The Accelerating Sustainable Agriculture Program (ASAP) followed other USAID funded agriculture development programs with similar objectives. The intent was to continue moving agriculture along the spectrum from the farm gate to higher levels within the processing sector, with the end goal of increasing exports as an engine for development.
The project ended in October 2011 and the interest in an evaluation was two-fold: assess the performance and reach of the activities implemented under ASAP and pose lessons learned that might impact future program considerations along this farm gate to export continuum.
The issue of concern for future programming will be the sustainability of interventions within the context of an overburdened Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and a development urgency that is overreaching. Given the low level from which agriculture development is emerging in Afghanistan, the tendency is to cover the waterfront quickly with the expectation that all the various pieces will somehow tie themselves together in some distant future.
The evaluation process considered the four focus areas of the project: agribusiness investments, agriculture inputs, agriculture services provided to the sector, and advisory services provided to the ministry, which formed the basis for addressing the questions posed in the Statement of Work.