In response to Pakistan’s faltering economy, the World Bank has authorised $200 million to promote agricultural growth in the Punjab province. The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank has recently authorised $200 million in financing to help Pakistan change its agricultural sector by implementing climate-smart technology to raise small farmers’ incomes, increase water usage efficiency, and strengthen resilience to extreme weather events.
According to the press release from World Bank, Punjab’s agricultural sector, which produces 73% of all the food produced in Pakistan, is essential to the nation’s economy and food security.
Through effective and fair access to water for small farms, the Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation Project (PRIAT) will raise agricultural production. Further, it will aid farmers in Punjab’s community and household levels in using climate-smart agricultural techniques and technology that would increase crop yields and preserve water resources.
PRIAT will assist farmers in implementing climate-smart technology
In order to help the Punjab government attain economies of scale and modernise the agriculture industry, PRIAT will assist farmers in implementing cutting-edge, climate-smart technology, the release stated.
In addition to this, Najy Benhassine, the World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan, stated, “In recent years Pakistan’s agriculture sector has suffered from losses in crop yields and livestock, damage to irrigation infrastructure, and food shortages due to climate change, particularly severe droughts in the Punjab province,” as per the release. He further added that this initiative which is in line with the Punjab Agriculture Policy 2018, encourages a significant increase in water conservation measures, improving sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change, and enlisting the aid of the private sector to increase the productivity of the sector.
Furthermore, approximately 190,000 small, family-run farms, as well as 1.4 million acres of irrigated land in rural areas in the province, would benefit from the initiative. Additionally, it will teach small- and medium-sized farm owners, especially women, about water conservation and more environmentally friendly, climate-resilient agricultural methods. In the province, 74% of the women depend on agriculture for their income.
World Bank approved funds for Pakistan’s primary health care
Besides this, in the month of June, $258 million has been allocated by the World Bank to strengthen Pakistan’s primary health care institutions and step up the nation’s efforts to achieve universal health coverage. According to a statement released by the World Bank, “The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $258 million for the National Health Support Program (NHSP) to strengthen primary health care systems and to accelerate national efforts towards universal health coverage in Pakistan.”
The World Bank further stated in a statement that the initiative complements continuing investments in human capital and focuses on health reforms that aim to enhance quality and equitable access to healthcare services, especially in areas falling behind national and regional-level health outcomes.