ADB supports irrigation project in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

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The project will further increase availability of water to farmers through new irrigation canals

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Pakistan have signed a loan agreement of US$86.41 million for the extension of the Pehur High Level Canal in the Swabi and Nowshehra districts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.

Xiaohong Yang, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan, and Tariq Mahmood Pasha, Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) for the Government of Pakistan, signed the loan agreement, and Tariq Rashid, KP’s Irrigation Department Secretary, signed the project agreement.

“Bolstering water resource management is an important step to increase farm productivity across Pakistan,” said Yang. “The Pehur Canal irrigation project will help support agriculture output and raise income opportunities of the farming families in the KP province.”

The project will build on the earlier phase of the Pehur High Level Canal developed with ADB’s assistance by further increasing availability of water to farmers through new irrigation canals and pipeline over 65 kilometres and improving water-use efficiency and farm management capacity to secure the province’s food security targets.

Agriculture remains a vital sector in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where agriculture contributes to 18 percent of the province’s overall gross domestic product, with over 37 percent of people directly employed in the sector’s activities. The project will cut poverty and increase economic well-being and job opportunities for about 75,000 people in the new irrigated area of 21,565 acres in the two districts.

The total project cost is US$96.60 million, with the Government of Pakistan contributing US$10.2 million. The estimated project implementation period is six years. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Irrigation Department is the executing agency responsible for overall project implementation. The Agriculture Department is the implementing agency responsible for farm management-related work of the project.