The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has issued a $35 Million USD grant for water management and agriculture projects in the Indus River Basin in Pakistan.
Home to nearly 90 million people, the Basin produces approximately 90 percent of the country’s agriculture outputs and employs about 25 percent of the labor force. About 90 percent of the available fresh water supply in Pakistan is dedicated to agriculture. The funding will be supplemented through $12.7 Million USD in allocations from the provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh and the project will be managed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
In recent years, the region has experienced extended droughts and floods that are predicted to become more frequent and severe as a result of climate change. With rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns, predictability and availability of water is difficult. This stress affects the farmers in the Basin as well as overall food security throughout the country.
Proceeds of the grant are intended to support the development of better information, water management and farming practices with a view to creating better resilience to the vagaries of the climate.
"The core of this project involves coordinated actions to pool data, information and knowledge, through the use of technology and institutionalizing routine processes to disseminate this knowledge to agriculture and water management authorities, extension workers and ultimately to farmers," said Taka Hagiwara, Service Chief for Asia and the Pacific of the FAO Investment Centre and the Project's Technical Team Leader. "The knowledge, together with improved access to credit, will enable farmers' adoption of proven good practices such as Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) and On Farm Water Management (OFWM)," he added.
The project will also gather information to understand the changing market dynamics involved in achieving climate-resilient agriculture in the Basin.
The project is also anticipating to attract additional financing from the World Bank and other local partners who have already indicated an interest in supporting the project in other regions.
The approval of this project - the first FAO-led GCF project in Asia - is an important step forward in FAO's broader support to countries to respond to climate change in partnership with the GCF.