ISLAMABAD: To promote water usage efficiency among farmers in Punjab, World Bank has approved additional funding of $130 million.
The purpose of providing this funding is to minimize widespread wasteful irrigation techniques and promote usage of drip and sprinkler systems, reported Dawn.
This $130 million funding from World Bank represents additional financing for the first phase of Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Programme (PIAPP), whose original investment stood at $250 million.
PIAPP project is a scheme of the Punjab government termed High-Efficiency Irrigation Systems that envisages to double efficiency of water usage and encourage private-sector involvement via supply of materials and manufacturing.
Due to decreasing water levels and wastage during agriculture production, this scheme is being used to persuade farmers to increase crop yields and move to high-value crops, which include fruits and vegetables.
The project is aimed at reducing money paid by farmers for procurements of pesticides and fertilizers, said WB. Country Director WB, Illango Patchamuthu said, “A vibrant farm sector can help end poverty in Pakistan. Our support to the Punjab government will spur new opportunities in climate-smart agriculture that bring more money for farmers”.
Implementation of this project has seen the installation of drip irrigation systems on about 26,000 acres of land and provision of 5,000 laser levelling units has been ensured. WB’s additional funding should certify completion of 120,000 acres with ponds in saline areas and ensure installation of filtration systems for drinking water wherever feasible.
PIAPP project will ensure the improvement of 5,550 new water courses, which leaves around 10,300 needing attention.