MANILA, PHILIPPINES - A US$42 million loan will help improve the lives of the people in Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas (FATA) by promoting the sustainable and productive use of the areas' natural resources.
The project will be undertaken in three of the northern districts of Baijaur, Khyber, and Mohmand, where dry and rocky land is mostly not suitable for farming yet the poorest families must earn their living as sharecroppers or through agricultural labor.
"The poor and inefficient management of available natural resources contributes to the pervasive poverty in the tribal areas," says S. Ranawana, an ADB Environment Specialist.
"Poor farm and livestock productivity in the area holds back the potential for better livelihoods, while poor access to infrastructure such as irrigation, roads, and water supply, restricts their ability to explore other opportunities."
To address these issues, the project will promote integrated resource management to improve productivity and arrest the degradation of the environment in the tribal areas. It will help improve farming and livestock rearing practices by selecting appropriate technologies and training farmers, and will promote effective forestry and range management. In addition, it will conduct work to improve the availability of irrigation and drinking water supplies, as well as roads to improve accessibility between adjacent valleys and villages.
The project is projected to increase the productivity of about 52,500 hectares of rain-fed lands and benefit about 37,500 households.
ADB's loan, from its concessional Asian Development Fund, carries a 32-year term, a grace period of 8 years, and an interest rate of 1% per annum during the grace period and 1.5% thereafter.
The Government will contribute $15.4 million towards the project's total estimated cost of $60.4 million, while the beneficiaries will shoulder the balance of $3 million.
The Ministry of States and Frontier Regions is the executing agency for the project, which is due for completion in June 2011.