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World Bank Promised $46 mln to Improve Irrigation in Khatlon District of Tajikistan

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WASHINGTON (World Bank press service) – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a US $45.9 mln grant for the Second Tajikistan Public Employment for Sustainable Agriculture and Water Resources Management Project. Over 770,000 people residing in twelve districts of the southern Khatlon (ختلان) region of Tajikistan will benefit from temporary public employment opportunities and rehabilitation of important irrigation and drainage infrastructure.

The irrigation systems of Tajikistan cover 737,700 ha of land, of which 300,000 ha are zones of machine irrigation. They are subdivided into 4 categories according to the technical equipment: modern irrigational systems (282,000 ha), irrigation systems with main channels without anti-filtration cover and the lack of hydrotechnical facilities (202,000 ha), irrigation systems with rehabilitated networks and large main channels (200,000 ha), irrigation systems which are not adequately equipped (53,700 ha). Pumping stations serve 40% of the irrigated areas, 64% of which are in the Sughd Province.
An estimated 20% of irrigated lands in Tajikistan suffer from water shortages caused by poor regulation of river flows. In the area of the Istravshan (30,000 ha), only 55% of water demands are met. In Kyzyl-Su–Yah-Su basin in Kulob area (60,000 ha) receives only 65% of required water. The same situation prevails for 12,000 ha of land in Hisor.
Agricultural irrigation techniques have remained unchanged over the past few years and are principally performed through furrows. Before 1990, only 3,500 ha of land received water through flexible pipes that delivered it to furrows and rain water irrigation was used for 296 ha. Introduction of new technologies (rain-drop, underground, and drip irrigation) will multiply water saving rates by 2 to 3 times.

The new project is being financed through a US $18 mln grant from the International Development Association (IDA) and a $27.9 mln grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Multi-Donor Trust Fund Program. This financing will allow scaling up of a successfully completed first project, which benefitted over 43,000 households through income transfers and improved access to irrigation.

“I am glad to see this project expanding and covering new districts of Tajikistan as food security is essential for the well-being of children and adults everywhere,” said Marsha Olive, World Bank Country Manager for Tajikistan. “By providing temporary employment opportunities we intend to help rural households not only earn additional income, but improve access to irrigation so they could get higher crop yields from their land in many years to come.”

The project aims to directly benefit an estimated 22,000 people through the provision of temporary work. The rehabilitation of irrigation and drainage infrastructure will improve access to irrigation for about 190,000 hectares of land to the benefit of 750,000 rural residents. A 10% increase in crop yields is expected as a result of the project. The project will also support ongoing institutional and policy reform in water resource management. Around 20 new Water User Associations (WUA) will be established and capacity building will be provided to these and existing 33 WUAs in project areas.

The original project, financed through the European Union Food Crises Rapid Response Facility, in the amount of $10.01 mln was launched in 2010. The project helped employ 10,590 people in five vulnerable districts of Khatlon region, namely Farkhor (فرخار), Qumsangir (قمسنگیر), Qabodyon (قبادیان), Shartuz (شرتوز) and Vakhsh (وخش). Each person generated a net income of $230, while improving access to 44,276 hectares of irrigated arable land. These resulted in at least 5% increase of agricultural production of rice, vegetables, potatoes, and wheat in targeted districts.

The active portfolio of the World Bank in Tajikistan currently consists of 16 projects with a net commitment of around $275 mln. The largest share of the portfolio is in agriculture and rural development (27%), followed by energy (24%), water and sanitation (18%), human development – education, health and social protection (24%), the private sector (4%) and the public sector (2%).

EBRD (in Khujand) and WB (Dushanbe, Dangara, Istaravshan, Kanibadam, Kulab, Kurgan-tube, Rasht, Vahdat and Vose) are continuing keeping their focus on urban water supply projects. WB and USAID are supporting irrigation projects. UNDP is currently implementing nine major projects related to drinking and irrigation water funded by EC, ECHO, TACIS, CIDA, WB… around Tajikistan in 75 targeted districts, 300,000 beneficiaries (128,826 are women). Total budget of the projects is $2.5 mln. In general, contribution of 20% comes from local communities and 10% of local authorities.

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