A $200 million loan for Pakistan’s agriculture sector was authorized by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on Saturday.
According to a statement from the World Bank, the funding will be used to support the transformation of the nation’s agricultural sector through the adoption of climate-smart technologies to increase small farmers’ incomes, increase water use efficiency, and build resilience to extreme weather events.
Since Punjab accounts for 73 percent of the nation’s total food production, the agricultural sector there is crucial to Pakistan’s economy and food security, according to the international lender.
The Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation Project (PRIAT), according to the World Bank, would boost agricultural productivity by providing small farmers with fair and effective access to water. According to the World Bank, the program would assist farmers in Punjab to adopt climate-smart farming techniques and technologies, which will increase crop yields and preserve water resources.
According to Najy Benhassine, the World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan, “in recent years Pakistan’s agriculture sector has suffered from losses in crop yields and livestock, damage to irrigation infrastructure, and food shortages due to climate change, particularly severe droughts in the Punjab province.”
This initiative is in line with the Punjab Agriculture Policy 2018, which encourages a significant increase in water conservation measures, improving sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change, and enlisting the aid of the private sector to increase the productivity of the sector.
In order to help the Punjab government attain economies of scale and modernize the agriculture industry, PRIAT will assist farmers in implementing cutting-edge, climate-smart technologies. To enhance water-saving practices and agricultural output, the project will work with the private sector to find suitable technology and offer training designed for water user associations and individual families.
According to Guo Li, the project’s task team leader, “the agriculture sector has a huge opportunity to both build climate resilience and improve economic conditions by generating access to domestic and international markets.” Through market-oriented production operations that add value, boost competitiveness, and raise farmer incomes, PRIAT will aid in accelerating the government’s efforts to overhaul the agri-food system.
According to the World Bank, the project will help 1.4 million acres of irrigated land in rural areas around the province and about 190,000 small, family-owned farms. Small- and medium-sized farm owners will also receive training on water conservation and more environmentally friendly, climate-resilient agricultural methods, including for women, according to the statement.