ADB Grant for Irrigation Development in
December 12, 2003 [ 12:29 ]DUSHANBE (InterNews).
A technical assistance (TA) grant of US $600,000 is
being prepared by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to
develop and repair irrigation facilities in order to
help poor farmers in Tajikistan, according to an
By InterNews, InterNews
"The TA amount is just to
prepare the project for ADB's pipeline for next year,"
Emile Gozali, a project economist in the Agriculture,
Environment and Natural Resources Division at ADB
headquarters, told IRIN from the Philippines capital,
Manila on Tuesday.
A loan of about $20
million would cover between 60,000 and 80,000 ha, or
about 10 percent of the country's irrigation command
area, he said, adding that twofold project goals
envisaged the prevention of operational failures of key
irrigation facilities, as well as capacity-building for
local government and farmers to run the water systems on
a sustainable basis. "The latter will provide a model
for investment in and maintenance of other less
dilapidated irrigation systems," he said.
Five years of civil war in the 1990s had
destroyed or led to the neglect of irrigation systems,
resulting in critical damage such as washed-out
diversion headworks, collapsed main canals, severe
siltation and breakdown of pumps, an earlier ADB press
With poverty levels
estimated at 83 percent, efforts to address poverty
should focus on rural areas, where livelihoods rely
heavily on agriculture, it added. Tajikistan had
decontrolled agricultural prices, abolished mandatory
crop sales to the government and transferred state and
collective farms to private management, the statement
said, but added that serious impediments remained for
the rural economy.
in agricultural production and pricing regimes has been
a move in the right direction," Gozali said, pointing
out, however, that Tajikistan's economy continued to
suffer from inherent problems dating back to the time
when it was a part of the former Soviet Union.
"These relate to the lack of capacity of
the local economy to generate adequate outputs to
sustain the population's standard of living. Further, as
a relatively new country, Tajikistan needs to develop
capacity for long-term strategic planning and governance
of the market economic system newly introduced to the
country," Gozali observed.
It was the
lack of regulatory control and competition within the
private sector that had resulted in the growth of farm
indebtedness, he said, stressing that in order to
address these issues the project would provide
capacity-building and investment funds to promote
private-sector competition in agricultural input supply
"The project will
also assist the government to refine its strategic
planning in water-resources management," Gozali said,
pointing out that the eventual project would involve
building capacity for the operation, maintenance and
repair of irrigation and rural infrastructure, as well
as management of water resources and enhanced farm
management and technologies.
project-feasibility study to be funded by the TA would
be completed by June 2004, he added, saying that the
study would identify and select the areas to come under
the project and work out the costs etc.
Lack of government funds had also left
rural settlements without adequate domestic water-supply
systems, the ADB statement said, as a result of which
only one-fifth of the population had access to safe
drinking water. That had led to a high incidence of
typhoid and hepatitis in rural areas, it added. "Serious
waterborne-disease outbreaks have occurred in every
region of the country since 1991," Gozali said, a
phenomenon which had substantially reduced the earning
capacities of rural families, and thereby contributed to
high poverty levels.
"It is estimated
that only 20 percent of the rural population in
Tajikistan has access to safe drinking water. If poverty
is going to be tackled in a meaningful way, then
providing safe water for a larger proportion of the
population is going to have to be a priority," Gozali
"Since rural domestic
water-supply and irrigation systems usually share water
sources and distribution infrastructure, improvements in
the two subsectors should be jointly carried out in a
cost-effective manner," he said. Such an approach
amplified the benefits of rural water-sector investments
and promoted an integrated management of water
resources, he added.
The ADB was already
studying, through an ongoing technical assistance
project, various options for Tajikistan towards easing
its farm-debt burden, the press statement said.
"Resolution of farm indebtedness was discussed in an
ADB-funded conference in 2002," Gozali said, adding that
options discussed had included debt rescheduling and
temporary management control of farms by the creditors.
"These options are complex and are
currently being studied and discussed with relevant
stakeholders as part of our ongoing technical assistance
on the farm-debt resolution," Gozali added. The press
statement said the total cost of the water-resources
project TA was estimated at $708,000, of which the
government would provide the equivalent of