The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $200 million equivalent loan to spur rural green development in Yichang Municipality, Hubei Province in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
“The Hubei Yichang Rural Green Development Project will modernize Yichang’s agriculture sector in a smart, green, and sustainable manner,” said ADB Senior Energy Specialist Alfredo Baño Leal. “ADB will introduce new technologies and best practices, including advanced big data platforms to optimize agricultural production, as well as research that will help develop more climate-resilient agricultural products.”
Yichang is part of the Yangtze River Economic Belt (YREB), one of the three key economic growth engines in the PRC. Inefficient irrigation methods, monoculture crops, and outdated infrastructure have made traditional agriculture severely vulnerable to extreme weather events, including flooding and drought. The municipality has one of the most serious soil erosion problems in the PRC, aggravated by poor land management practices and seasonal high-intensity rainfall.
The project will increase crop productivity in Yichang and optimize the food supply chain through smart green agriculture, while building capacity and creating additional skilled jobs. This includes innovative practices such as introducing climate-resilient crop varieties, adopting efficient fertigation systems, reducing food waste, supporting farm-to-market channels on digital platforms, and adding climate adaptation measures to reduce soil erosion and manage floods.
The project will also introduce distributed small-scale renewable energy in many locations to reduce consumption of grid electricity—which is dominated by coal-fired power generation—and support climate change mitigation efforts. It will install agricultural waste management and water treatment systems and facilities in Yichang. Farmers and workers involved in small-scale agricultural activities will benefit from a cleaner rural environment and improved resilience of rural infrastructures.
The project will strengthen institutional and policy frameworks to build incentives for farmers to adopt smart green agriculture in collaboration with provincial and national agencies, through ongoing ADB projects in the Yangtze River and Yellow River basins.
The total project cost is $405 million with $205 million in counterpart financing by the government. It is expected to be completed by 2029. The project can provide a model for replication in other ADB developing member countries facing similar climate impact and environmental degradation challenges. The experience, advanced research, and data platform development from this project will be shared.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.