Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • $65m Japanese loan for disaster rehabilitation

    Japan and Bangladesh signed an agreement in Tokyo yesterday concerning Japanese loan assistance of US$ 65 million for 'emergency disaster damage rehabilitation' project in the country. Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, who is now visiting Japan, and Masahiko Koumura, minister for foreign affairs of Japan, signed the agreement after their bilateral meeting, said a release from the Japan embassy. Japanese Ambassador Masayuki Inoue pledged the loan to Finance Adviser Dr Mirza Azizul Islam last month. The rehabilitation project under the loan will be started following the signed agreement. Asian Development Bank (ADB) is co-financing the loan. The objective of the project is to support 'quick restoration of economic and social activity' in the areas damaged by the floods and cyclone, through providing quick-disbursement type of import financing for essential agricultural commodities. Rehabilitating and reconstructing damaged public infrastructure, thereby contributing to sustainable economic growth, are also among the objectives. Japan has been assisting disaster mitigation and damage recovery of Bangladesh for long. For recovery from the damage caused by cyclone Sidr, Japan already has provided emergency relief goods equivalent to about US$ 327,100 and emergency grant aid through UN agencies equivalent to US$ 3.7 million. Japan has already started the assessment procedure for construction of additional cyclone shelters in affected area. In addition, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is planning to support for rehabilitation of rural infrastructures with Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and water supply facilities with the Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) under technical cooperation projects.

  • NWFP and Balochistan to get bulldozers: around 219,375 hectares cultivable wasteland to be reclaimed

    Federal government will provide 200 bulldozers for Balochistan and 100 for NWFP, which would be hired out to the farmers at no profit no loss basis to facilitate them in reclaiming the cultivable wasteland. According to the sources in Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (Minfal), around 219,375 hectares of cultivable wasteland (NWFP 73,125 and Balochistan 146,250 hectares) would be reclaimed through the use of 300 bulldozers. This will enhance agricultural production in the NWFP and Balochistan provinces, sources said. According to an update Minfal study, about 8.12 million hectares of land falls in the category of cultivable wasteland out of which 1.22 and 4.0 million hectares are in NWFP and Balochistan respectively. Provincial Agriculture Engineering Departments need additional machinery and 900 bulldozers to reclaim the cultivable wasteland. Minfal sources mentioned that agricultural growth is key to curtailing poverty since poor heavily rely on agricultural goods and services for their livelihood. In line with the objectives of PRSP, Minfal has approved a number of projects for crop maximisation to reduce poverty and food insecurity in Pakistan in PSDP 2006-07. A number of projects assisted by ADB, FAO and UN/WFP for crop maximisation, increasing food security and promoting poverty alleviation are also under implementation. Sources said that government has given top priority to the development of water resources to maximise crop production. This has been done through progressively increasing surface water supplies and conserving water using the latest technologies and protecting land and infrastructure from water logging, salinity, floods and soil erosion. The main objectives are overcoming the scarcity of water through augmentation and conservation means ie by construction of medium and large dams and by efficient utilisation of irrigation water and restoring the productivity of agricultural land through control of water logging, salinity and floods, sources added. They said that an integrated programme approach for water management has been adopted. On-farm Water Management (OFWM) projects have been implemented on community participation basis in the provinces, AJ&K and Federal Agencies. Water conservation is being ensured under the President's programme for the improvement and lining of watercourses. This programme envisaged lining improvement of 87,000 watercourses at a cost of Rs 66 billion within 3-4 years. This initiative will significantly improve water supply at the farm-gate through reduction in the seepage losses. During the year 2006-07, 18,390 watercourses have been lined and renovated against the target of 18,000 watercourses. Minfal sources stated that the government has fulfilled most of the commitments related to different WTO-specific agreements. Pakistan has already started improving quality and standards of agricultural export commodity markets. Imposition of strict Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures and adoption of other significant regulatory steps through the Department of Plant Protection helped increase agricultural exports to the developed countries. Different development projects for the strengthening of laboratories for quality control have been initiated. For grading of agriculture and livestock commodities, grade standards of about 50 commodities, under Grading and Marketing Act, were developed. According to the Minfal study agriculture sector in Pakistan is facing many serious challenges and constraints for future growth. These challenges are embedded in (i) the rising demand for agricultural products with the growth of population and incomes; (ii) the expanding role of free and competitive markets in agriculture trade at the national and international levels. Increased farm productivity, achieved by sustainable use of natural resources and other inputs, and diversification of production from the low value to high value products in response to market demand have to be the key ingredients of future agriculture strategy to make agriculture both productive and profitable; (iii) wide yield gaps in major and minor crops, inefficient use of water at farms, poor quality and availability of agricultural inputs, frequent insect and pest attacks and high incidence of crop and livestock diseases require effective resolution; and (iv) strengthening of agriculture research system is needed to focus more on emerging areas such as biotechnology, genetic engineering, hybrid seeds etc. Improving agricultural knowledge system for effective crop forecasting, and undertaking market reforms in preparation of expanding trade regimes of WTO and Safta are other areas in which Minfal is currently focusing on. Copyright Business Recorder, 2008

  • Paulson pressed on ADB funding rules

    Criticism of the ADB adds to recent concerns voiced by the US.

  • Rs. 3,500 million drinking water scheme in Muttur

    A water supply scheme costing Rs. 3,500 million is to be constructed for the benefit of 50,000 families in the Muttur area.

  • Specific policy for hazardous waste management stressed

    Environment experts at a workshop in the city yesterday underlined the need for formulating a specific policy to manage industrial hazardous waste properly for ensuring sustainable and environment-fri

  • ADB wants water meters in place

    The Centre as well as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) seems to be unhappy with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).

  • Donors reject govt's claim on poverty reduction

    Contrary to official claims, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) say that poverty has increased in Pakistan since 2004 and the new government should take the issue seriously.

  • ADB pledges $450 million for Punjab agro project

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $450 million for 'Punjab Irrigated Agricultural Development Sector Project (PIADSP)' from its Ordinary Capital Resources and Asian Development Fund durin

  • Assam in debt trap?

    While replying to a question in the Budget session of Assam Assembly on March 24, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi acknowledged that the per capita burden of the State's public debt now comes to Rs 6,806

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