The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Sunday signed an agreement with the government for giving additional $45 million loan to help expand a water resources management project in the country's southwest.
The project will help improve agriculture and fisheries production and livelihoods of residents in the region.
The government of the Netherlands will also provide a grant of $7 million for the project, to be administered by ADB.
Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Kazuhiko Higuchi, Country Director, Bangladesh Resident Mission of ADB, signed the agreements on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB respectively, at a ceremony at ERD, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, in the capital.
The additional assistance will increase the scope of the Southwest Area Integrated Water Resources Planning and Management Project that has sharply increased agriculture production and benefited over 191,000 people, including landless farmers and women.
ADB and the government of the Netherlands had provided $20 million and $12.5 million for the original project respectively, which was approved in 2005, and has renovated dilapidated infrastructure and established participatory water management planning and management system with livelihood improvement supports.
"We have seen considerable benefits in the project pilot areas of Narail and Chenchuri Beel already, with rice production nearly doubling and fish production rising 30 percent," says Country Director Kazuhiko Higuchi.
He said that this new financing will allow replication of the success of the project across nine nearby subproject areas, covering 84,000 hectares, and extending benefits to additional 470,000 people.
In each of the new subproject areas, support will be given to enroll farmers into water management organizations to help them better operate and maintain the water infrastructure, and develop integrated water management plans.
The expanded project will also support the development of skills for members of water management organizations to help them increase the productivity of their agriculture and fishing activities, and to enhance their livelihood opportunities.
On the infrastructure side, funds will be used to renovate or build gated water retention structures and flood embankments, and to re-excavate clogged drainage and irrigation canals.