The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved $200 million for Pakistan to help transform the agriculture sector of the country.
According to a statement issued by the global lender on Saturday, the fund would help Pakistan improve the “agricultural sector by adopting climate-smart technologies to improve water-use efficiency, build resilience to extreme weather events and increase incomes of small farmers.”
Highlighting the importance of Punjab’s agricultural sector to Pakistan’s economy and food security as it accounts for 73% per cent of the country’s total food production, the bank said that “the Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation Project (PRIAT) will increase agricultural productivity through efficient and equitable access to water for small farms.”
The program will support farmers adopt climate-smart farming practices and technologies that will improve crop yields and conserve water resources in Punjab.
“This project aligns with the Punjab Agriculture Policy 2018, which promotes massive expansion of water conservation efforts, enhancing sustainability and resilience in the wake of climate change, and private sector participation to help boost the productivity of the sector,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.
PRIAT project will benefit around 190,000 small, family-owned farms and 1.4 million acres of irrigated land in Punjab.
Under the program, the small- and medium-sized farm owners will be trained “on water conservation and more sustainable, climate-resilient agricultural practices, including for women.”
About 74 per cent of women in the province rely on agriculture as a source of livelihood, the statement said.
“PRIAT will help accelerate the government’s efforts to transform the agri-food system through market-oriented production activities that add value, increase competitiveness and generate higher incomes for farmers,” said Guo Li, Task Team Leader for the project.