WASHINGTON, October 23, 2018 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a $172.20 million project to enhance agricultural productivity, profitability, and climate resilience of poor and marginalized farmers while ensuring that farming continues to remain a financially viable activity.
The project will benefit over 200,000 families of poor and marginalized farmers, agro-entrepreneurs, women and other vulnerable groups. It will work with 1000 Small-Scale Community-Based Irrigation (SSCBI) systems spread over an area of 90,000 hectares (ha), covering over 1000 villages across 12 most climate vulnerable districts of Andhra Pradesh.
The Andhra Pradesh Integrated Irrigation and Agriculture Transformation Project will be implemented in rural areas largely dependent upon rainfed agriculture. It will strengthen the resilience of poor and marginalized farmers against adverse climate events by improving access to irrigation, drought seed varieties and post-harvest technology that are aimed at improving soil health, water-use efficiency and crop productivity.
In recent years, climate variability has seriously affected agriculture in Andhra Pradesh, where farming is largely dominated by farmers with landholdings of less than two hectares. Farmers have low crop productivity and over 55 percent of farms are dependent on rainfall. Deterioration in the quality of natural resources has affected the state’s agricultural performance.
“Strategic shifts are needed for India to transform its agriculture into a modern and resilient system, where rural poor, largely dependent on rain-fed agriculture, is able to use more climate-resilient farming technologies and conserve water, a scarce resource,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. “The project will support the state’s strategic shift that puts climate resilience at the core of agricultural growth and rural development in Andhra Pradesh,” he added.
The project will take up a series of activities at the farm level to make agriculture both climate-resilient and profitable. By adopting climate-resilient seed varieties which have short maturity, are drought and heat resistant, and salt tolerant, the project will help reduce risks of climate-related crop failure and help enhance farmer’s income.
In order to buffer against the vagaries of untimely rainfall and drought, the project will help modernize SSCBI systems to make them more resilient to climate change, build the capacity of the Water Users Associations (WUAs) to take the responsibility of delivering irrigated water through an integrated planning process and ensure efficient use of water for both surface and groundwater. It will also include an integrated weather forecasting system to provide weather-based crop advisories that can be scaled down to individual smallholder irrigation cluster areas.
“Conventional irrigation cannot be extended to the entire arable area in Andhra Pradesh due to concerns related to water scarcity, environmental impact and high investment costs. Rehabilitating existing tanks and making SSCBI more efficient offer the most cost-effective options for making agriculture more productive and climate-resilient for small and marginal farmers in rain fed areas,” said Ranjan Samantray, Senior Agriculture Specialist and Kazuhiro Yoshida, Senior Irrigation and Drainage Specialist and World Bank’s Task Team Leaders for the project.
To strengthen emerging value chains for climate-resilient agricultural commodities, the project will improve the capacity of Farmer Producers Organizations to operate as sustainable, market-oriented, agri-enterprises. It will help mainstream the climate resilient agriculture agenda in various local institutions that deliver agricultural services to the farming community.
India’s per capita emission of Green House Gases (GHG) is also on the rise, though current per capita levels of 2.44 tCO2 equivalent in 2012, is still among the lowest in the world. In absolute terms, the agriculture sector is the second largest contributor with around 18 percent of the country’s total GHG emissions. Enhanced soil-water conservation and climate-resilient farm management has the potential to help India reduce its GHG emissions significantly.
The $172.20 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 6-year grace period, and a maturity of 24 years.