September 13, 2022

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

Headquarters of the World Bank. — Reuters/File
  • The proceeds will be used to transform the agricultural sector by adopting climate-smart technologies.
  • PRIAT will increase agricultural productivity through efficient and equitable access to water for small farms.
  • The project will engage the private sector in the supply of appropriate technologies, by providing training.

The World Bank’s board on Saturday approved $200 million in financing to support Pakistan’s agricultural sector.

The proceeds will be used to transform the agriculture sector by adopting climate-smart technologies to improve water use efficiency, build resilience to extreme weather events, and increase the incomes of smallholder farmers.

Punjab’s agricultural sector 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 (PRIAT) project will increase agricultural productivity through efficient and equitable access to water for smallholders.

“It will help farmers at the community and household level to adopt climate-smart agricultural practices and technologies that improve crop yields and conserve water resources in Punjab,” according to a statement released by the World Bank.

The World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan, Najy Benhassine, said: “In recent years, Pakistan’s agricultural sector has suffered from loss of crop yields and livestock, damage to irrigation infrastructure and food shortages due to climate change, especially severe droughts in Punjab province.

“This project aligns with the Punjab Agriculture Policy 2018, which promotes massive expansion of water conservation efforts, improved sustainability and resilience to climate change, and private sector participation to help boost productivity in the sector”.

The lender noted that PRIAT will help farmers implement innovative and climate-smart technologies to help the Punjab government achieve economies of scale to transform the agriculture sector.

The project will engage the private sector to find appropriate technologies and provide tailored training to water user associations and individual households to improve water conservation practices and agricultural 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, project team leader.

“PRIAT will help accelerate government efforts to transform the agrifood system through market-driven production activities that add value, increase competitiveness and generate higher incomes for farmers.