ISLAMABAD — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Pakistan today signed a loan agreement of $86.41 million for the extension of the Pehur High Level Canal in the Swabi and Nowshehra districts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar witnessed signing by Xiaohong Yang, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan, and Tariq Mahmood Pasha, Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) for the Government of Pakistan. Tariq Rashid, KP’s Irrigation Department Secretary, signed the project agreement.
“Bolstering water resource management is an important step to increase farm productivity across Pakistan,” said Yang. “The Pehur Canal irrigation project will help support agriculture output and raise income opportunities of the farming families in the KP province.”
The project will build on the earlier phase of the Pehur High Level Canal developed with ADB’s assistance by further increasing availability of water to farmers through new irrigation canals and pipeline over 65 km and improving water-use efficiency and farm management capacity to secure the province’s food security targets.
Agriculture remains a vital sector in the KP province, where agriculture contributes to 18% to the province’s overall gross domestic product, with over 37% of people directly employed in the sector’s activities. The project will cut poverty and increase economic well-being and job opportunities for about 75,000 people in the new irrigated area of 8,727 hectares in the two districts.
The total project cost is $96.60 million, with the government of Pakistan contributing $10.2 million. The estimated project implementation period is six years. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Irrigation Department is the executing agency responsible for overall project implementation. The Agriculture Department is the implementing agency responsible for farm management-related work of the project.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.