Asian Development Bank to boost farm Productivity and Food Security in tribal areas

Manila, December 16, 2014 (PPI-OT): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $42.9 million to provide reliable irrigation for farmlands and non-cultivated lands in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan.

“Irrigated farmlands in FATA will boost productivity and enable farmers to earn higher incomes by producing higher-value crops, including vegetables,” said Donneth Walton, an ADB Principal Natural Resources and Agriculture Specialist. “This will reduce poverty and boost household food security.”

FATA is located along Pakistan’s north western border with Afghanistan and is spread over 27,000 square kilometers. The project area consists of three of seven FATA agencies: Bajaur, Khyber, and Mohmand with a population of 2.6 million whose vast majority depends on agriculture, livestock, and natural resources for their livelihood.

Poor water resource management has become a major obstacle to increasing productivity and improving the living conditions of the FATA inhabitants. Due to low rainfall, many farmers in the project area rely on rain fed subsistence agriculture, which produces food staples such as wheat and maize. Some rely for irrigation mainly on groundwater taken from wells, with little utilization of surface water.

Under the project, irrigated agriculture in FATA will be expanded through better use of the region’s surface water resources. Instead of building costly water infrastructure, the project will use simple and small irrigation schemes that can be maintained by the local communities, including small gravity dams.

The project will also improve farm water management through activities such as terracing and land levelling, and watershed management through afforestation of the degraded watersheds.

The project, which is due for completion in March 2020, is funded by ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund and counterpart funds from the Government of Pakistan amounting $4.9 million. FATA secretariat will be the project’s executing agency.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2013, ADB assistance totalled $21.0 billion, including co financing of $6.6 billion.

For more information, contact:
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Level 8, North Wing, Serena Office Complex
Khayaban-e-Suhrawardy, G-5
GPO Box 1863, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-2600351-69, +92-51-2087300
Fax: +92-51-2600365-66, +92-51-2087397-98

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