The World Bank on Friday approved a $60 million credit to the Karnataka Watershed Development Project II (KWDP II) to further improve watershed planning and management in project areas.
The project is aimed at improving watershed operations in 930 micro-watersheds covering 4.65 lakh hectares and benefitting 1.6 lakh farmers in Bidar, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Koppal, Gadag, Davangere, and Chamarajanagar districts.
The project builds on the successful experience of earlier bank-supported Karnataka Watershed Development Project I (2001-2009), also known as Sujala, which helped improve the lives of 2.3 lakh farmers by increasing crop yields by about 25 per cent and raising household incomes of small and marginal farmers by 40 per cent, the bank said in a release.
The project would be financed by the International Development Association, the bank’s concessionary lending arm which provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years.
KWDP II would focus on improving the performance and results of Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) by introducing new tools and approaches for integrated watershed planning, incorporating information about water resources into the planning process, facilitating better convergence of IWMP with other government programmes such as rural job scheme, and helping farmers increase agricultural productivity.
“This Project will build on the earlier bank-supported KWDP-I and initiate innovative pilots which will help increase agricultural production in rainfed areas, lead to better use of scarce water resources and raise household incomes of farmers,” said Onno RËhl, World Bank Country Director for India.
The focus of the project is on supporting the implementation of IWMP in the seven selected districts through better planning, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, and post-harvest value addition. Focus will also be on understanding local needs, like location specific soil crop water interactions; expanding the scope of rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge, by partly converging the MNREGA with the IWMP; and developing agro climatic zone specific technology to enable rural communities to better adapt to the effects of climate change, the release said.
The project would support activities for promoting dry land production for annual and perennial crops; crop diversification; help farmers in carrying out soil, water and leaf analysis to identify nutrient deficiencies; create facilities for testing, training and demonstrations; facilitate farmers in availing quality seed and planting material; and support farmers to improve post-harvest handling and marketing of the produce among others.
- The project will benefit 1.6 lakh farmers in seven districts
- It will cover 4.65 lakh hectares of land