World Bank headquaretres. — Reuters/File

World Bank approves $200m for Pakistan’s agriculture sector

by Pakistan News
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World Bank headquaretres. — Reuters/File

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on Saturday approved $200 million in financing to support Pakistan’s agriculture sector.

The amount will be utilised in transforming 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.

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.

“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,” according to a statement issued by the World Bank.

World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine said: “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.

“This project aligns with the Punjab Agriculture Policy 2018, which promotes the 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.”

The lender noted that 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.

“The agriculture sector has a huge opportunity to both build climate resilience and improve economic conditions by generating access to domestic and international markets,” said Guo Li, Task Team Leader for the project.

“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.”

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