Dhaka, Tuesday, 04 October 2022

WB approves $120m for agricultural development

WB approves $120m for agricultural development

Apparel Correspondent: The World Bank (WB) has approved $120 million to help Bangladesh improve food security by enhancing climate resilience and productivity of irrigated agriculture and fisheries

Dhaka office of the World Bank gave the information in a press release recently.

The Climate-Smart Agriculture and Water Management Project will rehabilitate and modernise public Flood Control, Drainage, and Irrigation infrastructures, the release said.

The project will help to improve irrigation and drainage system in 1,15,000 hectares of land and also reduce crop damage by 60 per cent in floods. The project will provide an opportunity to increase the income of 1,70,000 people affected by climate change, half of whom will be women.

Claiming that climate change and natural disasters have endangered the lives of the people of Bangladesh, Mercy Tembon, World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan said, “This project will ensure income growth, livelihoods and sustainability of the local population towards climate change in line with agricultural productivity involved in climate-dependent water management.”

To rehabilitate the project, 19 areas have been identified as poor and at risk of climate change. Farmers will also be given training on climate-smart technology, experimentation with new crops and post-harvest management. The project will be developed in coastal areas including paddy and fish/shrimp farming. Cold storage facilities will also be set up and local markets will be improved. As a result, fish production will increase by about 40 per cent and rice production by 5.5 per cent.

Regarding the project, Abel Lufafa, World Bank senior agriculture specialist and task team leader for the project, said, “Flood control and drainage systems play an important role in ensuring the development and expansion of the agricultural sector. The implementation of selected projects will improve their skills in controlling excess water during the monsoon season and water deficit during the post-flood period.”

The loan will be available from the International Development Association (IDA), a subsidiary of the World Bank. The loan has to be repaid in 35 years with a grace period of 5 years. The international lender also released a report on inter-communications in Southeast Asia recently.

The report highlights important issues related to the interaction between Bangladesh, India and South Asia. According to the report, border trade between India and Bangladesh could increase from 172 per cent to 297 per cent. The World Bank says Bangladesh's national income could grow by 17 per cent and India's by 8 per cent if the two countries can move freely.

The report titled ‘Connecting to Thrive: Challenges and Opportunities of Transport Integration in Eastern South Asia’ reviews the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA), compares it with international practice and reviews the pros and cons of uniform regional connectivity. It said bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India now accounts for 10 per cent of Bangladesh's total trade and one per cent of India's total foreign trade. In the economies of East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, cross-border trade is 50 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively. When an Indian company goes to do business with a company in Brazil or Germany or 15 to 20 per cent less expensive than a company in Bangladesh. The tariffs between Bangladesh and India are double the world average.