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1.  Introduction

1.1. The Problem

Making a livelihood is part of man’s existence. Poverty in a most general sense means that one does not make out as well as others or as well as one would have liked to. There may be many underlying reasons for poverty. Poverty probably has always existed as a real phenomenon. But it was the international agreements drawn up at Bretton Woods towards the end of World War II that spelt out for the first time that poverty was a world-wide concern (World Bank Reports, various years). The term “underdeveloped” world was introduced, later replaced by the more optimistic – but not necessarily more realistic – term “developing countries”.

Developing countries, self-defined and declared as such in the United Nations, are poor countries. Poverty may be measured by per-caput-income, purchasing power parity, human development indicators or by other means, and is in the first instance a relative term (e.g. Hemmer, 2002). They all mean that people are less well off than one would hope for in comparison.

Poverty exists, and it does not matter very much which historical or ideological reasons we attach to it. The more useful way to look at it is that there are many examples where relative poverty, even absolute poverty threatening people’s lives (starvation) can be overcome. Examples from the so called industrialised countries are the Alpine regions, the poverty-stricken regions of southern Germany, the Mezzogiorno of Italy, and many regions of Ireland.

Admittedly these improvements in Europe were associated with the general process of industrialisation while the growth rate of the population was relatively low. However we also have India and China at hand for examples of at least a reduction in relative and absolute poverty, and there are other examples in Asia and in other developing regions. The historical evidence suggests that something can be done against poverty, that poverty alleviation is a real possibility.

This study focuses on Indonesia3, a developing country of 1,919,440 sqkm consisting of an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands (6,000 inhabited) of which the five large [page 23↓]land masses make up for about ninety percent of the total area: Sumatra (473,481 sqkm) , Java (132,186 sqkm), Kalimantan (548,005 sqkm), Celebes (189,216 sqkm) und West-New guinea/Papua (421,981 sqkm). The Current population projection in Indonesia (2003) is about 235 million.

Java as the central island has a population of 100 million on a surface of 132,186 sq km. This corresponds with a population density of ± 1000 persons per sq km, among the highest of any regions in the developing world. Eighty percent of the Javanese population live in rural areas and more than ninety percent of the rural population are engaged in agriculture.

Geertz (1961) coined the term “involution” for Java. It is the epitomy of hopelessness with respect to autonomous flight out of poverty. It means that there is no “no light at the end of the tunnel”. It means that population continues to grow, in Java at rates at rates above 2% p.a., while there is hardly any means for an additional person to add to the overall income. With every additional person the average income falls, poverty increases.

Geertz´s dire vision has been counteracted by the phenomenon of the Green Revolution. Improved varieties together with complementary inputs have made it possible for the wet rice system to keep pace with population growth. But poverty has not really been alleviated and cash income has rather decreased. The “trasmigrasi” programs, i.e. the public efforts to make people move to the other much less densely populated islands of the archipel have had very limited success (von der Ruhren, 1994). In search for betterment and for cash income there has resulted the uncontrolled movements into the cities, or rather the slums thereof.

It is obvious, under these circumstances, that any rural activity that generates additional income, especially cash income, at low opportunity costs would be most welcome. It would have to be examined and tested thoroughly for its wider applicability, because it is likely to be a new venture. Under conditions of very low incomes one would not wish to promote an idea and then leave it to the poverty-stricken farmer to test it out on his own risk. One such new venture is sericulture.


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Sericulture is the term used for the totality of activities necessary to produce silk from eggs of the silk moth worms over various stages by feeding them mulberry leaves until they produce the cocoon from which the silk filament is gained; the term also includes the processing stages from the filament to the yarn and finally to the silk cloth.

1.2. Objectives of the study and theoretical setting

Sericulture may be one of the possibilities that may be able to refute the depressive involution thesis. In other words, there may be new and additional opportunities for income generation in rural areas for developing regions, in for example South Asia, in particular Java/Indonesia. The focus is on cash income through the use of resources with low opportunity costs, i.e. labor and land not needed for other productive purposes.

In very general terms one could state that there exists the hypothesis that rural incomes, especially cash incomes, can be raised through the introduction of sericulture. However, this formulation is too broad, too general. Such a hypothesis would not deserve the term because it could not be subjected to empirical testing, not even to theoretical reasoning or plausibility considerations. One would not come near the reasons for saying yes or no to sericulture, because the process is too complex.

