The proposed Uplands Irrigation and Water Resources Management Sector Project (the Project) will enhance agricultural and rural economic productivity through increased efficiency of irrigation systems and improved management of water resources in uplands, areas away from the Tonle Sap lake, in Prey Veng, Kampong Thom and Battambang provinces. It shall address agriculture productivity constraints such as (i) low irrigation efficiency and water productivity, (ii) seasonal variations in water availability, (iii) inadequate operation and maintenance, and (iv) weak water resources management.
Project impact will be increased farm incomes and outcome will be enhanced water and agricultural productivity. The outputs will be (i) enhanced efficiency and climate resilience of irrigation systems, (ii) improved water resource management, and (iii) efficient and effective project implementation.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The Project will complement the impact and outcome of the Climate-Resilient Rice Commercialization Development Program (Rice-SDP), approved on 27 June 2013. Rehabilitation/climate proofing of irrigation systems; construction of seed cleaning, drying, grading and storage facilities; and construction of paddy drying and storage facilities are being undertaken in these provinces under Rice-SDP. The uplands have potential for improving land and water productivity through improved irrigation systems and water resource management that will contribute to outcomes of the Program. This would also help improving water management in lowlands and add value to the ongoing projects around Tonle Sap lake, financed by ADB. The Project area will comprise selected irrigation systems in the three provinces. The Project will incorporate findings and recommendations of the sector strategy including (i) enhancing agriculture productivity, (ii) promoting diversification, (iii) supporting commercialization and connectivity (value chains and market linkages), (iv) supporting sustainable natural resource management, (v) environmental sustainability and climate change, (vi) gender development, and (vii) addressing institutional constraints. It shall specifically address agriculture productivity constraints such as (i) low irrigation efficiency and water productivity, (ii) seasonal variations in water availability, (iii) inadequate operation and maintenance, and (iv) weak water resources management.
The Project will benefit from the policy reforms and institutional strengthening initiatives of the ADB financed Water Resources Management Sector Development Program (WRMSDP). A comprehensive reforms process is ongoing under WRMSDP to provide enabling legal environment and restructured institutional set up, coupled with intense capacity building programs for the government institutions to ensure sustainable management of water resources. The Project will capitalize on the achievements of WRMSDP and further the implementation of policy reforms and institutional strengthening measures in the Project area. The Project will (i) rehabilitate/modernize and climate proof irrigation systems and improve their performance and management, (ii) enhance land and water productivity through watershed management and land improvement, and (iii) improve management of water resources through participatory irrigation and water resource management.
Agriculture is one of the main sources of livelihood, and national and household incomes in Cambodia. Agriculture contributes nearly 36% of the national GDP. It is the key to domestic food security and greater export earnings. Agriculture accounts for about 51% of the total employments as compared to average 37% across Asia. With a large portion of the workforce engaged in agriculture, increased productivity can contribute to inclusive growth by raising household income, thereby reducing rural poverty. There are 32 districts in the three provinces and 21 of those are away from the Tonle Sap Lake. Population living below poverty line is 27% in Battambang and 20% in Prey Veng. Water is the key input to agricultural production, productivity increase and economic growth. Rainfall distribution and river discharges have significant seasonal variability in Cambodia adversely affecting sustained agriculture production. Climate change is likely to further exacerbate the situation. Timely availability of water and its efficient management is of prime importance to the agriculture productivity and for diversifying agriculture. Deteriorating irrigation infrastructure is seriously compromising agriculture productivity. Investments in rehabilitating and upgrading irrigation infrastructure may not get desired returns if the soils do not support existing or emerging and desired cropping patterns. Therefore, land use zoning being done under Rice-SDP would form basis for determining nature and extent of rehabilitation/modernization required for irrigation systems to meet crop water requirements.
Improving agricultural productivity, diversification, and managing irrigation systems and water resources are among major thrusts of the Government's National Strategy: Rectangular Strategy on Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, Phase III. ADB's Country Partnership Strategy (CPS: 2014-2018) also focuses on inclusive economic growth through physical infrastructure, agriculture and irrigation, among others. The Project supports CPS and Government Strategy and is aligned with Output 3 of the Sector Roadmap and Results Framework of ADB's sector strategy. The Project will adopt the sector modality, whereby subprojects will be evaluated during the project implementation stage.