AKIPRESS.COM - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $249.8 million equivalent loan in local currency (tenge) to the state enterprise Kazvodkhoz (KVK), a state-owned enterprise dealing with water facilities, to help in the rehabilitation and improvement of irrigation networks serving 171,000 hectares (ha) of land in four provinces in Kazakhstan, the ADB reports.
The loan, guaranteed by the Government of Kazakhstan, will improve the country’s agricultural productivity and promote the diversification of agricultural products from traditional low-yielding and low-value crops into high-value cash crops. The four provinces under the project are East Kazakhstan, Karaghandy, Kyzylorda, and Zhambyl.
“Agriculture is an important part of Kazakhstan’s economy, employing 18% of the labor force and contributing 4.4% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). However, the sector’s contribution to the country’s economy has been decreasing,” said ADB Principal Water Resources Specialist for Central and West Asia Mr. Yaozhou Zhou. “Making sure that reliable irrigation water is available will help to realize the agriculture sector’s potential to further contribute to the country’s growth and development.”
The project will rehabilitate and improve about 245 irrigations schemes in the four provinces, which will include the desilting, re-sectioning, and repairing damaged sections of line canals. The total length of new concrete-lined canals will be about 1,064 kilometers (km), while 1,976 km of earth canals will be improved. Other infrastructure works include the construction and rehabilitation of about 4,185 hydraulic structures, including water measuring devices; improvement of 358 km of drainage collectors; establishment of a drip irrigation system covering 9,300 ha in Zhambyl; and the installation of 24 supervisory control and data acquisition system in all project areas.
Apart from capacity building efforts that includes assistance to agriculture cooperatives, the project will also pilot a system to monitor water and agricultural productivity using remote sensing technology in selected irrigation systems. The project will help improve KVK’s capacity for tariff planning and financial sustainability, and extend its advisory services to farmers regarding on-farm water management and crop choices.
Total cost of the project is $320.88 million equivalent, with KVK contributing $71.08 million in financing. The project is expected to be completed in mid-2025.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.