The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $200 million loan for developing an irrigation system in Punjab. This system will increase the agricultural productivity of the region, enhancing food security.
Pakistan is an agriculture-based country whose economy is heavily reliant on irrigation. Irrigated agriculture contributes 20% to the GDP and caters to over 50% of the province’s workforce. Agriculture output in Punjab comes from farmland irrigated by the Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS). Despite being the largest irrigation system, IBIS lacks proper infrastructure, leading to slow agricultural productivity and food shortage. For any viable irrigation system, it is necessary to have a system of viable disposal. The lack of a viable disposal system has given rise to the problems of waterlogging and salinity. Lack of modern irrigation techniques and agricultural practices have further added to the wastage of irrigation water.
Considering its importance and necessity, the Government needs to invest more in increasing storage capacity, improving water-use efficiency, and managing surface-water and groundwater resources in a sustainable way to avoid problems of soil salinization and waterlogging.
ADB is working closely with the Government to improve Pakistan’s basic public services, infrastructure, food and energy security, attract investment and trade to create jobs, and improve the quality of life of the country’s citizens.