ADB Provides Additional Financing to Enhance Agricultural Productivity in Afghanistan

News Release | 29 October 2020

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (29 October 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an $18.28 million grant as additional financing for a project that aims to enhance agricultural productivity in northeast Afghanistan.

The additional financing for the Panj–Amu River Basin Sector Project will improve access to water and enhance the resilience of watersheds to disaster and climate risks by expanding project activities in the provinces of Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Takhar. It will also help improve water access and management in six additional provinces: Samangan, Baghlan, Bamyan, Panjshir, Parwan, and Wardak.

The additional financing will support the expansion of forestry and rangeland protection from 10,000 hectares to 27,760 hectares; installation of physical infrastructure and revegetation and reforestation; improvements in water availability to rural households for irrigation and other uses; and preparation of watershed resource management plans.

“Agriculture remains a major engine of growth for Afghanistan and plays an important role in improving the lives of the Afghan people,” said ADB Senior Project Officer Mohammad Hanif Ayubi. “This additional financing will help Afghanistan in its recovery from COVID-19 by improving water availability for irrigated agriculture and creating more employment opportunities for rural communities.”

The Panj–Amu River Basin is a major production center for wheat, rice, vegetables, and fruit. Increasing agricultural productivity in the area is expected to help address food insecurity and increase per capita incomes in rural communities.   

ADB approved the Panj–Amu River Basin Sector Project in October 2016 with the provision of a $26 million grant and the administration of a $50 million grant from the European Union. The project is helping to rehabilitate and upgrade irrigation infrastructure, including main, secondary, and tertiary canals. It promotes watershed management to protect irrigation schemes from floods and improve water distribution to downstream users, particularly during dry seasons. It also addresses key climate change adaptation needs under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The project provides capacity building support for water users, irrigation associations, and relevant government agencies to operate and maintain irrigation infrastructure. It helps to improve farmers’ knowledge and skills through hands-on training using demonstration plots and community-based natural resource management publications.

ADB has committed more than $879 million in grants (including ADB-administered cofinancing) in the agriculture, natural resources, and rural development sectors in Afghanistan since 2002. This has supported more than 16 key irrigation and agricultural infrastructure projects to increase farming productivity, improve food security, promote agribusiness, and enhance water management. About 350,000 hectares of irrigated land have been rehabilitated and upgraded, while work continues on another 300,000 hectares. The completed projects have generated around 2 million short- and long-term jobs and benefited more than 9 million people.

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.