El Banco Mundial aprobó el viernes 187 millones de dólares para el Proyecto de regadío agrícola para el aumento de la Productividad de Sindh (SIAPEP), para ayudar a mejorar la gestión del agua de riego en Pakistán.
According to a press release issued here, the project will support efficient management of scarce water resources and is designed to augment adaptation under different climate change scenarios.
Despite extensive irrigation infrastructure, widespread use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and availability of hybrid seeds in the market, agriculture productivity is low in Pakistan and, especially in Sindh. An estimated 40 to 50 per cent of the water that is delivered through community water course networks is lost mainly due to seepage, spillage, as well as, side leakage from the water course banks.
“Flood irrigation is commonly adopted by most farmers in Pakistan; and a significant amount (20 to 25pc) of irrigation water is lost during its field application”, says Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank’s country director for Pakistan. “The project will help farmers in making every drop of water count towards improved yield.”
The project is designed to deliver a combination of interventions: (a) water courses improvement to upgrade the efficiency of delivery in the field; (b) precision land-levelling to improve the applications in the field where flood irrigation will remain prevalent; (c) High Efficiency Irrigation Systems – drip irrigation for orchard, vegetables, flowers, other high value row crops.
“Most of the project interventions are well tested and demand driven, with reasonable co-financing from beneficiary farmers”, says Mahwash Wasiq, Task Team Leader of the Project. “The project will yield high economic and financial returns, as well as substantial social and economic benefits.”
SIAPEP will benefit the poorest of the rural society. The direct beneficiaries will be small farmers holding up to 13 acres and medium-size farmers (13 -50 acres) in Sindh who are engaged in irrigated agriculture, including (i) around 198,000 farm households cultivating land in the command areas of the water courses to be improved by the project, and (ii) around 2,600 farm households supported by the project in high-efficiency irrigation. In addition, a large population would also benefit indirectly from the project, such as landless farm labourers for agricultural operations, and temporary and permanent labourers engaged in construction and manufacturing sectors. As a consequence of increased crop production, agricultural employment is expected to rise by about 16pc.
The credit is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s grant and low-interest arm. It will be on standard IDA terms, with a maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years.-PR