WB Irrigation Project in Azerbaijan contributes to increase in productivity of agricultural land
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 24 / Trend I.Khalilova /
The World Bank (WB) held the final workshop on the project to improve the distribution and irrigation system management in Azerbaijan. Since 2003, the country has realized an irrigation project worth $43 million covering 11 region through a WB loan (the bank has allocated $39 million).The country intends to attract a loan worth $80 million from the bank to expand the project to an additional 22 regions.
"The success of this project, namely the increase of the productivity on these areas allows to the Water User Associations to independently manage and exploit irrigation networks, and the government and the bank is considering the expansion of financing the irrigation and drainage system infrastructure of Azerbaijan," WB project director David Meierbah said.
The main purpose of this seminar was to discuss the experiences of those involved in the first project and make recommendations for a new irrigation project that will expand the coverage area.
Under the first project, there were established 22 water users associations. The project allowed to improve irrigation system in an area of 56,000 hectares [the new project will cover 100,000 hectares], and covered 100,000 farmers. "Expenditures on restoration of irrigation systems reached on average $450 per hectare. Due to that productivity on irrigated lands has increased by 23 percent," he said.
WB Irrigation Project Unit Head Akif Mustafayev said the collector-drainage network with a total length of 542 kilometers and 1,970 of hydraulic systems had been repaired and restored under the project.
"The project prevented water loss, improved water supply of the associations twice and increased volumes of irrigation from two to four times. Over 25 percent of irrigated land was again returned into circulation in some regions, the productivity of agricultural land has grown by an average of 17.7 percent, and in some areas - even up to 20-30 percent," Mustafayev said.
According to him, the positive results of this project caused a desire to expand its coverage area, in connection with which the government asked the bank for funding of a new irrigation project.
The bank plans to allocate $ 80 million for the project worth $ 150 million. It will involve 33 regions of Azerbaijan.
Earlier, WB disbursed a $42 million through International Development Association (IDA) for the $46.86 million project. The project covered upon 86,000 ha of irrigated lands along the Samur-Absheron Canal and 36,500 ha along Mil-Mugan Collector.
Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at: [email protected]