World Bank and Himachal Pradesh signed USD 80-million loan to boost agriculture
The Government of India, World Bank and the Government of Himachal Pradesh have signed a USD 80 million loan agreement to improve water management and agricultural productivity in some selected Gram Panchayats (Village Councils) in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh is rich in natural resources.
The integrated project for source stability in Himachal Pradesh will be implemented in 428 Gram Panchayats in 10 districts. It will benefit more than 4,00,000 small farmers, women, and rural communities.
Why this agreement?
The low-lying areas of Himachal Pradesh do not have irrigation water facilities. These areas are dependent on the decreasing amount of rainfall during the crucial monsoon season. It is believed that agricultural production has already shifted to higher altitudes. It has affected the fruit production, including the iconic apple farming of Himachal Pradesh.
Climate change is another reason for poor agriculture in the region. Natural rainfall has been reduced in lowland areas while both temperature and rainfall are expected to increase in high altitude regions. This project will improve water sources in forests, rural and grasslands areas. It will also ensure adequate water supply for sustainable agriculture in Himachal Pradesh and downstream areas.
The project will establish hydrological monitoring stations to monitor water quality and quantity. This will not only help to better water management but also increase crop production in Himachal Pradesh. This project will focus on water productivity that will help farmers to maximize their financial benefits from water use.
Himachal Pradesh is sensitive to climate change and associated risks as a hilly state. Sustainable water management processes, under this project, can play a pivotal role to double farmers’ income. This goal has been set by the Government of India. Therefore, all available technologies and resources must put to good use to increase water management.