||The project will develop or improve small-scale irrigation systems in 12 districts in Nepal through a community-driven process targeted at the poor, women, and other disadvantaged groups. Small irrigation systems are defined as systems with less than 25 hectares of irrigation area in the hills and mountains and less than 200 hectares in the Terai plains. The participating districts were selected because of their high poverty, food insecurity and irrigation potential. They are Kanchanpur, Kailali, Dang, Kapilvastu in the Terai plains; Doti, Salyan, Rukum, Rolpa, Pyuthan in the hills; and Bajhang, Jumla, Mugu in the mountains. As the first large-scale intervention in small irrigation development in Nepal, the project will demonstrate participatory irrigation planning and management and build the capacity of all levels of the government for small-scale irrigation development. Farmers will form or strengthen existing water users associations (WUAs) to apply for project support. The project will provide support to rehabilitate and build new surface water irrigation schemes and to develop groundwater irrigation through shallow tube wells. It will also facilitate access to microfinance support and provide extension services. For farmers without access to electricity who are installing shallow tube wells, the project will connect them to the electricity network. WUAs will in turn learn to manage water more efficiently and equitably, maintain their systems, and apply improved agricultural practices.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Food security in Nepal is alarmingly low, with 49% of children under 5 years old stunted, 25% severely stunted, 13% wasted, and 3% severely wasted. The majority of small and marginal farmers cannot achieve their productivity potential since they have unreliable or no access to irrigation water and improved agricultural technology. Small farmers without irrigation include the disadvantaged Dalit, Janajati and Muslim populations who live and cultivate rain-fed land in peripheral water-scarce areas on steep slopes away from fertile and water-rich valleys in the hills and on the fringes of irrigation systems in the plains. Irrigation is key to increasing the production of staple crops to meet the growing gap between agricultural production and the needs of the expanding population and to diversifying and intensifying agriculture to increase on-farm incomes, reduce rural poverty, and increase food security. Irrigation therefore has a critical role to play in Nepal s poverty reduction and food security strategies. For individuals and households, access to irrigation reduces the severity of rural poverty by increasing (i) food production, (ii) on-farm employment, and (iii) incomes.
The project addresses the three pillars of ADB's country partnership strategy, 2010-2012: (i) broad-based and inclusive economic growth, (ii) inclusive social development, and (iii) governance and capacity building. It builds on lessons learned from past assistance in the agriculture and natural resources sector and complements the interventions of other development partners. The project supports the multisector approach advocated in ADB's Operational Plan for Sustainable Food Security, as it aims to improve water productivity, access to microfinance, and the application of improved agricultural practices. The project's interventions will be underpinned by associated capacity building at district and community levels.