The World Bank today approved an assistance package of US$43 million for the implementation of Phase 1 of the Modernization of Rani Jamara Kulariya Irrigation Scheme. The scheme, located in Kailali District in the Far Western Tarai Region of Nepal, is one of the most prominent Farmer Managed Irrigation Schemes in the country, with a total command area of 14,300 ha. It constitutes three independent, traditional irrigation systems constructed, operated, and managed by generations of farmers, mainly from the indigenous Tharu community. The Rani system dates back to 1896.
In the first phase, the project will support the modernization of the irrigation system by substantially rehabilitating and upgrading the main and secondary irrigation and drainage systems and flood management infrastructure, and by training Water Users Associations to improve their ability to manage the water and maintain the infrastructure. It will also carry out a series of agriculture production support activities in the project area through demonstrations, farmers’ field schools, and other adaptive processes.
“About 25,000 farming households comprising close to 160,000 people are expected to benefit directly from the project,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Nepal. “The project will improve the reliability of water supply and help farmers better manage risks associated with droughts, floods, and fluctuations in the availability of water during the agricultural seasons.”
Nepal has a long tradition of farmer managed irrigation systems with a strong sense of ownership and farmer organizations are typically strong and dedicated to rural development.
“Irrigation is only one input into agriculture,” said Joop Stoutjesdijk, Lead Irrigation Engineer at the World Bank. “It is equally important to develop appropriate cropping patterns and identify high value crops that provide better returns.”
The Bank’s assistance package for the project will comprise a credit of US$23.6 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm, and an IDA grant of US$19.4 million. The credit portion carries a 0.75% service charge, a 10 year grace period and a maturity of 40 years.
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