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      Difficult institutional reforms, particularly those that go beyond a single ministry, should be

headed by an independent agency outside the concerned ministriedagencies.

Potential Bank Role in Future o f Office du Niger

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    Bank could play an important role to facilitate future reform agenda, including: Increased cost recovery to ensure the maintenance o f all infrastructure, including primary infrastructure (whose maintenance i s currently financed by GOM), and payment o f all or part

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      f the investment cost, given the increased profitability o f investments at ON. In parallel, increased empowerment o f farmers and increased responsibility for O&M decisions; Further reduction in the part o f O&M charges spent on overhead; Increased land tenure security, while maintaining deterrents against non-payment o f O&M charges;

Strengthening farmers' organizations for better proficiency in input purchase and output marketing strategies;

Given the present profitability o f irrigated rice and vegetable production, facilitate increased private sector investment in further development o f irrigation infrastructure, e.g., through devising mechanisms, in collaboration with MIGA and IFC, for availing long term financing to would-be private investors in the ON zone;

Continued support to improving access to markets to facilitate input purchase and output/product distribution; and

Further attention to environmental externalities.

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