The project will increase agricultural productivity in the Panj-Amu River Basin through improving access and use of water at farm, scheme and river levels. The project will support the government strategy, which aims to increase per-capita income and reduce poverty among rural and pastoral communities. It will improve cropping intensities, irrigated areas, and crop yields on a command area of 74,500 hectares (ha) and as a result, increase annual farm incomes in the range $123-615 per household for over 55,000 households, and create approximately 11,000 full-time rural jobs per annum, with an estimated value of $10.4 million. The project will also improve food security, substitute imports for wheat, and improve self-sufficiency, and increase in exports of high-value products such as fruit and nuts. The project will also create more economic opportunities for agribusiness development, particularly for input suppliers and processors of and market intermediaries for agricultural products.
PROJECT RATIONALE AND LINKAGE TO COUNTRY/REGIONAL STRATEGY
Afghanistan is one of the least developed countries in the world. The poverty headcount rate is 39% and the percentage of food insecure population is 33%. Average gross domestic product (GDP) per capita during the 2011-2015 period is $634, causing Afghanistan to rank 168th out of 183 countries reviewed by the World Bank. Agriculture is Afghanistan's major sources of livelihood, employs 79% of the national work force, and is a significant source of national income. Agriculture contributes significantly to Afghanistan's GDP, although this has been decreasing from 38% in 2002 to 22% in 2014 . The country's major staple crop is wheat, representing 60% of Afghan's daily dietary intake. With total production output of 5.37 million tons in 2015, Afghanistan relies heavily on import to meet its population's dietary energy requirements with an import dependency of 16% of total food demand. This level of dependency is growing 11% per annum. Food insecurity is prevalent throughout the country, but most critical in the north where food insecurity index is as high as 73% in the provinces of Badakhshan and Bamyan.
Afghanistan is a dry country with precipitation falling as snow falls in the winter, while crops require water in the summer. Limited access to irrigation water is a key binding constraint to agricultural productivity, besides low quality inputs and traditional agricultural practices. While the vast majority of Afghans depends on agriculture for a living, only 12% (or 64.4 million ha) of the country's terrain is arable. Rain-fed area is currently of 3.7 million ha and irrigated area 3.8 million ha, each representing about 5-6% of total arable land. Of the total irrigated area of 3.8 million ha, it is estimated that around 2.2 million ha are single or double cropped every year, with balance of 1.6 million ha being irrigated if and when water is available, at intervals of 2-6 years.
Sporadic irrigation has been the primary cause for crop yields below the world average, for example average wheat yield of 2.03 tons/ha in 2013 (world average of 3.27 tons/ha) and average rice yield 2.5 tons/ha in 2013 (world average of 4.5 tons/ha). Irrigated yields are observed to be significantly greater than rain-fed yields, for example, the irrigated wheat yield is 2.5 times that of rain-fed. With irrigated areas producing 69% of total wheat outputs, irrigation water is a critical high value factor for yield improvement.
Expansion of new irrigated areas has been examined on a number of projects, but high capital cost outlays make it economically infeasible. Improving access to irrigations water on existing irrigation systems also has number of constraints, including: (i) inequitable distribution of water both at the river level (between schemes) as a result of lack of capacity, tools and resources within the government for river basin management, and at the command area level (within schemes) as a result of lack of formal consultation and distribution mechanisms (user rights) and breakdown of the mirab structure; and (ii) dilapidated and inefficient state of irrigation infrastructure due to inadequate operation and maintenance (O&M;), a lack of capacity to scale up investment due to inadequate water use fee collection and government capacity and resources, and damage to infrastructure through flooding as a result of upstream erosion leading to high abstraction rates and increased flash flooding, as a result of poor upper catchment conservation.
Per capita income increased and poverty among rural and pastoral communities reduced.
Agricultural productivity in the Panj Amu River Basin increased
Advance contracting is expected to recruit implementation support consultancy, feasibility study and detailed design, and works contract for three representative subprojects.
NCB (Works) for 16 contracts worth $49.14 million; NCB (Goods) for 1 contract worth $0.26 million; Shopping (Goods) for 16 contracts worth $0.49 million; CPP for 32 contracts worth $3.14 million.
ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM OF ADB
The Accountability Mechanism is an independent complaint mechanism and fact-finding body for people who believe they are likely to be, or have been, adversely affected by an Asian Development Bank-financed project. If you submit a complaint to the Accountability Mechanism, they may investigate to assess whether the Asian Development Bank is following its own policies and procedures for preventing harm to people or the environment. You can learn more about the Accountability Mechanism and how to file a complaint at: http://www.adb.org/site/accountability-mechanism/main
Responsible ADB Officer Bui, Giap Minh
Responsible ADB Department Central and West Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Division, CWRD
Ministry of Finance
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan