We were contracted by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) to carry out two mid-term reviews of CFC's five year action plans in 2005 and in 2010.
CFC is an inter-governmental institution established within the framework of the United Nations. The Fund finances projects to benefit smallholder farmers, and small and medium sized enterprises involved in agricultural and commodity production, processing and trade in the least developed countries.
The Five Year Action Plan (the plan) is a guiding document for the CFC on strategic direction, project funding, decision-making and project portfolio managemen. The fundamental remit of the CFC has been to 'mitigate vulnerabilities of commodity producers largely caused by price volatility'.
We were tasked to:
- review CFC's loans and grants for projects that are supervised by International Commodity Boards
- assess the effectiveness and impact of the advocacy role of the Fund
- carryout a strategic review of the mandate of the CFC and its role in support of the commodity sector
- a review of the relevance and strategic options facing CFC
Drawing on the expertise and knowledge of the review team we used an iterative process combining document review, interviews, consultation exercises, field trips and analytical review. We:
- assessed whether the objectives and targets of the Plan were being achieved:
- critical success factors and obstacles to implementation were identified and recommendations made on the direction, content and operation of the Plan
- aanalysed the portfolio of projects and examined the processes and efficiency of the systems
- Opening up of fund to third parties and other organisations (CFC has since opened up to a range of public and private bodies)
- Advising on how best to screen applications for grant funding support
- Advising on how to assess projects against a series of indicators targeting poverty reduction
- Recommending strategic changes to the operations of the CFC
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