The introduction of sericulture requires a project approach. It is not a matter of having the idea alone, or that of simply making a resource or a piece of knowledge available. It is a matter of going through all the phases of a project in theory and - if possible - in practical testing. The general hypothesis has to be broken down into many smaller and better manageable ones. The project becomes an operational unit that has to undergo phases and has to perform according to stated objectives within a time frame.

Thus a project is not a plan (“projectere”), a dispassionate look into the future. Rather, and in line with all the presently used definitions in development cooperation4, a project is an organizational unit within which resources are spent in order to reach specified objectives.

A project could be equated to a private enterprise and a private investment were it not for its explicit social implications and its international finance. A privately financed [page 25↓]investment may take its path according to personal experience, friendships etc. and unexplained criteria.

A publicly financed project has to be explained and justified in its various stages and within its phases from programming to planning and evaluation. For this purpose the concept of a project cycle is used by most international institutions.

Figure 1: Schematic Representation of the Project Cycle

A project idea needs formulation, initial analyses, feasibility studies, a definitive project plan, finance proposals, implementation strategies, concepts for monitoring and evaluation, and – in the end – the integration into the strategies and policies for the formulation of future projects.

The objectives of the present study are

1.3. Approach and organisation of the study

The case at hand is sericulture, and because of its biotechnical particularities it requires some special treatment. Chapter 2 therefore deals with sericulture as a biotechnical phenomenon, with its origin and spread to the present time and with sericulture in South-eastern Asia, giving particular attention to Indonesia.

Chapters 3 to 9 reflect the seven phases of the project cycle. While in no way being patented or logically compelling in an absolute way, it provides a useful framework, not only for planning and implementing a project, but also for theoretical analysis. The present work takes up the principle of a project cycle to show in a combination of inductive and deductive scientific procedure how a project can – step by step - be analysed for underlying theory, for its basic methods, for practical execution. The project cycle is thus taken as an intellectual challenge that can and should be put to scientific scrutiny in order to arrive at development approaches that are scientifically sound, practicable and generalizable.

Chapter 3: The project idea

Origins of a project can be very different and do not really lend themselves to scientific scrutiny. Quite often the ideas have already been put into the framework of sectoral or regional development plans or fixed within international agreements of cooperation. In many cases, but by no means in all, there exists a generally agreed country strategy paper laying down policies and principles of economic development. In such a case the main task is to examine the compatibility of an idea with the general strategy and to determine whether the idea is to be further pursued.

As for the present case of a sericulture project, the general idea is to generate income, in particular cash income, for rural rural households, to create working places and to stabilise


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agricultural production. This idea needs to be refined in order so that a first identification of a project can be achieved.

Chapter 4: The study phase

The study phase can encompass very different studies all concerned with the feasibility of a project which has initially been identified. Often, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies are distinguished depending on the degree of their concreteness. These studies do not necessarily need to come up with deterministic results. In fact the approach emphasized in this paper is the execution of sensitivity analyses. The result is not that so many kg’s of mulberry leaves need to be fed to the worms so many times a day. Rather the study gives an answer to the question of what would happen if the quantity fed varied by so much. Similarly a market study would not end by saying that the likely price is so much per kg of cocoon. Rather it would examine the likely range or variation of prices and their effects on the project.

Chapter 5: The project plan

All significant aspects of the idea have been studied, taking account of the orientations of the Country Strategy Paper, and the views of the main stakeholders. Detailed implementation schedules, including a Log Frame with indicators of expected results and impact, and implementation and resource schedules, are part of the project plan. Hard-core economic calculations of expected benefits to farmers, income effects and return to capital are included. “Softer” considerations like effects on the environment, on distribution and on gender are also included.

A good project plan would also contain a section risks and uncertainties involved.

The project plan essentially serves two purposes: (1) It is the basis for presentation to potential financial institutions and/or donors; it may therefore already include tentative finance proposals. (2) It serves as the basic reference document for project management and all stakeholders throughout project implementation up to the evaluation phase. It is the fundamental reference document for the monitoring activities.


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Chapter 6: Finance proposals and their realisation

The finance proposals contained in the project plan normally only serve as a framework for discussion with potential donors. Having identified suitable and interested finance organizations it will then be necessary to transform the finance proposals to the requirements

of the respective finance organization. This requires the drawing up of separate documents including details of money transfers, procurement procedures, control mechanisms, repayment conditions if any, reporting requirements and the like.

For the case at hand the finance proposal had an external component (AusAID, Misereor, DFID British, local NGOs), and an internal one between the project management and the participating farmers.

