The Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, witnessed the signing of the loan agreement between Government of Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the financing of Pehur High Level Canal Extension Project amounting to US$ 86.405 million. The total project cost is US$ 96.6 million. Mr. Tariq Pasha, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD), signed the Loan Agreement with Ms. Xiaohong Yang, Country Director, ADB. The ceremony was also witnessed by Mr. Sikandar Sherpao, Senior Minister for Irrigation (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), and Mr. Abdul Karim Khan, Special Assistant to Chief Minister for Commerce & Industries (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). Subsequently, Secretary, Irrigation Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa signed the project agreement with Country Director, ADB.
The Finance Minister appreciated ADB's assistance for the Pehur High Level Canal Extension Project, and their continued support and partnership for development projects in Pakistan, including in the agriculture sector. He congratulated the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government, EAD, and ADB on successful negotiations and signing of the agreement. The Finance Minister said that the project will target three major agriculture domains in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said the project will enable increase of water available for agriculture, increase of water-use skill and farm management capacity, and facilitate project management support and capacity building.He emphasized that the project is expected to result in increase in farm incomes and incomes of non-farm households engaged in agriculture in arid areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Finance Minister highlighted that the agriculture sector registered 3.46% growth during FY 2016-17, as a result of the Prime Minister’s agriculture package and extraordinary measures approved in the budget for FY 2016-17. He said that the government’s support for the agriculture sector will continue during the current fiscal year.
Country Director ADB said she that was pleased to sign her first agreement since assuming her responsibilities in Pakistan. She said that enabling effective water resource management was an important step towards increasing farm productivity across Pakistan. She highlighted that the project would help increase agriculture output and raise income opportunities of the farming families in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 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. The project will create job opportunities for about 75,000 people in the new irrigated area of 8,727 hectares in the districts of Swabi and Nowshera.
The project envisages construction of Irrigation System in Janda Boka-Malikabad area and Indus Ambar area, along with construction of on-farm level irrigation canals in both areas. Interventions through this project will involve construction of the irrigation system in JandaBoka-Malikabad area and Indus Amber area, along with construction of on-farm level irrigation canals in both areas (20 water courses in JandaBoka-Malikabad and 86 water courses in Indus Amber area). Approximately 100 demonstration plots will be developed for high irrigationefficiency, profitable farming and training on farmer practices to approximately 106 water user associations and farmers.
The project is expected to be completed by June 2023.