ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has signed two agreements with the government to extend $500 million worth of two separate loans to Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Economic Affairs Division in a statement said on Wednesday that World Bank’s Country Director Najy Benhassine and Dr Kazim Niaz, Secretary EAD signed the financing agreements on behalf of the respective sides.

The loans pertained to Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation Project worth $200 million and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Accessibility Project worth $300 million.

The $200m Punjab project is designed to enhance equitable access to, and productivity of, agricultural water and improve the incomes of farmers, particularly small and medium landholders. The project is expected to contribute to transforming Punjab’s agriculture into a more inclusive, productive, sustainable, and market-oriented sector.

The project will help the Government of Punjab in addressing low water access equity and high on-farm water losses, low on-farm productivity, limited crop diversification toward high-value crops and away from more water-intensive crops, and low adoption of climate-smart production practices and limited market opportunities for small and medium farmers.

The $300m KP project is aimed to improve safe and climate-resilient rural accessibility to schools, health facilities and markets in the province. The project interventions will help the KP government in upgrading and rehabilitation of provincial roads, improvement of climate resilience of infrastructure, including the raising of embankments, provision of side drains, bridges, improvement of culverts, ditches, vegetation and improvement of road safety infrastructure and equipment in the vicinity of schools, health facilities and marketplaces.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2022

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