Washington, D.C., 18 July 2022 (TDI): The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $200 million in financing to assist the agriculture sector of Punjab, Pakistan.

The decision was made to help Pakistan transform its agricultural industry by implementing climate-smart technologies.

In the long-term, this decision will help increase small farmers’ incomes, water usage efficiency, and resilience to extreme weather conditions.

The agricultural sector in Punjab accounts for 73% of the country’s overall food production. Therefore, it makes Punjab a vital asset to the nation’s economy and food security.

Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation (PRIAT), through efficient and equitable access to water for small farms, will enhance agricultural productivity.

According to the press release by the World Bank, PRIAT will assist farmers in the community. They will also encourage families in Punjab to adopt climate-smart farming techniques. These technologies will increase crop yields and conserve water resources.

The project will work with the private sector in sourcing suitable technology. It will offer training designed for water user associations and individual families.

In addition, these pre-requisites would lead to improved water conservation and agriculture productivity in the region.

Statements from World Bank Officials

According to Nagy Benhassine, the World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan, lately, Pakistan’s agriculture industry has suffered from losses in crop yields and livestock.

Furthermore, there have been damages to irrigation infrastructure and food shortages due to climate change, particularly in Punjab province.

He added that this initiative is in line with Punjab Agriculture Policy 2018. Also, it encourages a significant increase in water conservation measures, improving sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change.

Guo Li, the project’s task team leader, stated that the agriculture sector of Punjab is significantly capable of developing climate resilience and improving economic conditions by establishing access to domestic and worldwide markets.

Furthermore, through market-oriented production operations that boost competitiveness and raise farmer incomes, PRIAT will aid in accelerating the government’s effort to overhaul the agri-food system.

Benefits of the project

The initiative will benefit about 190,000 small family-run farms and 1.4 million acres of irrigated land in the province’s rural communities.

Additionally, it will train farm owners, especially women, in water conservation and more environment-friendly and climate-resilient agricultural methods. As the statistics for Punjab show that 74% of women depend on agriculture for their income.