One-third of Aleksandar Tisma's land used to be too wet to farm. "Of the 178 hectares that I own, 50 hectares were practically impossible to cultivate. No machinery could work on flooded soil," says Tisma, a farmer from small town in Vojvodina. But since the water that once flooded his wheat and maize farm is now drained away through a repaired drainage canal, things have changed. "Now, after the repair of the canal, I can cultivate that part of my land as well!," he says.
Tisma is one of many farmers who have reclaimed land and increased yields near rivers or canals thanks to repaired drainage canals and improved flood protection. Around Serbia, more than 160,000 hectares have been protected from flooding, and over 300,000 people have directly benefitted from the Irrigation and Drainage Rehabilitation Project, supported by a $75 million World Bank loan.