WB okays $120m for improving agri productivity

Staff Correspondent

11 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The World Bank has approved $120 million loans to help Bangladesh improve food security by enhancing climate resilience and productivity of irrigated agriculture and fisheries.

The Climate-Smart Agriculture and Water Management Project will rehabilitate and modernize public Flood Control, Drainage, and Irrigation (FCDI) infrastructures.

This will help improve irrigation and drainage service over 115,000 hectares where flood damage to crops will be reduced by 60 percent.

The project will help increase the incomes of 170,000 poor people who are vulnerable to climate change. Half of the beneficiaries will be women.

“In Bangladesh, more than 70 percent of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood but their exposure to climate change and natural disasters makes them vulnerable,” a WB release quoted Country Director Mercy Tembon as saying on Wednesday.

 “Climate-resilient water management provided in this project combined with increased agricultural productivity will ensure income growth, protect livelihoods and build resilience of the local communities to climate change,” she added.

The project has identified 19 FCI schemes in poor and climate change vulnerable areas for rehabilitation. It will also provide training to farmers on climate-smart technologies, experimentation with new crops, and post-harvest management.

The project will also support the promotion of coastal aquaculture, including the integration of rice and fish or shrimp farming; setting up of cold storage facilities; and, improvements of local markets. This will improve the productivity of fisheries by almost 40 percent and rice by 7.5 percent.

“Flood control and drainage systems play a critical role to ensure  agricultural productivity and growth,” said Abel Lufafa, WB’s Senior Agriculture Specialist and task team leader for the project.

“Repairing and upgrading of the selected schemes will improve their capacity to regulate the excess water during the monsoon and water deficits in the post-monsoon period,” he added. 

The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), and has a 35-year term, including a five-year grace period.

Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA program totaling over $13.5 billion. The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh and has committed more than $33.5billion in grants and concessional credits to the country since its Independence.