Washington, DC (BBN)- The World Bank has approved a US $50 million credit to Pakistan aiming to improve water resource management and enhance agricultural productivity in its Sindh Province.

The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm, carries a 0.75 percent service fee, a 10-year grace period, and a maturity of 35 years, a World Bank press statement said on Tuesday.

About half of Sindh’s 35 million people live in rural areas, and one-third of them live below the poverty line. Rural people, 70 percent who are landless, derive almost 60 percent of their income from agriculture.

The additional financing for the Sindh On-Farm Water Management Project aims to improve the efficiency, reliability, and equity of irrigation water distribution at watercourse levels and enhance agricultural productivity, the statement added.  

Under the additional financing around 3,000 watercourses will be improved, which comprises earthen improvements, lining, installation of concrete turnouts (pucca nuccas), and culverts in watercourses, the World Bank said.
“Irrigation and drainage are critically important to Sindh’s irrigated agriculture, which is the backbone of the economy,” World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Yusupha Crookes said in the statement.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-02July09-2:30 am (BST)