|Thursday, 24 June 2004|
US$ 64.7 m for North-East Irrigated Agriculture Project:
World Bank bonanza for N-E agriculture
The Government's efforts to rehabilitate and bring normality to conflict affected communities in the North-East will be strengthened by a US$ 64.7 million credit approved by the World Bank yesterday.
The project is expected to assist about 400,000 people in 85,000 households living in 600 conflict affected rural villages to move away from subsistence level production towards a higher agricultural production, the World Bank said. It would be implemented over six years commencing from January 2005.
This Second North-East Irrigated Agriculture Project (NEIAP II) is a follow-on project to a similar initiative financed by the World Bank, aimed at restoring agricultural production and related income opportunities to rehabilitate and develop village communities.
The International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's concessionary lending affiliate, is providing the US$ 64.7 million credit to the Government of Sri Lanka on standard IDA terms, with 40 years maturity and a 10 -year grace period.
"To sustain the peace process, it is vital that the people of the North-East should be assisted to rebuild their social networks and livelihoods.
The first project supported this objective even as the conflict was raging and this follow-on expanded operation will deepen the process," says Peter Harrold, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka.
Many communities that have undergone much hardship during the years of conflict will benefit from the "Village Rehabilitation and Development" (US$53 million) component of the project.
This major component will support reviving farming and strengthening community-based organisations, while rehabilitating essential social and economic infrastructure and facilities.
Internally displaced people, land mine victims, people with war-induced deficient abilities, widows, women-headed households will also benefit from livelihood support activities and special development activities to be implemented under this component.
The project will also finance farmer organisation capacity building and empowerment and strengthening of agricultural support services (US$ 5 million) and essential dam safety repairs and improvements, and urgent rehabilitation/improvements to major irrigation, drainage, and conveyance/feeder canals of selected major irrigation.drainage schemes (US$ 16.7 million).
The first project pioneered international development assistance to the North-East. Approximately 50,000 households and 250,000 people in about 380 villages benefited during the last four years.
In line with international efforts at harmonisation, project implementation will adopt a common operational framework of principles, norms and standards with other similar ongoing projects of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank financed North-East Community Restoration and Development (NECORD), Conflict Area Rehabilitation Project (CARP) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation financed Pro-poor Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment Project (PEACE).
Produced by Lake House