World Bank approves $200 mln to support agriculture sector in Punjab

It will support farmers at the community and household levels to adopt climate-smart farming practices

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ISLAMABAD: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors Saturday approved $200 million in financing to support Pakistan in transforming the agricultural sector by adopting climate-smart technologies to improve water-use efficiency, build resilience to extreme weather events and increase the incomes of small farmers.

The agricultural sector in Punjab is central to Pakistan’s economy and food security as it accounts for 73% of the country’s total food production.

The Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation Project (PRIAT) will increase agricultural productivity through efficient and equitable access to water for small farms. According to a press release issued by the World Bank, it will support farmers at the community and household levels to adopt climate-smart farming practices and technologies that improve crop yields and conserve water resources in Punjab.

“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,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “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.”

PRIAT will support farmers implement innovative, climate-smart technologies to help the Punjab government achieve economies of scale to transform the agricultural sector. The project will engage the private sector in sourcing appropriate technologies and providing training tailored for water user associations and individual households to improve water conservation practices and agriculture productivity.

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