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Pakistan, ADB sign $375 mn deals to improve irrigation

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Pakistan have signed two loans amounting to $375 million to improve irrigation services and promote public-private partnerships (PPP) in Punjab.

“The investments will build a new kharif season irrigation system and further develop PPPs in the province,” said Xiaohong Yang, ADB Country Director for Pakistan.

“The irrigation project will become part of the Indus Basin Irrigation System and increase agriculture production that will directly benefit farming families in the target area. The PPP project will also strengthen capacity of the provincial government to improve key infrastructure and service delivery in the province.”

The loan agreements were signed by Xiaohong Yang and Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani, Secretary of the Economic Affairs Division at a ceremony.

The $275 million Jalalpur Irrigation Project will develop a surface irrigation system in Jhelum and Khushab districts of Punjab by drawing water from Jhelum River at Rasul Barrage. The project will convert over 68,000 hectares of less productive and predominantly rain-fed area into irrigated farmland benefiting 384,000 people.

The irrigation system will include intake structure at Rasul Barrage, main canal (117-kilometers), distributaries, minor canals, cross-drainage structures, flood carrier channels, and associated structures.

The project will improve water-use capacity of 485 water user associations at each watercourse, who will participate in planning, designing, construction, operations, and maintenance of watercourses.

It will help train water user association members to better manage their agriculture and water. It will introduce modern technologies and best practices like laser land levelling and high-efficiency irrigation systems. The project will also strengthen capacity of 6,000 farming families in irrigated agriculture practices, water use skills, profitable farming system, and accessing private agriculture support services.




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