The World Bank has approved a $189 million loan to Andhra Pradesh aimed at improving agricultural productivity and help community-based institutions to manage tank systems effectively.
The Andhra Pradesh community - based Tank Management Project aims to improve the physical and operational performance of about 3000 tank systems with a command area of about 250,000 hectares, secure the safety of the tank structures, and improve on-farm water management and efficiency.
It will also enable groundwater users in those tank systems that have groundwater stress to improve the management of their groundwater resources, thereby enhancing agricultural productivity and livelihoods.
"In the past six years, agriculture grew at 2.5 per cent per year with almost all of this growth coming from the livestock and fisheries sub-sectors. The crop sub-sector, which accounts for about 60 per cent of states domestic product from agriculture, stagnated. Overall, agriculture accounts for about one-fourth of the state domestic product but employs over 60 per cent of the work force," the bank has said in a statement.
"Tank irrigation has historically played an important role in Andhra Pradesh," said Fayez Omar, World Bank Senior Manager for the programme.
"However, the area irrigated by tanks has declined significantly over the last decade and a half. This project will help enhance tank systems, which is a vital instrument to improve rural livelihoods and enhance local capacities to cope with drought."
The expected benefits from the project include: increased irrigated area, improved water availability for tail-end farmers and increased agricultural productivity and production from tank systems.
The project will also enhance tank-based livelihoods by increasing production, productivity and profitability of agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, livestock and other significant productive activities.
"This would be achieved through improvements in production technologies and management practices, better market linkages, more efficient and effective delivery of key support services, and increase of community-level productive capacities as well as infrastructure," the Bank said.
"The project will enable community-based institutions assume greater responsibility for tank system management," said Deepak Ahluwalia, the Project team leader.
"In each tank, a support organisation will work with villagers to familiarise them with the project objectives, expected outcomes, and the processes of implementation" he said.
The $94.5 million loan is from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and has 20 years of maturity including 5-years of grace period.
This credit is provided by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Banks concessionary lending arm.