- The scheme will provide irrigation water supply to 704,000 hectares of land in Bhakkar, Jhang, Khushab, Layyah, and Muzaffargarh districts
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved on Monday a $200 million loan for the development of an irrigation system in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The project loan, which is denominated in Japanese yen, will finance the construction of the second branch or Choubara system of the Greater Thal Canal irrigation scheme, read a statement by ADB. The scheme will provide irrigation water supply to 704,000 hectares of land in Bhakkar, Jhang, Khushab, Layyah, and Muzaffargarh districts, making them more agriculturally productive.
“Given Pakistan’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, it is essential to build irrigation infrastructure for climate-resilient and sustainable agriculture,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov.
“ADB’s support will help boost the supply of local produce and promote food security, while increasing economic growth.”
ADB said that because of Pakistan’s semi-arid climate, agricultural production is highly dependent on irrigation. Yet, irrigation efficiency remains low due to water shortages, land degradation, and mismanagement of water resources.
Under the Choubara branch system ADB will help construct comprises a 72-kilometer branch canal, 11 secondary canals totaling 251 kilometers, and 11 tertiary canals totaling 127 kilometers. ADB will also help develop on-farm agricultural command areas, pilot water conservation technologies such as land leveling and high-efficiency irrigation systems and help to train farmers in water management and climate-resilient agricultural practices.
“By integrating infrastructure and agricultural interventions, this project directly supports smallholder farmers to manage their limited resources more efficiently and maximize the benefits from irrigated agriculture,” ADB Principal Portfolio Management Specialist Natsuko Totsuka said.
“The project will strengthen the capacity of local authorities to maintain these irrigation systems, boost rural economic growth and help to reduce poverty in the province.”
Last week, ADB approved $685 million for two different sectors, including strengthening Pakistan’s energy sector and improve its financial sustainability and financing to help improve the livability and community health.
The bank approved a $300 million policy-based loan to support financial, technical, and governance reforms under its Energy Sector Reforms and Financial Sustainability Programme, to strengthen Pakistan’s energy sector and improve its financial sustainability.
The bank approved another $385 million in financing to help improve the livability and community health of five cities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, under The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Cities Improvement Project.