PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $60 million loan to increase agricultural production by rehabilitating, modernizing and climate-proofing irrigation systems in Kampong Thom and Battambang provinces.
“Low agricultural productivity is a serious problem for Cambodian farmers, who depend on poorly maintained irrigation systems to grow rice,” said Raza Mahmood Farrukh, Water Resources Specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Regional Department. “This funding will support the government’s efforts to ensure the sustainable operation and maintenance of irrigation systems. It will also help expand irrigated land, manage water resources more efficiently, and make farmers less vulnerable to natural hazards such as floods as a consequence of climate change.”
The project will boost the efficiency and climate resilience of irrigation systems in Kampong Thom and Battambang. By 2021, the total cultivated area for both the dry and wet seasons will have more than doubled to 29,500 hectares (ha) from 13,500 ha in 2015, and three irrigation systems will have achieved a 100% increase in their efficiency.
By improving irrigation systems and providing a reliable water supply in Kampong Thom and Battambang, the loan will help substantially increase farm productivity and boost incomes for local farmers, who will be able to plant a second crop of rice, vegetables and fruits during the dry season.
The project will train government staff and farmer water user communities to efficiently manage the irrigation systems and water resources, with a minimum 30% of the community members and managers to be women. The farmer water user communities will take over responsibility for operation and maintenance of the secondary canals.
The project will also complement other ADB-supported initiatives in the area like the ongoing Climate-Resilient Rice Commercialization Sector Development Program, under which farmers are being provided access to certified high-quality seeds.
The loan comes from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund, with the Government of Cambodia providing counterpart support of over $6.1 million. The project will run for 5 years, with an expected completion date of March 2021.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.