foundations, will provide financing estimated at USD 932,400 for Randomized Control Trials to be implemented by IFPRI under Component 1. USAID will finance selected activities in Component 2.2 estimated to cost USD 329,423. The Project which is title is the Agriculture Services Programme for Innovation, Resilience and Extension (ASPIRE). Total programme costs are around USD 82.2 million over a seven-year implementation period and include USD 4.1 million of physical and price contingencies. Foreign exchange accounts for about 10% of total programme costs, with duties and taxes making up approximately USD 3 million. Funds allocated to the ASPIRE Secretariat are about USD 10.6 million of 13% of the total Programme costs.
- The ASPIRE will be overseen by a Steering Committee (SC) co-chaired at Secretary of State level by Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and with representation from Cambodia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Supreme National Economic Council (SNEC), National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development Secretariat (NCDDS) and Ministry of Environment (MoE) as well as participating provinces together with limited number of representatives of development partners, civil society (farmer organization) and the private sector which will be appointed for not less than one year. ASPIRE will be implemented in accordance with RGC’s May 2012 Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), the Financial Management Manual (FMM) and the Procurement Manual (PM), and The Financial Reform Approach (PB).
- The outputs and activities of ASPIRE are organized in four components: Knowledge Based Policy, Capacity Development of Extension Services, Improved Extension Services and Climate Resilient Productive Infrastructure. These components are mutually inter-dependent: outputs in one component may be contingent on achievement of outputs in another, and the outcomes will be achieved through the combined effect of all components.
- MAFF is the designated Executing Agency (EA) will take responsibility for overall programme management, coordination and reporting while agencies and line departments of MAFF will undertake the majority of technical and work at national and sub-national levels. SNEC will undertake policy research and analysis (Sub-Component 1.2). NCDD-S will be the implementing agency for Component 4. Provincial Sub-Programmes will be implemented by the Provincial Departments of Agriculture. District Administrations will be the recipients of the Climate Resilience Grants (from NCDDS) and will either implement directly of through sub-grants to the Commune Councils. The Commune Councils will contract Commune Extension Workers and play an important role in coordination and monitoring of extension service delivery.
- ASPIRE is designed as a national programme and the policy and capacity development components will have a national scope. The Provincial Sub-Programmes and Climate Resilient Infrastructure activities will be piloted in five provinces initially, with an expansion to at least five and (contingent on mobilizing additional funds) up to eight provinces from 2018. Taking these criteria into account, RGC has agreed to pilot ASPIRE in five provinces: Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Kratie, Preah Vihear, Pursat and Steung Treng. Subject to satisfactory progress in developing the programme-based approach, ASPIRE expanded to Kampot, Kandal, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng and Takeo with phasing out of the PADEE project in 2018. The phase 2 programme is in scaling up (2019-2021) and expanded to 9 PDAFFs more which bring ASPIRE to 20 provinces in 2019, plus four additional provinces to be identified by Mid-Term Review and contingent upon mobilization of additional funds.
- The ASPIRE Financing Agreement was signed between RGC and IFAD on 05 March 2015 and the program will become fully operational by July 2015. Accordingly, RGC is seeking the services of national specialists in programme management to provide expert advice to the Provincial Departments of Agriculture (PDA) one among 20 ASPIRE target provinces.