Tashkent, February 9, 2010 – The World Bank and the Government of Uzbekistan today signed a US $65.54 million IDA credit to the Fergana Valley Water Resource Management Phase-I Project. The Project will improve agricultural production in areas affected by water-logging, and reduce damage to housing and infrastructure from rising ground water levels and salinity.
Fergana Valley is the most highly populated area in the Central Asia with great potential for economic development. The project constitutes the first phase of a long-term program in water management in the Valley. Therefore, it addresses the most pressing problems of severe water logging in the three districts of Rishtan, Baghdad and Altyarik affecting agriculture, damaging private and public infrastructure. The project is to address lowering of the ground water table and therefore soil salinity in the project area. The project beneficiaries are farmers of which 96% of them are small subsistent farmers with with an average land holdings of 0.2 ha. and large farms. In addition the other beneficiaries are the city dwellers in the districts flooded with high ground water table. .
Motoo Konishi, the World Bank’s Country Director for Central Asia, says: “The rise of the ground water table close to the surface of the soil in some parts of the Ferghana valley has created significant economic damage and human suffering. This is evidenced by the fact that many fields and dehkan plots are waterlogged, preventing the growing of crops for sale to market or for family consumption, or that buildings, including such socially important ones as schools and medical centers, are flooded and their structural integrity damaged. Given its important social and environmental focus, this drainage project is not just about rehabilitation of physical infrastructure but very much about improving the livelihood and living conditions of the people in those parts of the Fergana Valley”.
There are three main components to the project:
- improvement of irrigation and drainage network. This component aims at addressing the problem of high groundwater levels by financing for improvements in surface irrigation and drainage network as well as for installation of subsurface horizontal and vertical drainage wells.
- institutional strengthening and agricultural development support. This component will finance institutional strengthening support to public institutions and private farmers (water users) organizations involved in water management and utilization.
- project management, monitoring and evaluation of project impact. The component will support strengthening the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (MAWR's) and project implementation unit (PIU's) capacity for project management, monitoring and evaluation through the provision of goods, consultant services, including project audit, and training, and financing of operating costs.
Total project cost is estimated at USD 81.85 million. Out of the total cost, IDA would finance US$65.54 million on the following terms: maturity = 35 years; grace period = 10 years. The remaining USD 15.5 million would be financed by the Government of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan joined the World Bank in 1992. The World Bank’s mission in the country is to improve people’s livelihoods through being a partner in economic reforms, supporting the modernization of the country’s social sectors and infrastructure, and sharing its knowledge and experience with the government and the people of Uzbekistan.
Total World Bank commitments to Uzbekistan amount to more than US$ 800 million.