Chapter 7: Implementation

Implementation means putting to use the agreed and available resources to achieve the project purpose. It normally involves at least three elements: (1) The establishment of a managerial structure including the physical infrastructure for project management and for the nucleus activities. (2) The mobilization of the target group(s) down to the individual households with which project management intends to cooperate. (3) The putting in place of the systems for input delivery, for extension, for collection of the outputs and for processing.

The transformation of the project plan into reality poses the actual management challenge. The project plan is like a theoretical chess game that you construct “in the dry” for yourself and against yourself”. The next step towards reality is to have a real game where you do not yourself design the response to your moves. The ultimate step towards reality is that you do not even have your own moves under control because you cannot implement directly but you have to work through persons (principal-agent syndrome).


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Chapter 8: Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation have become a technical twin term (M&E). 5

Monitoring is defined as the continuous assessment of project implementation in relation to agreed schedules and in relation to the plans for inputs into and outputs from the project. Monitoring provides managers and other stakeholders with a continuous feedback on implementation. It identifies actual or potential successes and problems as early as possible to facilitate timely adjustments of project operations.

Evaluation on the other hand refers to a one-time assessment or periodic assessments – in retrospective - of a project's relevance, performance, efficiency, and impact (both expected and unexpected) in relation to stated objectives: Project managers undertake interim

evaluations during implementation as a first review of progress, a prognosis of a project's likely effects, and as a way to identify necessary adjustments in project design. The use of mid-term reviews of ongoing projects has spread widely in the last two decades. Terminal evaluations, conducted at the end of a project, are required for project completion reports. They include an assessment of a project's effects and their potential sustainability.

Used carefully at all stages of the project cycle, monitoring and evaluation can help to strengthen project design and implementation and stimulate partnership with project stakeholders. It can influence sector assistance strategy. Relevant analysis from project and policy evaluation can highlight the outcomes of previous interventions, and the strengths and weaknesses of their implementation.

A major aim is the improvement of project design. The use of project design tools such as the log frame (logical framework) results in a systematic selection of indicators for monitoring project performance. The process of selecting indicators for monitoring is a [page 30↓]test of the soundness of project objectives and in this way can lead to improvements in project design. Another important aspect is the incorporation of stakeholder views. Awareness is growing that participation by project beneficiaries in design and implementation brings greater "ownership" of project objectives and encourages the sustainability of project benefits. Ownership brings accountability. Objectives should be set and indicators selected in consultation with stakeholders, so that objectives and targets are jointly "owned". The emergence of recorded benefits early on helps to reinforce ownership, and early warning of emerging problems allows action to be taken before costs rise. The need for mid-course corrections is shown. A reliable flow of information during implementation enables managers to keep track of progress and adjust operations to take account of the immediate experience.

Chapter 9: Evaluation

Evaluation is an “assessment, as systematic and objective as possible, of an ongoing or completed project, programme or policy, of its design, implementation and results. The aim is to determine the relevance and fulfilment of objectives, developmental efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. An evaluation should provide information that is credible and useful, enabling the incorporation of lessons learned into the decision-making process of both recipients and donors”.

An evaluation can be done during implementation (mid-term), at its end (final evaluation) or after the event (ex-post evaluation), either to help steer the project or to draw lessons for future projects and programming. An evaluation should led to a decision to continue, to rectify or stop a project and the conclusions and recommendations should also be taken into account when planning and implementing other similar projects in the future.

For the case at hand the evaluation follows the principles of a conventional economic analysis (thus including the calculation of economic benefit-cost ratios, internal rates of return and net benefit increases) but also includes a SWOT-Analysis. Furthermore, analyses of technical production, a regression analysis of mulberry plantation and of silkworm breeding were carried out. An evaluation, while based on the retrospective has its major value in the prospective: Modifications to be made; halting the project to stop further losses, mistakes to be avoided in future projects


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Chapter 10: Discussion and conclusions

The discussion and the conclusions relate to three aspects: (1) The sericulture project as so far implemented in Central Java; (2) the project cycle approach in its theoretical and methodological implications, and (3) the potential of sericulture projects for the future.


Footnotes and Endnotes

3 Source: http://www.bps.go.id (Statistics of Indonesia)

4 E.g. The World Bank (as e.g. in Gittinger, 1994) the European Union, the German development cooperation (as e.g. early on formulated for KfW by Ruthenberg) etc

5 Source:http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/oed/oeddoclib.nsf/0/770fd50eae49c6cd852567f5005d80c7?
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