World Bank loan to help Sri Lankan small farmers tackle climate change
ECONOMYNEXT – The World Bank Monday approved a 125 million US dollar loan for Sri Lanka to help small farmers improve resilience and productivity with improved crop varieties, cropping patterns and water resources management.
The program will benefit more than 470,000 small farmers in six provinces in the dry zone of the country, selected for being most exposed to climate impacts, a statement said.
Sri Lanka is particularly vulnerable to climate-related natural disasters such as floods and droughts.
“Innovation, including the introduction of improved crop varieties, cropping patterns, water resources management, amongst others, can help farmers adapt to changing climate and improve their incomes and livelihoods.” said Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank County Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The project will ensure that all farmers get adequate access to training and research.
Currently, only 10 percent of women benefit, and this project will help bridge this gap and improve productivity of both men and women working in agriculture."
The agriculture sector is especially affected. It contributes approximately 7.7 percent to the country’s economy and employs 27 percent of the population, more than 38 percent of whom are women.
This project will support smallholder farmers living in climate “hotspot” areas to increase their access to irrigation and management of water resources, in conjunction with support to enable farmers to adopt climate-smart technologies, resulting in increased agricultural productivity and improved access to markets.
The project will emphasise working through farmer groups, including for irrigation water management, and will bring in the private sector to enable increased commercialisation of smallholder farming.
“This project will build on Sri Lanka’s long history of water management for agricultural production,” said Seenithamby Manoharan, World Bank Senior Rural Development Specialist.
“The goal is to improve agricultural productivity and climate resilience, working in close coordination with several government and non-government organizations and private sector, including community groups and beneficiaries.”
(COLOMBO, March 11, 2019-SB)