World Bank approves financing for rural transport, irrigation

World Bank approves financing for rural transport, irrigation

The World Bank has approved $150 million in financing for two projects designed to help improve connectivity and raise agricultural productivity across rural Nepal. The Project for Strengthening the National Rural Transport Programme intends to enhance the availability and reliability of transport connectivity for communities in 33 participating districts. It will help these districts upgrade, rehabilitate and maintain rural transport infrastructure for all-weather movement and promote closer monitoring by beneficiaries as well as civil society and private sector organisations. The project will benefit more than half of the population. The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) estimates that nearly a quarter of the population in these districts is poor. The World Bank approved $100 million in financing for the project, which is the World Bank’s third operation in support of Nepal’s rural transport sector in the past 15 years. It also approved $50 million in additional financing for the Irrigation and Water Resources Management Project, under implementation since December 2007. The new resources will help rehabilitate 80 additional farmer-managed irrigation schemes (FMIS) in the 40 districts of the western, mid-western and far-western regions and maintain support for the management transfer of four agency-managed irrigation schemes (AMIS) to Water Users' Associations. It will also support agriculture extension services to help farmers benefit from better water management and the development off our river basin plans. To date, the project is on target to rehabilitate 130 schemes covering about 20,000 hectares by June 2014. It has achieved productivity increases of between 25 per cent and 75 per cent in rice, wheat, maize and potato crops. The 80 additional schemes will cover another 6,900 hectares. "By improving connectivity and raising agriculture productivity, these two projects aim to spur economic growth and reduce poverty across rural Nepal,” said the World Bank’s country director for Nepal Johannes Zutt. "They will build on lessons learnt over several decades of our partnership with Nepal in these sectors,” he added.
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