The Government of India, the Government of Tamil Nadu and the World
Bank signed December 26 a $318 million
loan agreement for the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization Project
to promote climate resilient agriculture technologies, improve water management
practices, and increase market opportunities for small and marginal farmers,
says a release.
About 500,000 farmers, of which
majority are small and marginal, are expected to benefit from improved and
modernized tank irrigation systems.
The project will rehabilitate and modernize about 4,800 irrigation
tanks and 477 check dams, spread across 66 sub-basins, in delivering bulk water
to irrigation systems.
A water-stressed state, Tamil Nadu is expected to continue to
experience water shortages in future and modernizing irrigation tanks will
improve availability of irrigation water for the farmers, making them less
exposed to climatic hazards. Pointing
out the benefits of the project, Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary,
Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance said, “. More than 160,000
ha of currently partially irrigated lands will come into full irrigation under
The agreement for the project was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint
Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of
the Government of India; S K Prabhakar, Principal Secretary, Public Works
Department, on behalf of the Government of Tamil Nadu and John Blomquist,
Program Leader and Acting Country Director, World Bank, India on behalf of the
This project will help improve the efficiency of water used in
farming, said John Blomquist, Program Leader and Acting Country Director, World
Bank, India, adding that farmers can produce high value crops as well as crops
that are resilient to the increasing threats of climate change. He said, “Such
efforts will be a win-win for all, leading to better use of scarce water
resources and raising household incomes of farmers”.
Another great benefit of this project is it will enable the farmers to
shift from a mono crop paddy system to mixed cropping including high-value
crops (fruits, vegetables, and spices), pulses, oilseeds, and millets.
The farmers will learn, by this project, new conversion technologies
such as System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Sustainable Sugar Initiative
(SSI) which reduce average water usage by 35 percent and increase yields by 2
22 percent per ha. The project is expected to increase the yield of rice,
maize, and pulses by 18–20 percent.
The project will also coordinate with other World Bank-supported projects
in Tamil Nadu and at the national level, including the Tamil Nadu Rural
Transformation Project, National Hydrology Project, and National Groundwater
Improvement Project to ensure synergy and enhance long-term project impact.
The $318 million loan
from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a
5-year grace period, and a maturity of 19 years.