ADB Finance To Enhance Agricultural Productivity in Afghanistan

3 Nov 2020 by Staff - Water Diplomat
KABUL, Afghanistan

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has confirmed an additional $18.3 Million USD in funding for the Panj-Amu River Basin Sector Project that is aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity in northeast Afghanistan.

These new funds supplement a $26 Million USD 2016 grant and will be used to bolster disaster and climate risk resilience in watersheds in an additional three provinces; improvements in water management and expansion of networks is also planned in six different provinces.

Wheat, rice, vegetables and fruit are grown in the Panj-amu River Basin and increasing the general productivity of the region will address food insecurity and will boost per capita income in rural communities.

The increased financing is directed to expand forestry and rangeland protection programmes, revegetation and reforestation programmes, and to improve water availability to households for irrigation purposes. Funds will also be directed to prepare watershed resource management plans.

“Agriculture remains a major engine of growth for Afghanistan and plays an important role in improving the lives of the Afghan people,” remarked ADB Senior Project Officer Mohammad Hanif Ayubi. “This additional financing will help Afghanistan in its recovery from COVID-19 by improving water availability for irrigated agriculture and creating more employment opportunities for rural communities.”

The original 2016 grants from ADB and the European Union supported rehabilitation and upgrade of irrigation infrastructure, including main, secondary, and tertiary canals. The larger programme promoted watershed management in order to protect irrigation schemes from floods and improve water distribution to downstream users. These funds were intended to address key climate change adaptation needs under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Overall, the project offers capacity building for water users, irrigation associations, and government agencies for the operation and maintenance of the irrigation infrastructure. Through hands-on training, it has improved farmers’ skills in natural resource management.

ADB has committedf almost $900 Million USD in grants for agriculture, natural resources, and rural development in Afghanistan since 2002. The funds have been directed to key irrigation and agriculture infrastructure project with a view to increase farm productivity, improve food security, promote agribusiness, and enhance water management. The completed projects have supported as many as two million short - and long-term jobs and benefited more than nine million people.