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$200m loan to transform farming

$200m loan to transform farming

$200m loan to transform farming

$200m loan to transform farming(credits: Google)

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  • The World Bank has authorised a loan of $200 million for Punjab’s agricultural sector.
  • The sum is one-third less than originally anticipated for the project.
  • The loan will help farmers adopt climate-smart farming techniques and technology that increase crop yields and conserve water resources.
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The World Bank has authorised a loan of $200 million for Punjab’s agricultural sector, which is one-third less than the sum that was originally anticipated for enhancing cultivation methods in the state.

Due to a reorganisation of the World Bank’s own objectives, the sum was reduced from $300 million to $200 million.

The Washington-based lender said in a statement that the loan will help Pakistan restructure its agricultural industry by using climate-smart technologies to raise small farmers’ earnings, increase water usage efficiency, and create resilience to extreme weather events.

According to the report, Punjab’s agriculture industry, which produces 73 percent of all the nation’s food, is essential to Pakistan’s economy and food security.

The loan has been granted as part of the Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation Project (PRIAT), which will aid farmers in Punjab in adopting climate-smart farming techniques and technology that increase crop yields and conserve water resources.

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According to Najy Benhassine, the World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan, the country’s agriculture sector has experienced losses in crop yields and livestock, damage to irrigation infrastructure, and food shortages owing to climate change, notably severe droughts in the Punjab province.

According to him, this project is in line with the Punjab Agriculture Policy 2018, which encourages a significant expansion of water conservation efforts, improving sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change, and private sector involvement to help increase sector production.

Project Task Team Leader Guo Li stated that the agri-food system would be transformed more quickly by the government with the aid of market-oriented production activities that add value, boost competitiveness, and enhance farmer incomes.

According to the World Bank, the project will help 1.4 million acres of irrigated land in rural communities in the Punjab province, as well as roughly 190,000 small, family-owned farms.

Additionally, it will train small- and medium-sized farm owners, especially women, in water conservation and more environmentally friendly, climate-resilient agricultural methods.

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In the province, 74% of the women depend on agriculture for their income.

The project was originally budgeted for $400 million, including $300 million in World Bank financing. Over 420,000 farm families and more than 2.5 million acres of irrigated land were expected to benefit from the $400 million funding.

Foreign loan disbursements have been severely reduced over the past few months, partly as a result of the protracted negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the sluggish implementation of numerous initiatives.

In terms of overseeing and assuring prompt payment of foreign project funds, the Ministry of Economic Affairs has not been successful. The ministry needs administrative adjustments made immediately.

According to sources, the government is postponing making a choice for the replacement of the economic affairs secretary, who will retire next month.

The current ministry management is more concerned with logistical issues than acting as an effective conduit between Pakistan and foreign lenders.

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A significant portion of the $200 million loan from the World Bank will go toward community-driven improvements in water conveyance and application with the goal of strengthening agricultural water productivity and increasing water access equity within the watercourse command region.

The plan also calls for a market-driven, climate-smart approach to output diversification and the building of market ties.

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