Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Additional World Bank Funds to Afghanistan

Afghanistan: World Bank Provides Further Grant Support to Help Improve Irrigation Infrastructure

Today, the World Bank approved an additional grant to the Afghanistan Emergency Irrigation Rehabilitation Project. This additional grant will add $25 million to the initial grant of $40 million, which was approved on December 23, 2004. This money is to provide Afghan farmers with adequate water supplies through the development of traditional irrigation systems throughout the country. The long-term effect of this project is “to increase agricultural productivity and farm income, improve food security and livelihoods, and reduce vulnerability of farmers to droughts.”

The additional funding approved today will ensure that 635 water irrigation systems will be completed. These irrigation systems will help Afghanistan become better suited for a successful farming industry. Due to its rough terrain, mountains, deserts, and arid climate, Afghanistan historically has been an “unforgiving place for agriculture.” According to Nihal Fernando, Senior Rural Development Specialist and Project Team Leader, these irrigation systems will vastly improve the Afghan farming, which is essential for reducing poverty and ensuring economic growth in the country.

Since the project’s inception in 2004, new irrigations systems have been in place for nearly 54,000 ha (135,000 acres) of farmland.

Questions: Do you think the World Bank made a wise decision in approving another $25 million to this project? Besides farming, what other industries could promote economic growth and reduce poverty in Afghanistan?

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